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So it's not all in my head then:( (long)(468 Posts)
Can't quite believe I'm writing this, but need to get it written down before I minimise it again.
This morning, DH and I both a bit tired, DS (3) acting up a bit. DH offered to take DS and dog for a walk so I could get some peace. DS was being difficult about getting his coat on and DH was acting as though his temper was getting strained. He muttered 'I don't work hard all week to come home to this!' And then pinned DS on the stone floor and wrestled him into his coat. DS was sobbing and I wanted to comfort him, bu DH snarled t me to go upstairs and let him get on with it. I would normally retreat at this point so as not to provoke him, but today I decided not to and stood m ground.
He asked me again to go and I said if he was upset he should take the dog out and clear his head, and leave DS with me. He said 'you really don't want to push me just now' and I asked why he was threatening me? He walked over and shoved me really hard through the doorway into the next room and onto the floor. DS saw this and ran over to me. We both somehow ended up upstairs and DH followed us up and stood there saying I was over-reacting as it was only a shove had provoked him so i deserved the shove.
I was crying and DS was upset and brought me his muslin and dummy . I refused to let DH touch me and he told me again I was overreacting and denied the comment about me deserving it, said I had made that up. He then took DS and went for the walk. I haven't been able to send being in the same room all day, but daren't leave in case he gets really angry and does something worse.
He has only physically assaulted me once before, 8 years ago on holiday, and was so drunk at that time that he passed out and claimed no memory of it. He can be grumpy and I feel I walk on eggshells and that I have to justify myself a lot. Since the incident 8 years ago, I've always backed down before he lost his temper, and fooled myself that he'd changed, but I discovered mumsnet 6m ago and have been reading a lot on this board and feeling increasingly uneasy that quite a lot f it applied to me.
He is not at all financially controlling, but was very jealous and quite controlling of my social life (back when I had one) and can be quite argumentative after a drink (not that he drinks much these days). He can also be loving and affectionate and we have long periods of time where everything seems fine, but I've been excusing his behaviour for a very long time and now there are really no excuses left.
Don't know what to do really. Thoroughly miserable and very confused.
I haven't long, so I will post properly later. You could have been me 6 years ago. It will escalate if you stay, you HAVE to get out now before it gets any worse and damages you and your son any more.
My DD was 3 when she first saw her dad push me over and do exactly the same as has happened to you today.
She still remembers it.
This is abuse. You can't change him, please get help, ring Womens Aid, confide in your friends and family. Realise that you have to put your DS first now, and protect him.
Let this be the catalyst to say ENOUGH! No woman who has left an abusive relationship regrets it. Plenty regret staying as long as they did.
Make plans and make your escape, this is no life for you and your DS. A much better, happier life is out there for you. You deserve that.
It is NOT all in your head. Posting on here, voicing what has happened and admitting it to yourself is a brave first step.
Please call these people: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/. They are very helpful, will not judge you and will be able to give you some good advice.
The things that particularly struck me about your post:
"He told me again I was overreacting and denied the comment about me deserving it, said I had made that up". This is called gaslighting, which means denying he has mistreated or hurt you, implying you're exaggerating or making it up or that you have misunderstood.
You are afraid of him; you feel you walk on eggshells and have to justify yourself; you always back down first; he is jealous and controlling; things are fine so long as he is happy. This is not in your head. It is abuse. You deserve better.
Women's Aid can give you some advice about how to leave. Please phone them, however hard it feels. Is there anyone you can talk to, e.g. a friend or family member?
Thank you both. He's at work tomorrow, so I'll try women's aid then. It really helps to be told I'm not overreacting. I'd never heard of gas lighting ip until I joined MN, but today when he did it, I spotted it straight away and it scared me nearly as much as the shove.
He's going away on Friday for a week. I'm going to go to my parents and tell them everything, then decide from there. I'm an educated, professional person, I can't believe I've been so stupid
Your h has physically assaulted your ds and yourself.
Furthermore, your h physically assaulted your ds in your presence while you were watching and this begs the question of what he is capable of doing to your son when you are not around.
You are a victim of domestic violence as, by default, is your ds. Call the police, have your h removed from your home forthwith, and ask to be referred to your regional police authority's domestic violence unit.
Also visit www.womensaid.org.uk and call the 24/7 Helpline or locate your nearest branch and give them a ring tomorrow during usual office hours (it's possible they'll be short-staffed and won't be fully functioning until next week).
It's not in your head because you've outlined a fairly classic scenario of emotional/physical/verbal aggressive/threatening/frightening behaviour which only improves when you back down, do as you're told, stop socialising etc. That's the attitude of trainer and dog, not husband and wife. It's not in your 3 year-old's head either if he wanted to comfort you with his muslin and dummy .... No confusion there. That little boy has more love in his little finger than your DH has in his entire body.
By rights you should call the police and report the assault. Get him removed from your home. It's damaging you, damaging your child and this kind of situation hardly ever improves, only worsens. Womens Aid can give you some good advice. They're busy this time of year so keep trying and don't give up. Do you have someone you and your DS could go and stay with?
My married life was v similar. Got shoved over last May because our baby ds had knocked a coffee cup over. I was persuaded to go back to him (left for 8 days), but 3mths ago he kicked our 4yr old dd off a bed then screamed in her face.
We left and have started divorce proceedings.
He is trying to distort your view of what happened. Denial/minimising is a classic tactic.
The 'good' periods are there to confuse you about what he's like and keep you in the relationship.
I decided I couldn't let my dc grow up thinking marriage was like this.
Do you have anyone you could go and stay with? Don't listen to any rubbish about him never meaning to hurt you, your op shows what he did was calculated.
Abusers such as your h do NOT change until they're made to change and, even then, it should be borne in mind that courses intended to rehabilitate abusers such as those run by Respect have a low success rate.
Frankly, you're best advised to end your marriage as soon as possible and set about creating the life you and your ds deserve.
Izzy, I don't feel I can call the police - he's a Dr and a police caution would be reported to the GMC. I don't think he's a risk to others. I'm off worK this week. I can go to my parents, I think, but not tonight. I think I should wait until he goes to work tomorrow, then call my parents.
He is an abuser. He abuses you, and your child. Please, please don't ignore this.
I'm shaky and dreading DS going to bed.
How awful must the memory of DS comforting you be. I am so sad for you OP
I wish I had the courage to leave first time. Cogit is right, he will minimise the impact of his behaviour and begin to make you doubt the incident.
And then he'll do it again. My now ex would cry floods of tears when confronted. Not at the time though! It's all crocodile.
I had my first panic attack after a particularly bad incident. Not at the time, but the next day after the severity and implications kicked in. I belie e it's stayed with me. You don't need this for yourself and your child.
But it's hard to accept, right? I know, me too. But you have to take control and you will begin to see him for who he really is
Violent men should not be be excused just because they have an important job. You need to protect yourself and DS as #1 priority and if his career is jeopardised because he's a nasty piece of work, that's entirely his responsibility not yours. If he's this violent over something so trivial, how do you think he's going to react when you leave him taking his DS? Cooling his heels in a police station for a few hours and facing an investigation might make him think twice about carrying on the abuse after you've gone....
Wish I reported mine to police at the time for what it's worth. I took the 'important job ' card too as an excuse.
Think about you and DS!!!
I don't think he's a risk to others
This is so very awful. Why do you prioritise your own safety and wellbeing so low? What would your reaction have been if he'd violently shoved a woman in the street? Shock, fear and disgust I should think. That's what I feel when I read about what he did to you.
Call the police. They WILL take it seriously and if it affects his career it's because he chose those actions.
He didn't have any concern about what assaulting your and his dc could do to his reputation/career, did he? By that token, why should you give a flying fluck if he
gets his knuckles lightly rapped has some explaining to do?
Whether or not he's a risk to others is irrelavent; he's a risk to you and your ds and it's incumbent on you to act accordingly to protect your son - otherwise you truly will be stupid to let him get away with it.
I can't believe the police would take me seriously over a shove. And it was this morning, hours ago. This is the 2nd time in 13 years that he's raised a hand to me and the last time was 8 yrs ago, although I can now see that that's because I've been pacifying him.
If I can get through this evening, I'll call my parents and leave tomorrow. I have my phone on me, if he gets nasty again I'll call the police. He seems pretty shell shocked to be honest. Not made any eye contact or attempt to apologise since I rebuffed him on the landing. We're being civil, sort of, but this isn't what he expected to happen and I don't think he knows how to act.
He's a practicing Buddhist ffs!
OP, I am a doctor - if he did to a patient what he did to you and your son, he would be hauled up in front of the GMC and quite rightly racked across the coals.
You are both at risk right now, please take whatever measures you can to protect yourselves
Buddhist by name only. My ex kept a whiteboard of inspiring quotes to himself, about bravery, courage etc and the loser was the biggest coward I know. Actions speak louder than words.
Yeah Turnip, I'm a Dr too, I know. I'm really sorry but I just don't have it in me just now.
I hear what you are saying about DS, but I really don't want him to witness another scene like this morning, so I currently feel I'd be better just sneaking away tomorrow.
"I can't believe the police would take me seriously over a shove. "
Yes they do. Especially when the physical aggression has been witnessed by a small child. Domestic violence is taken extremely seriously.
Chaos, why do you wish you had reported at the time? What would it have changed?
OP, if it is reported to the GMC then that is his doing, not yours. You didn't choose to be a victim. You are not responsible for his behaviour.
I know it's a very lonely feeling when it's you vs. a partner who says you're overreacting. Talking to the police about what has happened, what crime has been committed and what they can potentially do might help you feel more resolved about things, if that makes sense? I once insisted my friend call the police after her partner banged her head against a doorframe and there was something about the police saying: "This is assault and it's not okay," that made her realise it wasn't all in her head.
Re this: "I'm an educated, professional person, I can't believe I've been so stupid"
You haven't been stupid. You have been abused. It can happen to anyone and unfortunately being intelligent or educated is no protection against it.
People think they would be able to spot an abuser because they consider the full picture of how that person might act. But you don't get to see the full picture when you're in the situation; it happens little by little. Chipping into you little bit by little bit. Knocking you down bit by bit.
I felt so stupid, so ashamed, so humiliated, coming out of my relationship with my ex, because I'm intelligent, educated, a feminist, how could this happen? But now, years later, I can see how he ground me down, so I thought it was all my fault. It wasn't. Anyone can be taken in. Anyone can be abused. It is not your fault.
OP, the police WILL take you seriously. I have sat with a friend who called police after her now-ex pushed her into a doorframe. They were kind, sympathetic, helpful and understanding. Because they knew, as I'm sure you know, that a kind, loving partner doesn't randomly shove his girlfriend or wife one day, that it's part of a bigger picture of abuse.
That said, I think you are better off aiming to do something you feel you can do. If, right now, you have it in you to leave, but not to call police, then do that. Because it's better than doing nothing. But please do consider speaking to police, maybe start by calling 101 and asking for some advice.
Very good advice here Merlot, we'll be here for you for as long as it takes to get away from him.
I'd like you to go to YOUR GP and report this, get it logged, get checked over. I understand your reluctance to report him to the police, yes of course you ought to do this, but you need to think about it for a day or so.
go the the Doctor first, ideally one that doesn't know him, get it put on your records, it may be needed to help protect you and your DS in future, it'd be an insurance policy.
Basically, unless he plays ball with you, you have this against him, if it's not recorded, you can't prove it, and he will smooth talk his way out of it all.
He knows that if this comes out, he'll be a Doctor no more, that is a HEFTY bit of leverage you have, make sure you keep it in your arsenal just in case.
Once you have been to the Docs, then please make initial appointments with ALL the decent solicitors around your area and take advice on your situation. If you consult all of the good local firms, NONE of them will be able to act for him. His Reputation will mean JACK SHIT. It will be one less weapon he can use against you.
This is hard to accept, but these are very simple things you can do, without him knowing to protect your wealth, your home, your life and your child, just in case.
Get copies of bank statements, savings etc too, and keep them safe. You can do all this while he is away.
Then you will be in a position of knowledge, and knowledge is power.
so sorry you have had this happen to you, but you do know that it was inevitable. You have been managing him for the last 8 years, he wasn't getting his fix.
Please read Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. It will really help you see the dynamic here and see clearly that none of this was your fault, not ever.
Sorry, repeated myself a bit there - forgot to preview and edit.
This is worth a look: www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/cycle_of_abuse.html
merlot it wouldn't have changed him, but it would have been an acceptance of the seriousness of the situation, and for him to be reprimanded and acknowledge his actions
It would have also have me the courage to leave, instead of stay on another year, hurt myself more and see the state of myself now. They only get worse
You are all being so lovely and helpful. I don't feel I can phone anyone at present. I'm posting whilst hiding under the covers in a dark room pretending to be 'resting'. I feel scared of what would happen if he overheard me talking.
I keep having to remind myself that I'm not being silly or foolish to be this upset. I can't think clearly. I have this recurring thought that maybe I did just push my luck, I am finding it difficult to 'see' the EA that has lead to this. I've been with him since I was 21 - I don't really know any other way to be.
I need to keep my son safe. I need to leave tomorrow. Trying to go tonight would escalate things a lot I fear. After all, today is the first time in 8 years that I've stood my ground when DH has been in a 'mood', and look what happened.
Excellent posts from jess and HappyNewHissy.
We're all here for you in the meantime
You did not push your luck - he had your son pinned to the floor. He is the only one to blame for his actions, you did not 'make' him do this.
If slipping away quietly is what you need to do tomorrow, then use tonight to make a mental list of things you need, passports, important documents etc. do you have anywhere to stay?
Merlot do you know how to delete your history from the laptop / phone so he can't come across this thread?
I think going tomorrow sounds like the best plan.
Make sure you take with you your passports, birth certs, all important documents and ID.
Don't put yourself or your DS at any further risk. If tomorrow is the day that suits you best, then go tomorrow.
This is the most dangerous time in an EA relationship.
HOWEVER... If at any time before you leave, you feel scared or threatened by him, call the police, don't even blink before doing so, ok? Promise me?
Stay safe sweety, we'll all be here for you when you need us.
There's no need for you to go anywhere, either tonight or any other night, when one call to the police will have him removed from your home.
Much as I would very much like to believe that being cautioned or convicted of a dv related offence would result in doctors, judges, lawyers, police officers, social workers, etc losing their jobs, the fact is this rarely occurs unless perhaps a prison sentence has been meted out to the abuser.
I would suggest you give some thought to the way in which you are enabling him by not reporting his abuse of you and your ds.
Doctors hold exalted position in society and, particularly if he's a paediatrician, or a GP who is called on in respect of child protection cases, or ministers to any female patients, it would be thoroughly unprofessional of you to collude with him by failing to report his crime(s).
Thank you, am crying again a little bit. I'm planning to wait until he goes to work, then phone my parents and get them here to help me pack up and get away.
I promise I'll call police if any hint of further trouble. I'll take documents with me. I'm going to put DS to bed now. Will try to check in later.
This thread is my lifeline tonight, to keep it real in my head until I can talk in RL. Thank you all so much
I will report him tomorrow Izzy. I know that makes no sense to you, but it's the best I can manage. I know I'm enabling and I'm not proud of myself, but the fog is thick in my head just now and I can't take another scene tonight.
Thanks. Your posts (and Cogito's) on other threads have been the triggers that started my realisation. I decided this morning that I would stand up to him, that I didn't have to watch my son be upset, that if it was all in my head, the nothing would happen...
MerlotforOne, DO be proud of yourself. You have acknowledged that you are the victim of abuse; you are taking steps to get out of the situation.
You didn't ask to become an enabler; you didn't ask to be in this situation, or to have to find ways to cope with it. Do not for one second think you should blame yourself for ending up in a situation where you have to cope with being abused. That is his doing. Not yours.
You are being very brave. I promise you that you don't have to put up with this, and it's not in your head.
Merlot, I spoke at a Child Safeguarding Conference to Hampshire doctors last summer. If you are practising in Hants, you might have come, you may have seen me speak.
I was told that my words really helped GPs see how best to help abuse victims get out, at the very tentative early syages.
We victims are not what others thing battered women look like, we're not stupid, low, common or poor per se.
We may feel monumentally stupid when the scales fall from our eyes, but in time we can see that it's THEY that are stupid, they have a good partner, a life, a family and they screw it up cos they have to crush and destroy it.
We don't feel stupid forever, that stops fairly quickly as we start to process what THEY have CHOSEN to do to US.
It'll be ok love, in fact it will be a lot better than OK, trust us, you and your son will be safe, happy, relaxed and will thrive. You will laugh again. It won't always hurt like this. Not for long.
I'm worried for you, OP. Please be careful not to give him any indication tonight that you'll be going tomorrow.
Could you email your mum and dad to tell them? I would feel happier knowing they know they should come. Or would they phone up to speak to him?
What can you do tonight to keep out of his way? Will you be expected to sleep in the same bed as him?
Just thinking about it, I think you have to report him, hard though you might find that. If you don't, you run the risk of him going for 50-50 custody.
Of course she has to report him. What if another victim of abuse goes to him for help, needing to get children away from an abuser...
He's unfit to be a doctor. Where is his Oath now? 'First Do No Harm?' ??? Do his wife and child not count?
Today is not the day though, Merlot will need strength and clarity. That will come.
Report it to your GP first, get it logged.
Thing is even if you did "push your luck" that's not a normal situation - I can't ever imagine a situation where my DP would physically hurt me or push me over, perhaps in self defence if I was coming at him with a knife or something! Most adults don't have arguments where they lash out at each other, even if the other is being utterly infuriating.
I agree that the police would definitely take this seriously. You don't say "My husband and I were arguing and he pushed me" you say "He pushed me so hard that I fell to the floor, my 3 year old was upset." They would absolutely see this as physical violence/abuse - it's not just about hitting/punching or a full-on beating.
The point of reporting now means that in the future if you are worried about him having unsupervised access to your son you have some proof backing up your experience of DV, so that he and the courts can't later claim that you are making up accusations of DV in order to stop him seeing your son because you don't like him. Unfortunately without a trail in place even if you have serious concerns in the future it can be hard for you to block contact if you ever need to - it seems easier for courts etc to believe the "She's a psycho bitch who hates me" line than the "I am seriously worried for my child's safety" truth
I'm not saying it's impossible to block contact later if you need to, and you don't have to stop him from having contact now (although I would strongly suggest you go for supervised if anything) but if you become concerned at some point in the future it's going to make life a lot easier for you if you have a paper trail.
I agree don't do anything that puts you at risk now. Please try to talk to Women's Aid in the morning though - they won't say anything to the police etc, that is up to you and your decision.
OP, I just wanted to remind you how it's harder to see this when it's your life and your partner and not someone else. If one of your patients came to you saying her husband had violently shoved her you would be in no doubt that this wasn't okay. But your own situation feels different because you love him, because you hope he will change, because you think it is your fault.
It isn't your fault.
He can't change or "get better" without professional help.
It shouldn't be to to you to walk on eggshells so things are "okay".
Loving him isn't enough.
I've never forgotten the words of a woman on another forum I go on. She was talking to a poster who said her fiancé was abusive, but she loved him. And this woman said: "Of course you do. I loved my ex husband. I loved him while he punched me in the face, and I loved him while he told me it was my fault."
It's normal to feel horribly conflicted; to ask yourself if it's really so bad and wonder if it's somehow your fault. That's what years of conditioning, of walking on eggshells, of keeping him happy at the expense of all other happiness, of feeling afraid, of feeling weighed down, will do to you.
It's normal to feel stupid and ashamed, but that doesn't mean you should feel those things; this is not your fault. Nobody has the right to behave like this. You don't shove your spouse, tell them they deserved it and refuse to acknowledge what happened. That is not okay, end of.
You are leaving because your partner was aggressive towards your son. Your son was crying. Your partner was angry with you for wanting to comfort him and violently pushed you, then claimed you deserved this.
This is what you need to remember tomorrow when you start questioning yourself, when you wonder if it's really as bad as you thought, when that doubting voice he has put in your head starts telling you that it's your fault. It's not your fault.
^^agree with everything. It took me 7 years to realise all that.
jess the article on the abuse cycle is very helpful and true
Thanks Jess. I'm in bed, alone, full of doubt.
We ate dinner in virtual silence, then he held me and said sorry. Nothing else, just 'I am so sorry'. We sat and watched tv and I pretended nothing had happened. Then we came to bed and I lay here frozen until he offered to sleep in the spare room.
The thing that gets me is that I don't pacify him at he expense of all happiness. in general we have a pretty honest relationship and he does listen, take things on board, modify his behaviour. He is generally considerate of my wants and needs. We are a pretty good team, it's just that when he's in a bad mood, I do the eggshells thing. It's not every day, or even every month, and it has got less and less over time. I just feel, as you say, that I shouldn't have to feel scared when he gets angry or frustrated. That's not right.
Look at it this way. You're so scared of his reaction that you couldn't risk removing you and your ds from the house tonight for fear of reprisals.
That, if nothing else, demonstrates what's wrong with the relationship - with him. The blowups may be intermittent, even infrequent, but you have to live - always - with fear.
"We are a pretty good team, it's just that when he's in a bad mood, I do the eggshells thing."
You're in grave danger of rationalising this away. Careful. You're getting the 'shit sandwich' at the moment. Nice behaviour... shit behaviour... nice behaviour. Designed to make you feel relieved it's over & make you so grateful things are back to normal that you give him another chance. You're probably not even conscious how much you pacify him any more because it's second-nature. As tribpot says... someone who hides under the covers, pretending to be resting, frightened that they are going to be overheard on the phone is not someone who is in a 'good team'. Good luck.
You're probably not even conscious how much you pacify him any more because it's second-nature.
This is what gets me, that I feel I have no perspective, no sense of normal any more, if I ever did. And yes, things would be completely back to normal now if I let them be, and it's so damn tempting, but I keep remembering how frantic DS was, and I can't let it go.
The thought of telling my parents, or anyone in RL, is terrifying at the moment. There's no way back from this once I've done that.
There's no way back from this once I've done that.
Yes, that's the point. At the moment you are inside the conspiracy of silence, you are colluding with him to keep this from your family, the GMC, etc. It's 'safe' because most of the danger is internal and you know how to manage him 99 days out of 100. It's at the expense of your own soul, but you know how to do it now.
But that doesn't change the fact that it did happen. That your son saw it. In a year or two he will be at school. He could tell a teacher, or another parent. Now suddenly he has to be inside the conspiracy of silence as well, aged 4 or 5. That can't be.
And your parents find out eventually anyway and are devastated both that it happened and you didn't tell them - just as you would be if, god forbid, your ds ended up in an abusive relationship and didn't tell you.
The effort involved in keeping the secret becomes greater and greater - for you. For him, as long as he ensures your silence, he's golden. No problems for him. And he already knows how to heap the emotional pressure on to you, he's doing it now.
This is why the posters above are telling you to get out before you reach the next stage, or the next.
You must make this real. This happened. Denying it can never help the situation.
When my ds was about your ds' age, we were playing football in a friend's garden and my friend kicked the ball at me and it hit me in the legs. Of course a complete accident, it barely hurt at all, I'm sure I didn't even say 'ow'. But my ds insisted on standing in front of me to protect me from this again - that's how your ds feels now. My thing could be laughed away. Yours can't.
merlot tell your parents!
They will understand
How much more difficult do you think it will be when (and it is a 'when' not an 'if') you and/or your ds end up with bruises or worse and you know you could have prevented it 'if only' you'd spoke out about what he did on 1 Jan 2013?
As for his 'I am so sorry', it's the panto season and the only possible response is 'O no you're not'. He's only said those words so that you'll be acquiescent - and he'll be free to do it again when he feels the urge to vent his spleen on his dw and his defenceless child.
I was crying and DS was upset and brought me his muslin and dummy
Three years old and the poor little thing is already feeling responsible for protecting mummy and trying to make her happy. He really shouldn't be in that position.
I have come across some of your posts before on issues like this and find them extremely unhelpful. You sound very bitter and almost triumphant at times with what some of the women are going through. You make it seem black and white, you come across very off-hand, and i almost feel that you are trying to say that if the women don't leave or sort it out then that's their fault.
A few weeks ago i did a thread to which you replied - very nastily and sarcastically may i add - so much so that I was very uncomfortable and felt belittled and stupid by your insensitive comments and total lack of empathy that i name changed.
I am a bit fed up with your postings on the serious issues presented in these particular threads and think you should either read your postings very carefully - so you can be aware of how they sound OR just don't post at all on the threads surrounding this particular issue.
Now i have confronted you - albeit anonymously - i feel quite elated that I have had the strength to speak my mind against you - someone who I feel is bordering on being a bully.
If Izzy's advice is so bitter and bullying (which I'm not reading at all btw), what would you advise the OP to do gandaulf?
I'm sorry Gandaulf, but I think it is your interpretation of Izzyizin's posts that is the problem. I have only ever seen her give very sage, practical advice, and help out those in need. I take it that you didn't agree with what she said to you on your thread? Well why not discuss it there instead of hijacking someone else's thread to vent your spleen? Izzy is being honest. If you don't want opinions, don't ask for them on a forum. Not everyone is going to agree with you.
Good luck to you OP. For what it's worth I agree that you should leave for good for your DS if not for yourself.
It is not a case of people asking for advice - as i posted, it is the tone. Also I agree with you delilah - if people don't want opinions don't post. I am exercising this right by giving my 'opinion' about Izzys posts - why am I less deserving of posting my opinions than the rest of you? Any thoughtf?
By the way Cogit, on the thread i posted several weeks ago - you yourself commented to Izzy that she wasn't being very tactful or helpful.
So why would you now be saying that all she gives is kind, thoughtful, sage advice?
OP you must feel so scared and uncertain right now, but please take strength from the knowledge that many of us have been where you are, and managed to get out. You are doing the right thing to protect yourself and your precious boy.
Izzyisin is right, though it may be tough to read. You have the chance NOW to leave, to get away from this abuse, you are RIGHT to do so, please don't doubt yourself in that whatsoever. You will need to be strong and you will get through this. It gets so much better once you are away, I promise. It won't be easy, but compared to what you are going through now, it's a breeze. Now is the time, act and be safe. We are behind you, now get as much real life help as you can. You have done NOTHING wrong.
I have to ask but what are you waiting for? You say you walk on eggshells so I can only assume you are waiting for it to happen again which, to my simple mind, means you know it will happen again.
Once a hitter, always a hitter. Get him out, now, protect your son and yourself.
I am not hijacking someone elses thread = I came on here to read about people who might be experiencing something like I have done - and yet again came across Izzys posts. She herself sometimes vents her spleen but is not accused of 'hijacking'.
I just feel her tone may put people off from posting and receiving kind, thoughtful, helpful advice rather than having it implied that by staying everything that happens is the victims fault. She has implied this on a number of different posters threads and through her various postings on this issue.
"So why would you now be saying that all she gives is kind, thoughtful, sage advice?"
Where did I say that? I didn't. I asked what you'd suggest the OP should do. I'm not reading anyone at all saying it's the OP's fault.... just a lot of encouragement to get out, some more bluntly expressed than others.
" having it implied that by staying everything that happens is the victims fault"
There's a massive difference between blaming a victim and encouraging them to leave by pointing out that they will regret staying should the violence escalate or be repeated.
I hope that the OP makes decisions that will be 'safe' ones for her and her son. 'Safe' decisions are not necessarily the ones that are the ' you know what you should do ' decisions.
I apologise for my above psotings. I hope that you will take 'safe' decisions. Womensaid can help you and you can do so anonymously if you want. Perhaps you have parents who you can send your son to for a visit. Then you may be able to focus on contacting womensaid and making a start of tackling this awful situation you have found yourself in.
Despite everyone advising you to leave asap - I know it is not that simple, it can just seem too huge to contemplate and the panic in just thinking about it overwhelming. I am ongoing in trying to sort out my own situation but believe that advice from womensaid or refuge would be of real help to you at this point.
Good Luck X
I was talking about my postings from several weeks ago!
I was talking about my postings from several weeks ago. Why are you trying to make me feel stupid - not nice!
You can't expect people to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of threads past and cross reference. If you have a point to make to an OP or if you disagree with the advice the OP is getting, speak up. But making accusations against other members and questioning their motives based on something they said in the past tends to make you look like the bully rather than them....
I'm thinking that the OP may have a point with police involvement being extreme for a shove, though it's enough to seriously address and sort out what necessary action to take.
As the OP has been with her DH for many years, I doubt that she would be in immediate physical danger, so I think that taking time to process her 'light-bulb' moment regarding the EA, may be an alternative approach to "leave tomorrow". She may need to put on a front of obedience whilst putting other plans in action. She does have her DC to think of, her career and where to live which is a lot to sort out.
I have done exactly as you said and challenged and spoken out to voice my opinion on Izzyizzins posts. I have done so - on my own and with no back-up from other posters. I am not a bully - I am voicing an opinion and have not enlisted the help of other posters in doing so.
Bullies normally get their courage when others encourage them. You must feel very empowered Cogit with other posters backing you up about MY postings. I tried to end this nastiness a couple of threads earlier but you just won't let it lie. Why is that Cogit - do you feel threatened because I am standing up for myself?
People posting on these issues myself included feel very self-conscious and aware how society reacts when we stay, we may not react in your well thoughtout logical way so I suggest you try and be a little less judgemental on the people commenting and spare a thought to their issues instead!
Let it go gandulf, or do your own thread. To sort something like this out or leave is the best one can do for our children. Is a mother who chooses to stay doing the best for her DC, or choosing a path that she wants regardless of her DC? Violence is a clear cut issue.
Um, iirc, Cogito is actually a qualified and experienced family law solicitor. Even if not , s/he reliably gives good legal advice.
I was quite willing to let it go when i responded to the OP's plight. I see that I am being blamed for this nastiness on this thread by the 'regular' posters. As I said before I have viewed these particular threads to find advice etc. I had every right to express my opinion on one of your 'regulars'.
She told me that he should be buried under the patio and if not and i didn't leave how could I expect anyone to sympathise. Is that kind helpful, thoughtful, advice? That was the very first time I had gone on a forum like this to explain my situation and recieved that in return. I will never post again and hope that Izzyizin thinks about her future postings and the effect they can have!
OP So very sorry for your troubles; I think that you should report him to the police and the GMC and leave him. Best wishes
Oh OP, so much of what you are saying resonates with me. Please dont minimize it & stay with him longer, it's only by leaving him that you'll stop feeling adrift & doubting yourself. It will take a while to regain your sense of self & sense of reality, that's what being in an abusive relationship does to you.
Keep posting & keep yourself safe. Xxx.
Ps I am a professional too, I know how stupid I felt thinking I should have known better & I was revealing myself as a sham... But it's not true you know, having a good job is no inoculation against abuse!
OP. Please do have a look at the link I posted about the cycle of abuse.
The thing is, after an hour or a day you can convince yourself it wasn't that bad. Because it feels so hard to leave, to dismantle your life, to break the silence. That's why people were urging you to act now - because in the morning you may lose your resolve.
Please at the very least tell your doctor as others have suggested and call Women's Aid to find out what help you could get (they can advise on finances, legal rights, all sorts).
I spent seven years in a relationship that was wrong, wrong, wrong but I convinced myself it was okay because I had chosen that path, hasn't I?
I also grew up with a father whose moods meant we all walked on eggshells all of the time. If you can't leave for yourself, focus on doing it for your DS. It is not better to stay for the sake of children when you are staying in an environment of fear.
A loving partner does not physically hurt you and then gaslight you. You talk of things going back to normal, but your normal isn't normal. Remember your first post, where you talk about walking on eggshells, about him being controlling, about how he can be loving - sure he can, but that's not meant to be a part-time thing.
I promise you that, if you leave, it will be a relief and you will look back and feel glad you did. Maybe not immediately, but in time.
Merlot- hope you're ok and have got through this evening. I hope you get some really good super from your family. I do totally understand the the posts on reporting but I also understand your predicament. I had exactly the same thing with an ex. I knew calling the police there and then would have caused massive issues so I waited til the next day, room his house key off his fob without his knowledge, and made the pretence I was taking the dog out. Once out called relatives to pick me up and then contacted his parent to get him removed from my house. The calls ce and the name calling and the threats and at this point I used the come anywhere near me card and I'll call the police. You h will know the consequences of this happening so you may have this as a good stick to beat him with (should make a nice change) but please do call the police if he ever does attack you or do the same again as today. You description of events with Ds bringing his dummy bought tears to my eyes, bless him. The poor thing knows it's not right and will get very scared. Scoop him up and get the pair of you out of there and don't look back. Please let me know how you get on. Good luck.
Stupid mobile corrections - support not super and took not room. Sorry if there's more.
What is more terrifying - the thought of telling your parents or the thought of seeing your DS go through that again? (and again and again). Your son is 3, he is not going to be able to 'walk on eggshells' for a few years yet and really do you want him to learn that he needs to?? Do you want your DS to grow up thinking this is how good men behave? Do you want your DS to become him?
Also, considering he had a 3 year old pinned down on a stone floor to get his coat on... I would not be thinking 'he wouldn't hurt him'
You can convince yourself it will 'all be OK' if you want to - but just remember the look on your DS's face
OP- please leave, please for you and your DS especially - or seek counselling if you honestly truly feel your relationship can change. I was in an abusive relationship for 6 years and finally left, but it was a whole year and a half after MNers told me to leave (have since namechanged)- In that extra year an a half, I had my nose broken, I was pushed down 3 flights of stairs, I was strangled, I had my head smashed into a wall, a doorway, I had a knife pressed hard into my neck. I had t call the police a number of times, I had to send my DS (then less than 2) away to stay with relatives so he would not be harmed in any way, and have since had to move house many times in secret. It started with one little 'grab' when I was giong to go to a friend's birthday party but P did not allow me, and since then I felt I was walking on eggshells and I was scared to leave. believe me, it escalated but I became accustomed to it and frightened of it to the point where I felt nobody understood how very trapped I was in this situation and I myself doubted whether I should leave, despite knowing how miserable and terrified it made me. I noticed red flags at the start of the relationship, a few months in I remember reading about abuse online and thinking 'shit that's me' or stockholm syndrome etc. But I stayed and really, I so wish I hadn't. I left a year ago and DS is happy, I am slowly rediscovering my personality and attempting to piece together my shattered confidence after years of not being allowed to be myself.
My daughter used to comfort me like that, she used to see me crying and would come over to me (depsite being only 1) and try and make me happy, play peekaboo at me until I cracked a smile, give me her favourite toy. It was no childhood for her and I will never forgive myself for allowing her to be exposed to it.
Please, please look long and hard at the cycle of abuse and try to see where you are in it right now, and where he is. That hug and 'sorry' -- identify where that puts you.
Take a deep breath and tell your parents. You are not stupid. This is not a situation you wanted or wished for and you were a tiger protecting your little son. Be courageous once again and tell your parents. You have to give this situation over to others and let them care for you. Do this for your little son if you can't see how it would be the best thing for you. Have courage again. It will be harder without the adrenaline. You both need help.
Wishing you every good wish. You can do this. Stay smart and wait until he leaves but you must then act.
When you are safe at your parents report to a GP. This needs to be recorded.
I've called my parents. Was crying too hard to say much, but managed to croak out that something had happened with DH and could they please come and get me. Dad just said 'I'm coming right now' and put the phone down. He should be here in an hour or so.
Last night was really odd. After I settled to try and sleep, I heard DH lurking on the landing, then he came in and got into bed and wanted to know why I was still so angry with him. He was still minimising, making out it wasn't intentional, we even had sobbing. I ended up holding him until he cried himself to sleep. But I'm still scared and I'm increasingly angry. H has gone to work and dropped DS off at nursery. Am going to shower and pack.
Thank you all. FWIW, I found Izzy's posts blunt, but they helped me hang on to the idea that there is something badly wrong with my marriage.
Well done merlot. I've just read your thread and am so pleased you've made that call.
Wishing you strength. X
Fantastic first steps, MerlotforOne. Well done you. I don't think anyone on this thread thought this would be anything other than one of the most difficult conversations of your life.
People can undoubtedly lash out unintentionally but they probably don't say 'you really don't want to push me just now' beforehand. Otherwise it's not unintentional, is it? Although it does give him the perfect opportunity to blame you for not having heeded his warning.
Keep going. I don't know whether your parents will immediately appreciate the seriousness of what has happened with it being 'only' a shove but a poster on another thread who works for the police confirmed a similar incident would certainly be taken seriously by their DV unit.
So glad you have called your parents. Now is the time you have to be really strong. The tears etc are all part of the cycle, designed to keep you there.
Do not listen to any promises to change, assurances that he would never hurt you. He already has. I did just that and went back. Nothing changed.
If you have to screen your calls for a few days, do so. Give yourself time to think, talk to supportive people. Tell them everything. Their reactions will let you know you are doing the right thing.
If you go back, I think men like this take it to mean that you will put up with it. Good luck and stay strong(and safe).
He knows something's up. He's putting on the show... Typical abuser.
DON'T back down. The fact that he's turning on the tears and making it all about him is your proof!
Who the hell does he think he is to manhandle/assault a child, then it's mother and then get held while crying himself to sleep?
He's trying to minimise it, and blame you somehow!
Think! Don't fall for it, it's classic abuse 101.
My darling good luck. I get flamed on here on a regular basis about having a traditional relationship where although we are both professionals DH is the provider and I do the domestic stuff. We have been together for 25 years and I have compromised over much. Had he ever done to our ds what he did to yours yesterday and ever laid a finger on me all compromise would have stopped.
Your DS should not have witnessed that and you both deserve to be safe and happy and be free to breath.
Well done you - the fact that your dad is coming immediately without question or hesitation speaks volumes.
Ah good for you Merlot. So pleased your dad is coming and again you have support. Can you stay with them easily for awhile ie plenty of room. I know my mum would have taken me in at the drop of an hat but u do see so many posts where people have no-one or there families dismiss the problem. As for your H I imagine he knew very well he had done wrong and the emotional blackmail started with the crying. I had the same "your not carrying this on all day and ruining the day" me ruin it! And believe me I think you will hear from him mid part of today as he will want to brush this away and return to the status quo. Do you love him anymore ? Do you want to be with him anymore? I truly hope you don't as this marriage is not good for you or Ds and it's not your fault. Please try and see through the barrage of apologies, promises, threats, nastiness and tears (yep you'll get everyone) that is to come in the near future. And please don't fall for any sentence that includes "your taking my son away" or "your doing this " your doing that". Only you know how long this has really gone on for and how long you've had that niggle in the pit of your stomach. So listen to it and don't be swayed. Sooo pleased your dad is coming over right now i could kiss him!! ;-) ps I'd also pick Ds up a little earlier than usual an have him with you before h is any the wiser.
Merlot I know I'm only a random on the internet but I am so proud of you for making that call.
Re this: "People can undoubtedly lash out unintentionally but they probably don't say 'you really don't want to push me just now' beforehand. Otherwise it's not unintentional, is it? Although it does give him the perfect opportunity to blame you for not having heeded his warning."
Him sobbing and you having to hold him is classic manipulation - he minimised what he did to you and made you comfort him, ergo you feel guilty for supposedly upsetting him. Fuck that shit, if you'll pardon my language.
"wanted to know why I was still so angry with him"
That says it all really. Shove someone onto the floor and then have no idea why they are still upset or angy? Then crying himself to sleep? That's a very self-centred man with either no empathy or a deluded self-image. Glad you had the courage to call your Dad. Stay strong.
hi OP and truly sorry for your plight. i would just like to tell you, I understand your hesitations to leave him and yet on the other hand your realization that presently it is what you MUST do.
However, why don't you separate for now and try getting your husband some help. Make it absolutely imperative, to him to get off his high horse and confront his actions head on. Maybe therapy will help him get to the roots of his violent/uncontrolled temper. I don't think that you will necessarily need to divorce him. often after some time of civil separation with both parties getting the necessary help the marriage can be saved.
although i myself am not a LCSW (licensed social worker.) many of my family members are including my DH. he would never disclose names or actual facts but i do know that he has dealt with such scenarios in the past.
hope i won't get flaming for this one, but i don't think ALL is lost. if however after going for help (whilst separated, DO NOT GO BACK TO HIM UNTIL YOU RECEIVE A GO AHEAD FROM A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL) then go ahead and get a divorce. but if you truly love this man, i think it is worth a try.
again this is only my opinion and you can do as you please. for now definitely go ahead and leave....with DS
Cutestgirls your advice is irresponsible at best. Therapy is a notoriously risky route for domestic abusers because it serves the person being treated and can make them feel justified in their actions. Perhaps you meant anger management.
Still, a pat on the back to you for implying that "the marriage" is somehow more important than the people in it, and for telling a woman who has just found the strength to seek help, and is at one of the most vulnerable points in the process of withdrawing, that all is not lost and, whoopee do, she might choose to go back to a manipulative bully instead of prioritising her welfare and that of her child. No really, what the actual fuck were you thinking?
Best of luck op.
Well done for taking that first step x
This man clearly doesn't think he has a problem. Hence asking why op was still upset. My ex promised me he'd do anger management, I even booked relate, b it he went back on everything once I hagone back. I don't believe abusers ever really change.
Since leaving my ExH. I have wished so many times I had reported him to the police, if you are likely to split up at some point the court will order a police report if (like with me) the divorce is nasty. If ONLY I had called the police there would be solid evidence (other than witnesses) that he is what I say he is.
Please do call them. Don't think of yourself or him. Think of the children. What if he presses for them to live with him? I never thought he would try but he did and it would have been so helpful to have police reports to back me up.
"hope i won't get flaming for this one, but i don't think ALL is lost."
The OP has lost nothing - she stands to gain freedom, self-respect, safety and happiness. It is not the victim's responsibility to get help for their abuser, it is the abuser's responsibility. A man so deluded as to sob himself to sleep and fail to understand why his wife is still terrified and angry a few hours after experiencing violence at his hands... is not taking responsibility for his actions.
Good luck OP, sending you lots of strength.
I have little experience of abusive partners but you talking about walking on egg shells really spoke to me.
No-one should feel they have to walk on egg shells around someone else to keep that person happy. I've been in a relationship where I was like this and it was only once it finished (I was dumped and at the time) that I realised how wrong it was. How I wasn't being myself, how quickly I'd changed my behaviour in order to not rock the boat.
I justified it to myself, saying that all relationships take work and what did it matter if we only ever went to the restaurant he wanted/saw the film he liked/did what he wanted to etc. but really, it shouldn't be you twisting yourself to suit your partner.
I'm now with DH who takes me as I am, faults and everything. I don't have to tiptoe around his moods and it's lovely.
You have adjusted your behaviour over the years to passify his bad mood/anger so that you don't have to walk on eggshells. It has become part of who you are with him hence his and your own surprise at you standing up to him.
You stood up to him over his actions towards your child.
Your child is probably already learning that he doesn't do x,y, or z because daddy gets angry. He has note learned that daddy will pin him to the floor and hurt mummy when he DS misbehaves. So he will modify future behaviour to prevent this from happening because he loves mummy.
In other words at the age of 3 your soon is losing his precious innocence learning to passify his abuser just like you do.
Your H wasn't sorry enough to give you space last night was he? Instead he forced the issue by twisting it so that all sympathy was for how sad *he *the violent one was rather than sympathy for that victims.
You had to end up holding him sobbing rousing your sympathy and having to suppress you own feelings at being that close to your abuser yet again.
And apologies to all doctors on here, Harold Shipman was a doctor. That doesn't mean he was a good person. Pi n fact plenty of nasty people have amazing public fronts and personalities.
Sorry for spellings am on a phone.
* deck the halls * does your DH have a brother!!! He sounds lovely
Well done OP. Can't imagine how hard it was to make that call. You are doing the right thing.
Wishing you strength for today Merlot.
Probably worth considering that this may well be the first step to divorce. When packing it may save you a lot of trouble later (regarding both maintenance payments for DS and divorce settlements) if you can take with you some documents (or copies of documents) which prove his income and any assets.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, or not what you want to think about right now, but it could save you a lot of hassle and heartache later.
I expect others who have been through it will be able to advise what in particular you should take.
I've been lurking on this thread and watching with hope for you Merlot.
Well done for calling your parents. Seriously, well done.
My sister has been married to an angry alcoholic for 20 years. She lives across the other side of the world with 3 teenage dc's. Her husbands behaviour has always been 'the Elephant in the Room'.
This summer we had our annual visit from her and her dc's. She broke down, told us all about her 'walking on egg shells life'. How her husband is verbally and emotionally abusive to her and her dc's. She declared that she'd reached a watershed and didn't want to go back with him. Me and my parents started to make plans for this.
Then he snapped his fingers and she went back. I was heartbroken. She didn't talk to me for weeks as I think I reminded her of the reality of what her life is. She talks to me now as if nothing has happened. She's a strong, confident and popular woman - but cannot find any strength to fight against him.
Not an hour goes by that I'm not worrying about her. I wish she'd been as strong as you years ago
Huge love and support to you Merlot xx
Wishing you much strength Merlot. Well done for leaving, you're already setting an excellent example for your son. I know it's hard but please do report him to the police though. Otherwise there is the risk that he will have unsupervised access to your son and pin him down, sobbing (or worse, discipline him with 'only' a
hard slap smack) when you're not there to protect him. I'm sorry if that sounds blunt but this is such a key time. Whatever consequences he will face he has brought on himself.
Merlot we are all behind you, well done for making that call! Stay strong. I hope you and DS are safe at your parents now. Sending you strength and positive thoughts love.
Merlot - well done. It took a lot of courage to do that, it is going to take even more to stay away. You need to keep talking to us and telling friends & family, make this real and it's much easier to stay away from him.
I am very sorry it's ended like this - but now you know who he really is, you have to keep that image at the forfront of any decisions and not what you thought your future held - it is too easy to go back, it is too easy to say 'but I love him' - anytime you do, just remember the look on your DS's face & stay strong.
I post very rarely, Merlot, but felt I had to say how relieved I was to read that you had called your dad. As awful as today must be for you, it's hopefully a first step towards a much happier future for you and your son. I hope you can also find the strength to report your husband so that there is a record made and you can adequately protect your son as he grows up. I'm sure many of us will be thinking of you throughout the day.
DS and I (and all our personal belongings and papers) are now safely at my parents. I've had a long chat with women's aid (who basically said the same as you have about this being abusive and me not overreacting) and called 101 to find out what would happen if I reported, although I haven't yet reported the incident.
I feel shaky and raw and exhausted. I'm still dithering over reporting to the police. My parents keep telling me I'm still too upset to make decisions and shouldn't do anything irreversible. I keep thinking that I just want to wait and see how he reacts to me having left (he's at work as as yet unaware).
Have changed all my computer passwords. I'm going to try to wind down a bit as functioning purely on adrenaline. Police said if I choose to report, SS would probably have to be involved, but that at long as we're currently safe, that's the main thing. Feels like I'm the one upping the ante, but relieved to have spoken about it.
Thanks to you all for posting. I read the whole three first thing this morning to give me strength to call my parents. I honestly don't think I would have done this without you. Feels so much better to be out of the house.
Well done for holding it together and keeping a cool head in the circumstances. Personally I think what he did was the 'irreversible' factor in all this. You may be upset but - unlike him when placed under a minor amount of stress - you are not the one lashing out violently, being unstable and going to pieces. You're making very sound, well thought through decisions. Remind your parents of that.
Well done Merlot, you have been very brave and have done the right thing. I do think you should report to the Police in case as others have said, should custody issues become nasty, it could help. Have a sweet tea as you are probably still in shock and let your parents look after you both.
The thing is, Merlot, he is the one who has done something irreversible. All you would be doing is reporting it to the appropriate authority. It is not 'upping the ante' to report being the victim of a crime. I think you know what you'd advise another woman in your situation to do. He still has the opportunity to be completely remorseful about what he's done, but nothing can change the fact that he did it.
I'm very pleased that you're safe, and that ds is safe. I'm sure Women's Aid will have suggest their Pattern Changing course? I would urge you to think about that seriously.
Look after yourself for the next few days, make sure you rest and recuperate. I realise now I didn't even ask if you had physically hurt yourself when you landed on the floor, does your shoulder or head need to be checked out?
Good luck OP
Amongst the great posts on here, i wanted to say i totally agree with tripbot's on page 2
I can't help thinking previous posters made a very important point about reporting this to someone - having evidence - in case of future custody battles. Your parents mean well, but these are his actions, not yours. Just remember it is not for you to take the responsibility, or guilt, of deciding whether he should be answerable to them.
I am really pleased if this thread has helped give you the strength to get out. Please do look after yourself.
Not physically hurt, thanks Tribpot.
Parents are being great, have helped me unpack and now taken DS and dog out for a walk. I'm taking on board all your saying about reporting, but sort of feel I've done enough for one day and now need to recuperate a bit.
At some point tonight or tomorrow morning (not sure when as he's on call), H is going to come home to an empty house. I will need to have my wits about me when he calls, so going to rest now.
My parents have said I can stay as long as I like, whether that's 2 days or 2 years, and they will help me out financially if I need it. I think they're just shaken up by all this themselves and have no experience of DV. They will support me whatever happens, I think they just don't want me to make decisions now, whilst I'm upset, that I might regret down the line. It's ok, I have time now to get my head straight.
I'm very glad you got out so quickly OP and that your parents are helping you.
Keep posting on MN for more support and advice.
Get some rest and take care of yourself and your little boy
Your parents are just lovely.
Stay strong, Merlot.
Merlot, I'm so glad to read that you've left and are safe. I too fled with a 3 year old DS from a violent relationship many years ago. But it took more that one act of violence for me to get out . I really want to reiterate what previous posters have said about the importance of reporting what has happened to the police, AND to a GP. Your parents sound lovely, but they are not helping you or their grandchild by encouraging you not to do something 'irreversible' because it might impact on your husband's profession.
A man who can hide behind his professional status is only going to make changes and seek help if 'higher authorities' i.e. the police, SS and potentially the GMC are involved. Otherwise he will continue to cry, deny and minimise what happened and make you promises that he won't be able to keep. No-one is suggesting he wants to be the bad guy, but he cannot control his temper to the point where he can be violent, and no matter how much he might think he wants to change, there is no chance of this happening without outside intervention.
This isn't to suggest you ought to go back to him if he promises to get 'therapy' either . It's very dangerous to suggest that 'qualified professionals' (are you reading this cutestgirls?) can wave a magic wand and turn him into a 'better' husband. He needs to get help managing his anger (and maybe parenting classes) so it's safe for him to have unsupervised access to his child in the future, regardless of whther you stay together. And this is why you must report what happened: to give you more leverage when you need to negotiate access.
Please don't lose sight of why you had to leave. This wasn't triggered by a row about money, or the dinner being late. Your husband hurt and frightened his tiny 3 year old child, and when you tried to protect him, your DH hurt and frightened YOU. He has broken not just the law, but his professional oaths. If he was capable of losing his temper with DS when you were in the same room, what do you imagine might happen if he's had a bad day at work and you're not there to protect your child?
^^agree with every word.
We are here for you OP.
Hi Merlot (and make sure you have a glass for one later) :/)
Totally understand you have done enough for today and feel raw and very uncertain about the next few hours. Luckily you do have some time on your side and like I said in a previous post with his profession you can use the threat of calling the police and reporting as a good tool for keeping him at bay. Just out of interest and I know you feel raw do you feel a glimmer of happiness for the future. I know I did, I went to my dads and was terrified and the mobile kept ringing and I was consumed with oh god what going to happen next? What do I do? Then for a split second amongst the madness something in me yelled "yes, wow, I've done it" a smile came across my face and for that split second I felt like me for the first time in a long time and knew I done the right thing. I went back to running on adrenaline like you mentioned pretty quick as it's a shock to the life you had and imagined (although I suspect you've always had a flicker of "this won't be forever") anyway, that one bit of excitement kept me going when the calls started and the promises made flowed by the anger which proved the initial promises to be bollocks! How are you already feeling around your son? happy, more carefree? Please stay at your parents for as long as possible. Take care x
Merlot - you are doing well.
I know you are stealing yourself to deal with your H once he finds out you have left, but you know he's most likely to sob and apologise and beg for forgiveness don't you Don't fall for his bs. You only have to read a few threads to know that it always escalates - despite their aparent regret.
You need to report this, even if it's only to your GP initially. You may need to protect DS from him further down the line and you will seriously regret not having reported this. This is why you left, you left because it wasn't safe to stay - this could be vital down the line when he's seeking more custody of DS than you think is safe
Merlot, well done for doing what you have so far but I would have to agree, from personal experience that you must report the assault to the police.
My STBX (also in a similar profession to yours) assaulted me after we had had split up. He had been violent before and all the usual EA and gas lighting behaviours were second nature to him. Being separated seemed to give him some kind of green light to do as he wanted and I finally reported the final assault because I felt that the next time he might do me serious harm and I had a black eye and bruising on the arms which of course was good evidence for the Police. I was terrified about what it might do to his career and income and the knock on effect this would have on the children and myself.
From what I understand now and from my own personal experience once the "gloves are off" and you have split from these men they feel out of control and they feel the need to up the anti. They do not accept being out manoeuvred. I am not saying for a second that you will be assaulted again but you need to protect yourself from it happening again and it is essential you have this on record and show him you will not be messed with. You have left many years before I did and I admire your courage.
If you do decide to report it, I am very happy if you want to PM me about the process and what to expect. I do know it varies from County to County so it might well be worth having a look at the Police Authorities website in the area you were assaulted.
My old name was Springaroundthecorner if you want to look up the thread I have.
Not much advice to give you Merlot but I've been thinking of you, as I'm sure others have too, today and we are all here to help you through this. Been there myself too and you will come through this. Big hugs to you x
Thinking of you too. Have given dd a pep talk today (she's only 14) that whatever happens when she's a grown up there will always be a place at home for her nd that she must never live in fear of a boyfriend, partner or husband and if she thinks its her fault and feels embarassed mum and dad will always be there and will always support her corner.
I'm so glad you have year mum and dad. I never understood before mnet how important things like refuges were.
Good luck - this is the beginning of a better future not an ending.
Hugs too for your mum and dad. They are an example for all mnet parents x
Good luck Merlot, big unmumsnet hugs to you and your parents.
Good luck Merlot, and well done.
Good luck merlot Your post has helped me cement my plans of escape. Thank you.
Good luck Merlot- you have been very strong and will still have wobbles but hang on to that clarity.
Just another one adding good luck to the mix!
Also to say that you haven't really "upped the ante", your DH did this by being violent. About him being a doctor and possible reports to GMC, this is something DH should have thought about also, it doesn't negate your right to your own bodily safety, it doesn't mean that he can get away with whatever he wants. I hope when you're feeling stronger you will consider your options from the perspective of your highest good. Well done on everything you've done so far! Also for setting a good example to your DS of good self-esteem and standing up for him.
Thinking of you too Merlot and wishing you, your DS and your parents all the best for the days and weeks ahead.
I av similar abuse to put up wiv aswel more verbal n emotional rarely physical neva hit me but pushed me abwt n he has sed awful fings abwt our dawter its horible dnt no wot to do nemore x
Merlot -- what do you mean when you say 'regret down the line' ??
I feel shaky and raw and exhausted. I'm still dithering over reporting to the police. My parents keep telling me I'm still too upset to make decisions and shouldn't do anything irreversible. I keep thinking that I just want to wait and see how he reacts to me having left (he's at work as as yet unaware).
This is not a game, and it is not a game you are going to win. Your H is playing for serious stakes and you need to take them seriously too. Waiting and seeing how he reacts is not the way to proceed now that you are striking out for freedom -- and this is the goal for you and for your DS now. It's not cat and mouse, tit for tat, and your aim is to minimise engagement with him, not maintain it. As long as you respond to him he has the upper hand here. You need to think in terms of taking the initiative, exhausted and frightened though you are, and worried and feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.
This is the way someone thinks when she is still living with her dominator. You are not there any more and you need to get into the mindset of someone who isn't accountable to a controller, nor responsible for his career. You can and should take the initiative. Please report what he did as soon as you can. He can deal with the consequences.
Give back to him the responsibility that is his to carry for what he did. He is a grown up and he needs to carry his own responsibility. Nothing good can come of taking care of him or looking out for his welfare. He is not going to reciprocate. He did not reciprocate last night in anything he did or said. You are not going to impress him or look good in his eyes by doing favours for him.
You need to get a residence order for your DS. You need to get a protection order against your H. This sounds like a lot to tackle but you need to do these things because you and only you can be relied upon to protect yourself. You cannot assume your H has your welfare at heart at all. In fact, all you can assume is that he is thinking only of himself -- holy crap, look at the performance he pulled last night if you need any confirmation of this, with the sobbing and the insult to your spirit and your intelligence when he wanted to know why you were still so mad with him. Please realise what a twisted horror you are looking at here, and how irreversible his choices are.
Well done! I'm so pleased you've taken these brave steps to protect yourself and your son.
You really MUST report to the police: what if your ex goes for full or 50% custody?
Not much clarity here this morning.
He called last night sobbing hysterically. Was on the phone for a couple of hours on and off. I found myself managing his emotional state, trying to calm him down. He has promised the earth, expressed regret, shame etc and I badly want to believe him, but there's a little voice in my head saying that it took him 2 days and a half empty house to get to this point.
Slept a bit last night and have managed a bit of breakfast and had a shower. He sent a text in our usual chatty tone, with xxx at the end, asking how I was feeling. I have replied that I have a maelstrom of feelings, the predominant one at this point being anger.
I know you're telling me to disengage, but I feel I need to see him, here. I've told him I'm not hiding this, that I won't keep it secret. I need to get my head straight, and for me at the moment that means seeing him, then him going again so I can get some perspective.
I can almost guarantee that seeing him will not help in any way in getting your head straight. He will go through every trick he has (being emotional, threatening suicide, pretending to be vulnerable, becoming angry, violent) to coerce you into doing as he wants. And what he wants will not be in your best interests.
This is a man who pinned your DS to the floor and shoved you to the ground as your DS watched. Please protect yourself and DS from him.
Read all the other threads about EA and the script, and listen to that little voice in your head. One day of those 2.5 days was probably spent working out which tactic would work best on you!
How much shame & regret did he show when he physically abused your DC & you, told you it was your fault, then denied what he'd said? Then the text this morning - he's apologised, you cared enough to try to calm him down when he cried, so clearly he's trying to suggest that everything is back as it was before the last straw incident with the chatty tone & the xxx.
If you feel you MUST see him, do it at your parents house where you have emotional backup and support. I doubt very much he would be stupid enough to try anything physical at this stage as he wants to get his nice compliant posession to come home quietly.
First, op I think your actions in being so clear headed and getting out are inspirational. Well done.
Math, above, has it absolutely right. She has given you the best possible advice. The most crucial thing she says is that this is not a game in which you wait and see how the other player reacts. I have played a game like that with an abusive partner and it is a total waste of time- all it does is prolong the final, inevitable end, and keep you in the fog.
I have never read a wiser post than math has written. Take the initiative. If you still want to keep your marriage, that would have to depend on your dh seriously waking up to himself. If you minimise what he did by not reporting then he won't have to.
It is so hard to shake free of the fog of abuse. Love, loyalty,hope, obligation, expectations, duty, nostalgia, fear etc all keep us in the fog and stop us from doing what is best for us.
My head changed when I read Lundy Bancroft. Your dh, as a buddhist(?!), reminds me of my exdp who was, apparently, a feminist. Bancroft really nails this 'type' ( can't remember what he calls them though, must dust off book!)
Stay strong. You have done the best you could for your ds and yourself.
Ps op I used to find myself managing my exp's emotional state too. He was so upset after he sexually assaulted me. So upset that I had pointed out to him he was sexually abusive that is, not so upset that he had violated me. .
Funny how the bully is the most important victim isn't it?!
Funny how their feelings matter the most.
My ex went through all that. Tears, regret, empty promises. Same stuff he told me last year when I went back. My dd still got kicked off the bed and screamed at before we left for good 3mths ago.
This time I've refused to talk it over with him. Because I don't want him back. You need to live your life for you. Don't take his tears to heart. It's just a ploy. He wants you back as he likes having you to control and he's using every trick in the book now he can sense he's losing his grip on you. Pm me if you want, op.
He called last night sobbing hysterically. Was on the phone for a couple of hours on and off. I found myself managing his emotional state, trying to calm him down. So it is all still about him? Where is the sympathy and support for the woman (and child) he attacked?
This guy has kept you in a state of fear for over 8 years. You back down every time because of his temper.
Do you think he does not know how best to get into your head and make you feel guilty?
He physically assaulted you before. Never took responsibility because he 'blacked out and didn't remember'
He is grumpy.
You walk on egg shells.
You have to justify yourself.
He was jealous and controlling until you gave up your social life. No he is still jealous and controlling you just no longer have a social life for it to be a noticeable issue.
The thing that has changed? He has started all this on your tiny defenseless 3 year old child. That is why you stood up to him.
A couple of nights away from home and full on show stopping hysterical tears are not going to change this. It will just show him that you will back down as usual.
As someone else said on another thread right now you are the dangerous one. You want to believe he is sorry, you want to see him, you think he has/can change. You will start to feel you have over reacted. If you talk to him he will pour more doubt and blame into your head.
You need space and time away from him so that you can clear your head of the last 8 years and more of behavior modification you have made before you can think properly.
Can he change? Yes he can. He has to be the one to do so and well in 2 days...
Well done, well done!
The best thing is to engage with him as little as possible because it will mess with your head. Oh, I know you've stuff to sort our re child contact etc, but either do it through a solicitor or at least by email. Him sobbing down the telephone line and pulling all your strings will make it really hard to think straight (I took phone calls from my ex while in a refuge and very nearly went back to him).
You mention that reporting will mean SS involvement. Don't be fearful of this - I've had this and it was fine. A social worker visited, we had a pleasant chat, she sent a letter saying I was keeping DD safe and there were no concerns. And as others have said, it is very useful to have something on the record if it comes to a child residence dispute down the line. Completely separately, a SW is now looking into DD's welfare during her contact with her father. SS can be powerful allies in this scenario.
Whenever you wobble, think of your DS's face when he screamed with terror at his father pinning him down. Your idea of a "normal" relationship has become skewed. You want to save him from this.
He sounds very upset. Presumably he is offering to report himself to the GMC and to the police so that he can properly take responsibility for what he has done.
The fact that he then sent a chatty 'hey everything is back to normal, for I Have Expressed My Regret And Cried' text is not a brilliant sign, is it? I think your response was excellent, however.
I can understand your desire to see him, and see him in a safe space, i.e. where you need not fear physical reprisals and where you can remove him at any time. I think you do run some emotional risks in doing this so soon, however. You say you won't hide it or keep it a secret. It is obviously in his interests that you do and he may use a face-to-face opportunity to heap on the emotional pressure to ensure that you do. It would probably be a better bet to report him and then have the face-to-face conversation, but I'm not sure you're ready to report him yet.
OP, the posts above are extremely wise.
Can I just point out that he didn't call you and say he realised he needed help, had already booked himself on an anger management course but understood that you should leave him and would make this as easy as possible.
Nope. He phoned you and cried.
He frightened and abused you, you quite rightly left, and he phoned you and cried.
You have to see him as being like a drug you are kicking. You can't see him. You shouldn't even be communicating with him yourself. Not until you have gone cold turkey for long enough to see him for what he is.
You owe it to your child to stay away from this man. Please report him to police. As mathanxiety said, give him back the responsibility for his own actions.
I am afraid for you OP. your mind is not yet clear. Don't let him cloud it again.
One last thing. Please please show this post to your parents.
I know they mean well but they have no experience of DV as you say. They are telling you not to make decisions while you are upset.
But the next stage isn't increased resolve. The next stage is to doubt yourself, to consider letting him back in. You have to withdraw while you can find the strength to do so because you may lose it later.
I know they are trying to help but they should encourage you to report it to police and to speak to a solicitor, not tell you that you are too upset to make decisions.
You have to make them while upset. Once you stop being upset, the survival mechanism of believing its not that bad will kick in and you may not be able to act.
i am so pleased you're out OP.
i think you have to get clear in your head that he has started on ds now. he had a 3yo pinned to the floor and you so knew it was wrong that you finally stood up to him after 8 years of pacifying. you wouldn't have stood up to him if you didn't absolutely know at that moment that he was hurting and scaring your child.
the result of standing up to him was getting yourself knocked over and he still ended up leaving the house with your son in that state.
that tells you that you cannot protect your son from this man - if you try he hurts you and takes your son anyway.
please realise that you responded because your instincts as a mother kicked in. keep those instincts now.
Have just read through the whole thread and really feel for you and your son. It's bad enough burying our own heads in the sand but where kids are involved we have to take action.
You're doing the right thing by not accepting this behaviour from your dh any longer. Your child will already be affected by his actions and you must remember this when he's trying to make you feel sorry for him.
Be strong and surround yourself with people who love you, and be honest with others as to why you have left him.
I can feel the very palpable worry on this thread, Merlot, worry that you'll cave and give in to the understandable desire to make everything go back to normal. Like others, I desperately hope you can keep the strength to make your life and your son's life safe and free of fear.
If he was genuinely aware that he'd done something so very wrong, he would be phoning you to say he was seeking help and taking responsibility, but he didn't. He manipulated you into a situation where you were trying to calm him and make him feel better, for having hurt and frightened the two people who should be most important to him!
Stay strong, Merlot, and don't give in to him.
There's something to be said for going into emotional lockdown for a while. If you let it, your love and your desire for things to return to "normal" can be very powerful and lead you to think, "Well, he's had a shock, he knows I won't stand for it, I'll go back and it will all be better. And if he starts in again, well, this time I'll know for sure and I've leave for good".
It's absolutely classic, and it generally takes women a few attempts to leave an abusive relationship. And leaving doesn't get easier, it gets harder, because you are that much more ground down, that much more confused about what it acceptable behaviour and what isn't, and that much more concerned that you've exhausted the goodwill of those who want to help you.
It really helps if you vow to yourself that you won't go back for 6 months at least. Give him the chance to show that's he really sorry and really changed. A genuine relationship would survive six months apart. To be honest, this is really a tactic for buying yourself time, and I think after 6 months your head would be straight enough to see how damaging the relationship is, how unlikely he is to change, and how much better life is outside it. But it is a journey, and it helps to break it down into manageable steps. Six months seems easier than "that's it, I'm leaving forever!"
^^ this is excellent advice
Aaaahh Merlot -hugs being sent. I can see from your message that you want to believe him, see him and listen to his apologies and hope they are real. I have no doubt that he is sincere and is totally distraught by his actions and I honestly think he believes himself that this will never happen again and this is because he has had the bigget kick up his arse he is ever likely to have. What can be more devastating than losing your wife, your son, the family life you have, the holidays, the friends, the comfort of the home, the normality of a meal and glass of wine together at the end of a hard day at work??? Not to mention the explanation he is going to have to give ...She left because I am a complete prick (doubt it would have that spin but will probably be ammended to "we hadn't been getting on for some time...ect" So yes I do believe every word he says the crux is will that feeling last for him??? Will he retuen to being a moody bully by March?? Would he be prepared to go for counselling together to discuss his moods and the walking on eggshells - always a very good indication of how serious they are, you'll see the look of dread cross his face when you mention it if he's not that comitted. Again only you know how bad your life has been and how it could return to that quite easily, do you want that for you and your son??? I know It's very easy for all of us to give you the advice to leave, report and never look back but we aren't in it.. however, don't get me wrong and before I get lynched the advice everyone has given is the best advice and exactly what you should do but my point is I don't think you'll do it as you have emotions, feelings, memories and a beautiful ds tied up in this and we don't. So my advice if you cant do the above and want to believe him make sure that the kick up the arse he's had is severe enough to last a lifetime or you'll be back on Mumsnet by July and wondering how you can get your parents involved again. I'd also wait a week and see if his outlook changes cos past experience tells me there will be some anger and blame to come your way yet and again this will give you a good indication of if he really is going to change and truly understands how bad his behaviour is. Keep in touch...x
All brilliant advice here ^^ when you've been manipulated by him for 8 years of course it is risky to trust that you won't deprioritise yourself when you see him again, and of course the telephone conversations would put you back into that position, almost like a system which you've been in for so long that you click back into the role.
I am no DV expert but I occasionally weigh in on these threads (when I can face it) because I lost a very well-educated, beautiful, successful, erudite friend of mine to DV. It was only the second time he had attacked her.
Imagine how differently things would have worked out if your head had hit a table corner when he shoved you? Your husband is reckless as to your safety and to the safety of your child. On that basis I think you know that you need to report this to the police: would you ever feel comfortable leaving your child alone with this man? Reporting to the police would also give him access to resources to sort his head out.
I think the 6 months idea is a stroke of genius if you feel unable to make a decision now. In that time as NicknameTaken has said I strongly suspect that he'll show his true colours once more.
it took him 2 days to realise you'd gone? That he'd blown it, that he'd hurt his son and his wife?
Math is right, as are those that say that he used those 2 days to manufacture that hurt, that fake remorse to get you, and the son he pinned to the floor back under his control.
Go for the jugular OP, don't let him anywhere near you OR his son. He is a VERY dangerous man.
Report him. Please?
Learn this phrase and repeat whenever that vile bully speaks to you:
"Talk to the Laywer"
My ex kicked me in the belly while I was PG, he isolated me from life, totally for months at a time, threatened me, pulled my hair out in clumps, held me on the floor and bashed my head on the ceramic tiles, while my ds watched. Never ONCE did he touch our son. Not even close.
Your H is a monster. Please speed reas Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft as a matter of urgency.
We all understand how you are feeling - how you want to make it right, why you want to listen to him, why you want to believe he realises the error of his ways and believe he wont do it again. We understand that it was 8 years ago that he last physically assaulted you and that your brain is saying -- 'Are you really going to leave because of something he's done twice and one time was 8 years ago? - He's sorry, he's upset - he wont do it again'. We understand.
However, we know that's not how it really is
Of course he cried. Of course it's about him. Of course he's signing off xxx - he knows you, he knows what he needs to do and say to win you back.
He will do it again.
He will do it to DS more as he grows, answers back (as all children do!!) and you will have to step in more - risking him attacking you again.
You can't let DS grow up in that environment.
You can't let DS grow up to be his father, to scare his wife and children - your grandchildren.
As much as I wish it weren't true he is NOT the exception to the rule
Read up on it, read the Bancroft book before you agree to meet with him at least.
I'm not sure if I just thought it before or actually posted it - but your parents are lovely. Your Dad's response was great. But - them telling you not to rush into things isn't helping. Of course they don't want you to be hurt, but they also want everything as it was before and your life to be the one you had planned... it is to easy to say 'Oh it was only the once, you aren't hurt. He's sorry - give him a chance' because you want it to be right, you want it to be good - sadly wanting isn't enough
I found myself managing his emotional state
You are a very generous, empathetic, and kind-hearted woman.
How much generosity, empathy, and kindness did he display in that phone call towards you and your feelings?
Happy - I think one of the hardest things is that Merlot doesn't see her H as being like your Ex. We are all pretty sure he will get there, as that is the pattern, but when you love someone it's hard to imagine them turning into a monster like that
What hotDAMN says.
I've remembered the Bancroft thing- 'the victim' and 'mr sensitive' crossed with 'the demand man' was mine. If you're being expected to manage his emotions after HE pushed YOU then yours sounds similar!
Merlot - please re read your OP. Your H said 'I don't work hard all week to come home to this' <parenting??> Your DS is 3, he was being a PITA about putting his coat on <show me a 3 year old that isn't - at least sometimes!> and so your H 'pinned him to the stone floor' - I mean really? Pinned him to the stone floor? (I was brought up in the 70's - I'm not of the namby pamby school of parenting At All) Pinning a 3 year old down to put a coat on is horrible, nasty behaviour - then when your son is scared & sobbing he sends you upstairs so you can't protect your child? <and clearly this isn't something new for you as you said you didn't do it 'this time' you stayed> That is so far from normal
Then he said 'You really don't want to push me right now'... and then assaulted you.
OK - all kids push our buttons and seemingly your DS was having 'one of those days' - but fuck, so what. They all do. The sensible thing to do when they are riling you up is to remove yourself - you were there, he didn't even have to worry about DS, all he had to do was walk out of the house.
He isn't like Happys Ex
But he's on his way there quickly
Beware of that maternal instinct. It was the right instinct when it kicked in to protect your child, and again when you were so moved at the little fellow trying to comfort you (what a total sweetie!). But now
the bastard your H is pulling the little-boy-lost card so you feel all maternal and protective towards him. That's ludicrous and, in the circumstances, highly offensive. The whole incident started with him maltreating a child. How DARE he hijack sympathy that should be for the real child, not the oh-so-damaged can't-help-it ADULT? Pah.
Just wanted to say you are doing brilliantly OP and I wish you all the very best for you and your DS. I am so pleased you have parents who are supporting you and all of Mumsnet too
I was actually saying Chipping that her H is WORSE.
And yes, he WILL escalate. he WILL HURT YOU BOTH AGAIN AND MORE.
No decent person pins down a 3yo, not ever.
I agree with Annie, the maternal instincts are bang on, Merlot. Your need to protect your child has led you both to safety. I worry that your parents are not taking this as seriously as they ought to, the don't make any irreversible decisions thing? Is that the bit about reporting him? Is that what they are referring to? Protecting HIS professional standing over the safety of both their daughter and their grandson. Why is HIS position more important than either or both of you?
He needs to be reported, he really does. The chances of him being brought to book are fairly rare anyway, he will lie through his teeth and do and say everything to discredit you.
Take advice, get yourself informed and educated on your FULL position. THEN think about what FEELS RIGHT AND JUST to do.
Then think and think some more.
There are NO SUCH THINGS as irreversible decisions. You can choose, decide and change your mind about whatever you like, whenever you like.
I'm not setting out to demonise this man, he has done that himself, just that Merlot can't quite get her head around that. I understand, it's a horrible realisation, I remember it well.
Allow your brain to think Merlot, allow yourself to feel. You are safe now, no-one can hurt you. You have a right to be shocked, sad, devastated, appalled, horrified, scared. You have a right to be angry. That will come next.
The saddest thing in the world is to lose someone, you lost the person you thought you knew. You are married to a stranger. You have no idea of what he can and will do to win.
As someone said upthread, this is not a game, and it's not a game that you can ever win. Don't get involved, don't engage and never, ever EVER try to negotiate. There is literally no point, he will NEVER see your position as one he needs to adopt/support or understand.
What you need now is a skipful of BLACK AND WHITE thinking. His behaviour is UNACCEPTABLE. You need to stay away from him until the adrenaline has left your system and your thoughts come more clearly. You need to wean yourself off his addictive power/praise mindfuckery. You need to strip all this back to basics, keep it all really simple. He has overstepped the mark, he has broken a taboo. There IS no going back. You have to assume that he will never change, he doesn't want to, there is nothing in it for him to change.
IF he changed, he would lose control of you, power over you and the right to strike fear into you and your son's heart. No man like this will give up that right. his arrogance is more important than your equality, or that of your son.
I'm sorry, there really IS no resolution that YOU can effect, this is not about you at all, it is ALL him and his choice. You need to leave him to that choice.
In his book, Lundy Bancroft talks about what it takes for an abuser to change.
what are the chances that he will become normal.
What an abuser needs to change is to LOSE EVERYTHING, he needs to lose his family, his parents, siblings, all his friends, his colleagues, every soul that he has ever known needs to communicate with him that his behaviour is so heinous that they will have nothing to do with him. In this case he'd have to lose his livelihood too, as it is central to his ego.
Only then, when he is stripped of all standing, only then, it may cross his mind that perhaps he is on a path that is not entirely correct. He will only then consider that he might have to look into changing.
FWIW, I saw the 'product' of 6m ADAPT course, to prevent DV. I spoke at the conference in the morning. He spoke in the afternoon.
I saw this bloke, a spokesman for the organisation,
show off talk about himself, and his experiences. Not once did he take responsibility for the abuse of his wife and children. He minimised it, blamed her and denied most of his involvement. And HE was the mentor, the shining beacon for other abusive men to learn from. It was all I could do not to cry there and then, but I knew I was being watched by the audience.
His speech was met with silence from the audience. I got applause. <preen>
No-one fell for his BS, and I was utterly depressed and devastated that this was the best that they had. I had hoped that money being spent in trying to help perpetrators (thousands of pounds, £6,000 IIRC, per course *per abuser*) would go some way to stopping this needless violence, upset and harm. But no, I have to sit and see the total waste of all the wonderful SS funding they get per
perpetrator capita, when our charity to provide a free DV support group has to beg, bow and scrape to find the £5,000 a year it costs to run a weekly group.
Apologies for the length. I know you may not be ready for much of this, but I'm trying to help you short cut this stuff a little, because I want you and a gorgeous tiny 3yo to be as safe and happy and free as I am with my now hulking great 7yo.
Please understand that I am happier and healthier than I have ever been in my life, if there is any positive to this, it's that the abuse forced me to look at may aspects of my life and make changes, all of which have transformed my existence into a joyous, happy and wonderful life I literally had no idea could ever be possible.
I want all that for you.
Damash has about summed up where I'm at at the moment. We have talked at length, face to face today. He has (finally) faced up to the severity of this. We have identified where he went off the rails (once upon a time this was a good relationship). He has acknowledged that this isn't a one off event in an otherwise strong marriage, that this was a symptom of a very severely broken marriage, that his rampant ego and anger issues caused him to terrify and hurt his wife and son.
He's frankly a bit hysterical at the moment. I feel icily calm. I've sent him off home. We've agreed that HE has to tell his boss, Occ health, his GP, his mother and his Buddhist teacher, and deal with the consequences. He has to negotiate with work that he'll drop down to a lower pressure, lower status role, and if they won't let him he'll have to resign (if he doesn't get booted out when all this comes to light). We will both get professional advice on parenting.
I'm staying put for he time being. I've told him the truth, that I do love him, but that's not enough to make a relationship work, that the trust and respect have been broken and will take months if not years to repair, if indeed they can be. That I'll never forget what has happened. I'm going to see my GP and also get some counselling myself in order to explore why my boundaries in this relationship are so poor and why I've kept quiet when I should have spoken out before it reached this point.
I do think we may be able to sort this out (cringes in anticipation of flaming), but I'm waiting to see if he follows through on all his promises before I consider going back. If we do get through this, our marriage will be fundamentally changed.
My parents have said they'll always drop everything and come and get me if I need them to. I have done some research in the last 3 days and know that I would be able to provide a comfortable life for me and DS as a single parent. It feels as though the power dynamic has shifted and I feel really strong.
Have had a couple of glasses of Merlot, so apologies for being verbose. Thanks for all your support and advice and my apologies to those of you railing at the computer at my failure to disengage.
To clarify, by 'staying put', I mean I'm staying at my parents house.
I'm very, very glad you are staying at your parents house, Merlot. This is absolutely the right decision.
I find this comment interesting this was a symptom of a very severely broken marriage - were these your words, or his? Why is the marriage to blame for his violence? As he assaulted your son as well, should we also say the family is severely broken?
Or would it be more accurate to say that you, and your son, are the victims of an abuser and that what is severely broken is that person? Why will you be getting professional advice on parenting? It seems to me you have done a fantastic job in the last few days - you have removed your son from the risk of harm. Permanently. That's your job. (Equally your own parents have been fantastic as well).
You are not to blame. This is not a problem for you to solve together. Does he understand why he sought to minimise it when it happened?
Keep looking after yourself and ds first and foremost - and well done on standing your ground. Keep safe, keep talking, think about the Freedom Programme.
Yes I thought damash made excellent points.
Merlot, I hope you can hang on to the 'icy calm' feeling; that strength will be needed, especially once the drama has passed. Dealing with the mundanity of being on your own (despite your parents), your DH's attempts to minimise and justify will require strength and resolve.
I think you're brave and insightful to realise that you need counselling too, as you say, to see where your boundaries were.
Others have recommended the Bundy book. I found this helpful.
You say the power dynamic has shifted and it may have done. But I wouldn't expect DH to meekly fall in with the new regime. Be careful.
Please stay away from him physically and expect this to be long term rather than short.
Establish ground rules for communication. No more of those ridiculous phone calls where you hold his hand... Texts can be used to alert that an email has been sent. Communication can be by email after the alerting text.
Read 'Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men' by Lundy Bancroft.
There is another title 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?' by the same author.
Read the first title mentioned before the second so you will know what you are up against.
Hint -- this isn't about stress at work or his Buddhism needing a little fine tuning.
Get a lot of counselling for yourself. You will know it is working and that you are emerging into the light when you realise you deserve much more than this man and you don't need a relationship with him.
I hate to skip to the end and ruin the story for you but if you do the counselling right this is how the narrative will conclude. It is only at that point that you will be able to make a strong decision about him.
That was my phrase, not his, he had kept saying over the past couple of days what a great team we were, how strong we are together, and amongst many other truths I said today, I pointed out that this sort of thing doesn't happen in good, strong relationships.
He has admitted that he is severely broken and identified some of the likely causes. I have made it clear that this is his problem to fix.
I have been unhappy for months now and been unable to put my finger on it, but I've been aware that I've been snappy and occasionally shouty with DS and that I've felt ashamed of that. For his sake I'd like to learn some more positive ways of dealing with him when he's being a typical difficult 3yr old. I'm gong o look for books/websites on positive parenting (been looking on the boards here for suggestions) an if that doesn't work I'll seek help.
I'm not hiding anything for he sake of my ego or DH's anymore. What matters now is recognising the damage to my DS and putting it right.
I am also worried as Tripbot is by the suggestion that this is about the dynamics of your relationship and the implication that you contributed to it, same goes for the implication that you can help mend it, solve it, fix it, etc.
No progress can be made until your H acknowledges that this was him, alone, and only him, and that he would do this to any woman or children who had the misfortune to be involved with him. In other words, he is the one with the problem.
Regarding counselling, would Relate be useful for me as an individual, or should I really be looking at specialist DV counselling?
Merlot your reactions to your ds being a typical 3-year old may have been fear about what your DH might do in response. Go easy on yourself and see if things improve now you're free of the fear. Be kind to yourself.
amongst many other truths I said today, I pointed out that this sort of thing doesn't happen in good, strong relationships.
It doesn't happen in strong relationships because when a relationship involves a man who has it in him to do something like this it can't ever be strong or function well. I think you have attached the wrong cart to the horse.
There is no context to this in the sense that it happened because the relationship hadn't been all that it could be. The relationship that you wanted has been DOA because he has been seeking and getting something out of it that isn't what normal people seek from a relationship. He is in it for the power trip.
Specialist DV counselling. The best you can get. Forget Relate.
He has acknowledged that math, but as I say it's early days and he's still pretty hysterical, so I'm reserving judgement.
He's always talked a good game, I'm going to wait and see if he follows through. In the meantime I need to acknowledge that I've been enabling him and do what it takes to make sure I never fall back into those behaviour patterns.
Cross-posted, was replying to 23:04:02 post.
Beware of the mea culpas, breast beating, etc. He hasn't done any work with a therapist yet and it is early days as you rightly point out. Remember the cycle of abuse and that you and he are both still caught up in it. You seem to know him well.
To add to the Bancroft book list, I would add When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
I posted on here for the first time in June, 2012. My ex has been more violent than a shove. But I still felt that what he said was true, that it was me. I woke up on Jan, when he did worse in front of the kids. In June i found out he was having an affair, just to top it off. However, i found strength, I got my decree absolute back in Sept 2012 and the house is mine and my beautiful children are living with me, and see him once a week. SOooooooo much better off without him. And that kind of behaviour, in my opinion, does escalate over the years. All the best, do what feels right, when you have enough strength you will know what to do. x
What math said, they can put on Oscar-worthy performances.
I remember my ex sobbing, literally on the floor, wrapping himself around my leg like a toddler. It was a pathetic sight, and I say pathetic without any hint of empathy because a week before that, he had raped me (and then threatened to kill me). After his tears, he stalked and financially blackmailed me, so he obviously got over his upset.
Words and tears in the end are bullshit. I'm fairly certain once you've allowed some time to pass, realise you are worth more than this, you will move onwards and upwards. Abusers changing is like finding a needle in a haystack, and perhaps there's a tiny minority that can, but in all honesty, don't think anyone who has been subject to their abuse needs to take that risk in taking them back.
Besides this, you are doing really well Merlot, as I can attest, when you move away from a life of fear, it gets so much better.
ok - you have a list of things he's said he'll do that you feel you need to see him do. stick to it! no excuses. he's agreed to all this at the you're very strong and he's well out in the cold stage so see if it actually happens and remember he agreed to it. any wriggling out of it is showing that he didn't really agree/take responsibility/think it was serious but was just saying whatever you wanted to hear.
i would really recommend you add a time limit to this as others suggested before - re: you will need 6months of seeing he has changed, is respecting your boundaries and doing everything he said he would.
if you really want him after having that time and if he does actually do all he says and sticks to it etc then you will go back if you still want to. on the other hand 6 months is a lot of time for your healing, confidence growth and journey and you may not be willing to go back after that time. having a time buffer is a great idea imo.
you will also get to see if he does really acknowledge how serious this is by how he reacts to that 6month line - if he kicks off about it and tries to say it's unnecessary well then you know.
i also agree you don't really need parenting classes or the like - the living in fear will have been what has done it. that normal three year old behaviour will have been stressful for you given how you've been controlling your own behaviour and trying not to trigger his rage for years. without the fear and with acknowledging how you've been living and how that has impacted on your feelings about ds's behaviour i'm sure that will naturally resolve
unless you go back sorry
Agree with the above. I had started to think that I had a problem with my temper as my dd had started asking why I was angry all the time.
Nothing has made me remotely angry since we left. I was just so stressed trying to keep the peace at home all the time/try and cover all bases to stop him kicking off.
I fear that you are listening to him make all these promises/taking joint responsibility in the hope that he will change.
Please prioritise your safety and that of your ds. He can't change this quickly (if at all) and by going back you would be sending a clear message about what you will tolerate.
Has he even apologised? Or just made excuses? Stress is how my ex has explained it, like that made it acceptable.
this is the thing isn't it? i get stressed, i also suffer with depression and horrible anxiety at points in my life BUT it has never made me hit, push, pin anyone - child or otherwise. i've also taken class a drugs in my younger years - they never changed me into a monster either. i've done very stressful jobs and been through hugely stressful life events - still never hit/pushed/pinned down anyone. oh and i had a bit of tough childhood - my mum was pretty abusive yet STILL never hit, bullied, frightened the ones i love.
when he starts identifying 'causes' stop and think about this. plenty of people will have had those experiences and triggers without becoming someone who bullies and hits out at their family. so be very wary of any rationalisation on his part linking it to life events/stress/past etc. unless they include admitting that he has chosen to manipulate, bully and scare you, that he knew he was doing it and he did it anyway. he needs to also acknowledge how he looks at women (particularly in the role of 'wife') and what he believes his entitlements are as a husband - does he think he owns you? that you should be all about making his life good and essentially being/doing/feeling/saying what he wants?
there's a lot to dig into and there are a LOT of false leads and bs to blame things on. you'll know when/if he is actually acknowledging the crux of it rather than the peripherals and excuses.
Remember that most abusers promise to change, some even mean it! And things do change for a while, but the majority slip back into their old ways eventually. I'm not saying that yours WILL slip back (assuming he manages to change at all), just that you need to be wary and leave things a lot longer than you might have thought.
As they say with alcoholics, unless an abuser accepts that he is one, genuinely wants to change and willingly seeks help then there is nothing anyone can do to change them. I'm afraid an awful lot of men do go to the classes & counselling, but unless they really honestly admit that what they did was wrong with NO excuses then they are just going through the motions. They can learn how to hide their inclinations and say all the right things so they appear to be "cured", and all the time the feelings that they want to abuse and have the right to are still there under the surface, waiting to come out again once their victim is back in their control and they have started to condition them again.
I disagree on giving him a time limit. Any basic abuser can pretend to be a human being for 6m.
You'll never trust him again.
He has to change for himself, and so as not to lose the respect of his son. That's the end of your need for involvement in his problems.
Actions, not words/tears. He needs to put his money where his mouth is
before the CSA take it
How are you Merlot? Been thinking about you.
I'm calmer, the adrenaline has worn off. I had a day off yesterday. Told DH I didn't want to speak to him all day. Had a run, the spent the afternoon on the beach with DS.
Spoke to DH this morning. He's spoken to his GP and told all. He apparently has severe burnout from work, which, thinking about it, does make sense. He's spoken to his boss and occ health and agreed to a much lower status, less stressful job with fewer hours. He's off on the sick for now. He's told a couple of his close friends and his mum, all of whom have apparently said that they've felt things weren't right between us for a long while.
I've made no promises. He's desperate to try again, but I feel ambivalent and numb and as though I can't trust my own judgement at the moment. He's said I should take as much space as I need and he will understand if I feel I can't ever come back.
Going out for a walk now. Will check in later. Thanks x
What exactly did he tell his close friends and mum that made them say they felt things weren't right with you for a long while?
That you are having a temporary separation and are trying to fix your marriage as you haven't been getting on? Or that he has been undermining you, controlling you through fear of his anger for over 8 years and has turned aggressive to you and your DS?
That is a little different to things not being right between you!
so his actions so far have seen him being felt sorry for and told poor you you're all burnt out have some time off?
he's determined to be the poor victim in this and good at getting others to cast him as it and treat him as such.
he hurt his wife and child and scared the shit out of them. i'm not feeling he's a poor ickle victim of stress personally.
please look at what he's done and how classically he's turned himself into the victim and made this all about him.
has he been asking about your son? whether he's ok? whether he is really frightened? whether he's hurt from being pinned on a stone floor?
is he asking how you are feeling? what you need? whether you want to see a therapist yourself? whether you need some time off?
or is it all.about.him?
Fine, I get that he may be stressed and that it leads him to be angry. Thats a maladaptive response that he has learned somewhere in his life. And, I'd even go so far as to say that its OK for him to feel and be angry.
Angry is good. As long as it's used properly.
None of the above makes it OK for him to lash out at/blame/try to control his ''nearest and dearest''.
I doubt he can acknowledge that. It takes a lot of personal honesty and bravery to understand that and I doubt he has fallen over those attributes in the last few days.
No. As he cant be in the power over position, he's moving to the victim position. Classic.
Be very wary for yourself and your DS. I admire your strength and insight so far.
Absolutely classic. I hope you have taken it upon yourself to tell his family and friends exactly what he did and what has been going on.
Denial, minimisation and blame.
Bet he's lying about family and friends chats too.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, you can tell everyone YOUR story.
Burn out my arse, he abused his child, and then you. Took him 2 days to concoct the first shower of lies, and all of yesterday to concoct that lot of BS.
It's not good enough. You will never ever trust him again.
So the reason he's been
an abusive twunt grumpy and you've had to walk on eggshells around him is that he's been burned out for the past 8 years?
As a certain Mr Royle would say, 'burned out, my arse'.
He's acquired a copy of the
same old hackneyed script they all read from. Now, <scratches chin> mmm, what comes next? Oh yes. It's usually some blatant or veiled threat of self-harm to which you're best advised to respond by offering to provide a length of rope, a packet of razor blades, and 200 paracetamol - although you may have something to hand that's guaranteed to do the biz more effective than the latter.
CAUGHT out more like!
Whilst it is imperative that certain people in RL are told what has been happening, the danger then is that they have/give an opinion, often with no knowledge of DV or MH issues. Labels are attached, reasons floated, excuses made. Sorted. Even the GP was a bit quick with his burn out theory.
I was a little concerned when you wrote "We have identified where he went off the rails". Only months/years of therapy, with complete, brutal honesty and determination from your H, will achieve that. I doubt that he has been totally honest with those he has spoken to since you left.
Your role now is to leave it all to him. Monitor his actions, but from a safe distance. See what life can be like with just you and your little one. I think you will find that your parenting will be absolutely fine, without having to do the "eggshell walk".
Find an experienced Counsellor, through BACP, not necessarily solely DV orientated. A good Person-Centred Counsellor will help you work through ALL the issues that have been impacting on your life, and enable you to make informed choices. I wish you well Merlot.
Have been following this thread with interest. One thing I'll venture you shouldn't do, OP, is tell him that you love him, even if that's the case. While you're telling him that he'll always know he has a foot in the door and power over you. He has to think he might lose you completely, but even then I don't fancy your chances of achieving happiness with this guy. I would be tempted to make a clean break if I was you, then you can both, after you've mourned the relationship, have a fresh start with other people.
Are these a users privy to some secret instant messaging club? Absolutely classic, the script.
My abusive ex went along the lines of identifying himself as a victim at first, he failed to mention what actually happened to ooh, everyone and then sent me a long pitying email of what supposedly went wrong and how he would understand [tiny violin] if I didn't want to give things another go.
Upon remaining stoic, came the suicide threats. He turned very nasty after that.
Please remember OP, that despite the lines he may be spinning his superiors at work and his family, he knows that you have 'outed' him and what happened to your family, that puts you at a lot of risk if you were to consider going back to him. I cross everything that you won't.
Stay strong, you're doing so well x
YY Turnipcake, my ex followed exactly the same script. I fell for it when I left last year and returned. I haven't this time. 3mths since I left next weekend.
Was he burned out 8 years ago when he assaulted you? Has he been burned out for the past 8 years when he's made you tiptoe round him in case you set him off again?
Take all reports about his GP, friends and family's assessment of his 'condition' and your relationship with a ping of salt. They're all based on his reporting of the situation and his behaviour. And quite frankly he could tell you they said anything. And since when was a GP qualified to diagnose why he abused you and your son?
Burned out --
And yet the people he took a swing at were just you and his own little DS. Not the milkman or the postman or his receptionist or a taxi driver. He didn't drive over to his mother's house and belt her, or his close friends. Burned out means surely that every relationship he had would suffer, and that every single person he encountered would be at equal risk of a black eye?
Maybe you see what I'm driving at here?
He did something to you, specifically and to your little son that he thought he could get away with and in the context of a relationship where the thing he seems to be getting out of it is the unchallenged opportunity to dominate you. The other relationships he has and the random encounters with others do not give him that opportunity.
Of course he is bereft. He has no punchbag any more. It grew legs and a backbone and escaped from his reach.
TurnipCake, mine too.
Merlot, SwallowedaFly's posts are spot on.
You are dealing with a very cunning man indeed.
He is probably delighted with his success so far. All those family members and close friends, and a doctor, feeling sorry for him. Most likely not a single one of them has been told the truth.
Please don't fall for this tired old script, OP. Read the amount of people who have been told exactly the same thing. We are all desperate for you to not fall into the same trap of wanting to believe the best in someone. If you can't stay away for your own sake, stay away for the sake of your ds. He will get to see you thrive in an environment where you can live as YOU want to and will be infinitely more happy as a result. My dc certainly are. I feel like a different person.
It's hard to believe us over and above the man you've loved for years and had a child with. Of course you want to believe and trust him.
Can you just suspend judgement for a while? Lundy Bancroft has a lot of good advice about how to tell if he has really changed. But you need to stay away from him for months and months and months to see if he suits his deeds to his words. You need to look hard to see whether his sorrow is really about the suffering caused to you and your son or whether his pity is all reserved for himself (which, to an outsider, is what it looks like).
Stay away, go to counselling, write up a diary of all the bad things you can remember that he's done, read up about DV (especially the Lundy Bancroft books). Don't think about setting foot in the same household as him for six months - this is a common guideline given where men are attending DV programmes.
As ThereGoes says - you don't know what he told the GP, and you don't know what the GP told him (other than his own report of it), and there is no reason to believe his GP has any expertise in DV. It would be a very shaky foundation to think he has really started the turn the situation around.
*Merlot*. My DH and I have been together for 25 years. We have had ups and downs and have toughed out a few tough times. I get flamed on here for saying relationships need compromise and understanding and forgiveness.
25 years ago I knew if a man laid a finger on you it meant curtains. 25 years later I think the same rule applies.
You are young OP, you are clever and you have a child to keep safe. You also have a very young child and the sooner you get both of you out of this the better. With every year your boy will nbe older, will have more understanding and be more invested in having two parents. It will get harder and harder for you to leave and next time you are assaulted yiur boy will understand more yet be more aware of his father's departure.
My children are older teenagers. Some of their friends have been through this as younger teenagers. Half of them are off the rails and pretty messed up.
I think you need to start over and build a new safe life for you both, now xxxxxx
Merlot. I have recently suffered burnout.
I have not assaulted my partner.
Please don't fall for this.
OP, I realise you're treading a painful and complex path, and of course you want things to be OK. But one concern I've got is the extent to which he's trying to make this into a situational thing (ie work stress made me do it) rather than a dispositional thing. Yes he's trying to reduce work stress, but what about other types of stress that might arise in his life? How is his approach going to prevent him from lashing out in response to those? For example what if he has to care for a sick parent in the future? Or faces a serious illness himself? He needs to address his dispositional tendency to physically lash out, at least as much as he needs to address the current sources of stress in his life.
Wishing you strength and support for the coming weeks and months. By taking your son out of that situation you've prevented him from picking up the message that the way to solve disagreements is with your fists.
Odd that, isn't it, jess.
There've been numerous occasions when I've been burned out during my life. Given some of my experiences, I've almost come to see myself as a walking wounded PTSD case.
Yet I've never come close to taking it out on my nearest and dearest, or any hapless stranger* that crossed my path when I was feeling particularly fraught with the need to spin plates while keeping umpteen balls in the air.
*except for the misguided twunt who tried to mug me.
I think what is coming through here is that people react differently to stressors, some people get violent, some get withdrawn, some fall apart etc.
The problem is that if your H is the kind to get violent when he's burned out, he's the kind to get violent with any stressors, it's just his reaction to stress. And once his mind has discovered (even subconciously) that he can react in this stress relieving way then he will be more likely to do it again and for less reason.
OK so this time he was burned out in comparatively extreme circumstances, but next time it will be in slightly less extreme circumstances, and less the time after, until it gets to the stage where he will act violently at the slightest provocation.
Hmm...I don't think it is black and white.
A shove once every 8 years is not a pattern of domestic abuse, IMO. The bigger issue is your walking on eggshells.
I think you are very angry, and righly so. He seems to be reflecting and willing to change.
Give things time without rushing into a decision one way or the other
I agree *flatbread*. The last eight years don't sound very happy and if the OP hadn't managed his behaviour as well as she has, (all credit to her) there might have been a lot more pushing and shoving. Also, her son is only 2 and he had him pinned down. An environment were mum treads on eggshells to keep day calm is not an environment for a two year old, ...or a 3 year old, ....or a 4 year old, ..... or a . What lessons does that teach the next generation about healthy relationships.
married, I thought dh pinned down his son to put him into his coat because he was wriggling and resisting. Children cry often when they are made to do things they don't want to. I wouldn't call that abusing his son, necessarily.
I think the eggshells thing can be resolved. It will require dh to be very honest with himself and make the attempt to change, and for op to stand-up and speak her mind.
But it could well be that op has had enough and wants out.
It is too early yet, and perhaps best not to make a decision one way or the other.
Flatbread I think what many here are getting at is that her H has NOT been honest with himself but is blaming all his behaviour both past & present on his recent diagnosis of being "burned out".
The burned out thing has been recent only, the grumpiness & walking on eggshells has been going on for years.
Flatbread if the OP was not happy with the level of force the father was using, she was right to step in and stop him.
Have you ever, really, in your heart of hearts, found it productive to physically manhandle an unwilling child into a coat?
"DS was being difficult about getting his coat on and DH was acting as though his temper was getting strained. He muttered 'I don't work hard all week to come home to this!' And then pinned DS on the stone floor and wrestled him into his coat. DS was sobbing and I wanted to comfort him, bu DH snarled t me to go upstairs and let him get on with it. I would normally retreat at this point so as not to provoke him, but today I decided not to and stood my ground.
Have you read the OP to see what happened when merlot found the courage to stand up to her h and speak her mind flatbread?
Putting a coat on a reluctant and struggling child is an event many parents encounter on a daily basis.
Pinning a child to a stone floor to put its coat on is child abuse.
Physically assaulting the child's mother because she had the temerity to want to comfort her sobbing child is domestic violence.
HTH you to tell black from white.
Sorry I disagree that this is child abuse and domestic violence.
I do think that it is an unhappy marriage. And hysterical talk detracts from the real issues that are nuanced and more about respect, letting go, equality etc.
It may well be that dh hides and never faces up to his controlling tendencies. Or it may be that he makes an attempt to change and with a new awareness, they both make a go of it.
I have never cried before at any of the sad things I've read on MN. But this brought tears to my eyes:
"DS was upset and brought me his muslin and dummy"
This poor little lad deserves better than that shit for a father.
It seems there is some ground we can agree on, flatbread.
Merlot will regain her self-respect when she tells her h to go so that she is free to form a relationship with a non-abusive male in which she can experience true equality.
There is some real hysteria on this thread. Child abuse?! What does "pinning" to the floor mean or "snarling"? I think those are both sexist emotive terms, a bit like "she shrieked at me" rather than "she said". His version would probably involve telling her to mind her own business while he calmly made his 3 year old dress appropriately for the weather. Most parents have forced 3 year olds to wear clothes they don't want to at some point and that means somehow physically forcing them to wear them. If I did not insist, my 3 year old would always wear a spider man t shirt and nothing else in winter (as I actually let him yesterday and he would not put a coat on, even in the park. Luckily it was mild). Personally, I would tend to force him by sitting him on my knee in a firm grip and putting the head over his head and then arm by arm into the arm holes, but let's not pretend, it is physically forcing a toddler to do something they are not in favour of, for their own good. And, of course they cry. It is not pain or distress, it is frustration at not getting their own way. It is nearly always forgotten 2 minutes later when they are out having fun.
The OP then undermined her husband's parenting by intervening and getting in his face. Again, there is no excuse for being physical but it was a shove, not a hit. I can imagine the sympathy for any woman who shoved a man while he was undermining her parenting by suggesting she was so incompetent a parent that "she should go out by herself to clear her head" merely because she was dealing with a toddler tantrum. I suspect that would be termed "gaslighting" on these boards. His head seemed perfectly clear, he wanted his 3 year old to put his coat on and go out for a walk.
There is no excuse for being physical, ever, but two incidents in 8 years (one of which was not fully described) and one being a shove...hmmm, I can imagine the shape of a board which started "my husband just undermined my parenting by physically standing over me and refusing to allow me to take my three year old out and I shoved him in frustration".
I tend to agree with Flatbread here. He is on a short fuse and stressed and thus not really dealing with his son or wife with a decent amount of respect or patience. He definitely needs to get a grip.OTOH, it does not sound like the OP really likes him very much or respects him as a co parent. Maybe that also should be addressed. I think Flatbread is absolutely right when she talks of an unhappy marriage and nuanced issues (and she has highlighted several of them).
I can honestly say that I've never manhandled my DS to put clothing on at 2,3,4,5....
Larry, what you describe doing to your child is CRUEL. The child is crying as a result of that. Hang your head in shame over not only bullying a small child, but for being a DV apologist.
OP has stated clearly on this thread that we've followed from the outset, that in the past she's always backed down, but this time didn't as it had crossed a line.
She knows her dynamic, you have NO right to tell her to suck it up, or that she's lying, or that her H had a right to shove her through a door, which is what your ridiculous post does. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, and I think your 'contribution' to threads such as these ought to be limited.
His actions following the incident are consistent with her version of events. A normal man would be immediately remorseful, horrified and desperate to correct the situation. Not brood for 2 days, then blame everything else under the sun, rather than himself.
No excuse. Ever.
Merlot, I believe you.
Sexist and emotive terms? She got in his face? A shove isn't the same as hitting? OP doesn't respect him as a co-parent?
No, I just can't.
I was you three years ago. My ExP only got arrested for DV after countless escalations and incidents earlier this week. I promise it will escalate as it did for me - there's no such thing as once or twice. He will get more confident when you do nothing or take him back.
Sorry I haven't had time to read the full thread but I wanted to post and say for you to stay strong because you deserve more
If what I do is cruel, I have seen virtually every single mother I know do exactly the same. Of course, I often do allow him to just get cold when he says he wants to be cold. On the other hand, I am not going to be dictated to over what clothes a 3 year old wears or allow him to go out severely underdressed when it is - degrees outside. As to "bullying", I love this term when applied between parents and children, as if it is a relationship of equals and as if the purpose of what I am doing is to harm him when it is the polar opposite. I don't know what people get out of hurling those kinds of terms at loving parents. I somehow bet you are not so brave when you are out and see a mother forcing a temper tantrumming toddler into a coat. I suspect you give her a big empathetic grin and save your bile for the anonymous internet.
My contribution to threads such as "these" is limited. Please find my last post on one....hmm, maybe a few months ago. Unlike you, I don't regard myself as an expert and have no experience of the subject. However, personal experience of being sick does not make you a doctor, nor does reading one popular textbook on alternative therapy.
Thank you, you've all hit the nail on the head, particularly Freudian and Allergic. I'm bloody furious this morning. Started reading Lundy Bancroft last night and even though most of it doesn't apply to him, the few bits that do apply ring very true.
I do think he's been severely burned out and under a lot of stress. I do believe that he's really sorry and wants to change. He's already done a lot to address the work situation and his other outside commitments. He says he's made a lot of painful realisations about his character and his reactions to situations and recognises how wrong it is that he lashed out at me and DS yet was able to control himself at work.
I want to be able to believe him and trust him but I can't at the moment. I have made it clear to him that he could be the world's best husband from here on in and I might still not be able to get past this. The thing is that he keeps saying that I can trust him to never do this again, and I do believe he means it here and now, but it's not that simple. If I do decide to try again with him, I can't get around the fact that I'd be trusting him to ensure mine and DS's physical and emotional safety, and that's a hell of a thing to have to take on trust!
Don't feel I'm really expressing his very clearly. Very churned up this morning .
larry rather than physically force clothes/coat etc on dd I found other ways. If she refused to wear her coat, she went without, and very quickly learnt the consequence -halfway down the road she begged for her coat because she was cold. Far better way to learn. My friend just the other day told me when her 4 yo refused to put his shoes on they went to the car, in freezing cold and wet weather, with his socks on. He's never refused again since.
Under 2yo when doing anything like putting nappy on , getting dressed etc was a battle, i created a sticker chart with a choc at end of day if she got all her stickers, worked wonders. Transformed our relationship.
anyway OP's context is an entirely different kettle of fish - how anyone can say it is not DV i have no idea.
larry x posts -why the mention of single mothers????
I was a single mother fwiw.
Talk is cheap, Merlot. He can't claim that you can trust him to never to do that again because he doesn't know that, it's a process that can take years. Lundy Bancroft goes into some detail about his later in his book.
At the moment you need time and space to process your emotions. Is it appropriate for him to have such regular contact with you, if that's the case? My ex had no respect for my requests for space, another boundary crossed.
Oh, cross-posted with half the world it seems.
To clarify: of course DH and I have both got DS into clothes when he didn't want to before. The difference this time was the intensity and anger rather than just being a bit annoyed, and the fact that he was on the stone floor in the kitchen rather than carrying him brought to the soft rug in the hallway, which is what we would normally do if we have to wrangle DS into outdoor clothes. Of course DS might cry a bit at having to do something he doesn't want to, but there was a difference this time in the pitch of his cry, he sounded frightened rather than annoyed.
I wasn't 'in his face', I was a good 10 feet away,stood in he opposite doorway to the one I was going out of.
I have never seen DH react physically in anger to DS before, or I would have stepped in. When I say I would normally back off, I mean when DH is in that bad a mood, he normally stomps about and picks arguments about trivial things and I placate him a bit until he recognises his own mood and goes off to meditate to clear his head. Over the past 3-4 years it's gradually built up to the point that much of his time at home is spent in the spare room meditating, whilst I deal with everything else! He has actually acknowledged this in the past few days.
I actually normally do exactly what you suggest, at least when it comes to outerwear. But I would draw the line at allowing a 4 year old to walk bare footed on freezing stone. That, to my mind, is actually cruel. The thing is, as an adult, you do know the consequences of their decisions, but they don't. It has somehow become popular to believe that it is kinder to allow a child to get really really cold (and I never force in mild weather) than to force appropriate clothing on. Would you let a child scald themselves rather than restrain them from touching a stove? Silly question but to me they are similar.
Where did I mention "single mothers"? I don't think I did.
Sorry, daft iPad! I was standing in the opposite doorway to the one he was going out of.
Oh, and actually Larry, I agree with you about the no letting them get soaking and old in order to teach a lesson about coats, when there won't be an opportunity to get them warm and dry straight away. I also agree there's a difference between a hit and a shove - if he'd hit me I'd have had no further contact and would he called the police.
That's the problem at the moment, it doesn't feel clear cut. He has been completely honest with his mum and friends (they've been calling to see how I am and I've asked what he's told them and it's been pretty much identical to my version of events). I do feel he really wants to change and he is giving me space when I want it, it's just that I also feel the need to communicate how I'm feeling and listen to his reactions.
What would be your ideal resolution? A divorce, joint counselling, counselling just for him and a "trial" period? Ultimately, it is up to you. Do you think your husband is a decent parent or at least could be?
Has he reported himself to the GMC?
Just to clarify.
He shoved you through the doorway, into the next room, and onto the floor. Then told you it was your fault and you deserved it. Then denied saying you deserved it. (That is gaslighting).
These actions take sustained intent, and a degree of malice. It's more than a sudden burst of temper.
He also took 1.5 days to demonstrate any form of remorse.
Those are the facts.... and it's as bad as being hit, or worse. I'm sorry.
Moreover, very few, if any DV incidents are isolated incidents: they happen in a context of other aggression, as you have described. And it's the cause of the aggression that is the real problem.
But it's so hard to find a way to a solution when you are on the receiving end: and easy to minimise.
All you can do is seek help, and be honest with yourself, as you're doing.
I don't know Larry, I just don't know. I think I have a plan, then the kaleidoscope in my head turns again and I'm back to square one .
I do think he has it in him to be a good parent, and I hope that whatever happens between us, he is able to heal himself so that he can have a great relationship with DS.
I'm not sure a stated 'trial period' would help as we could easily get through 6 months or however long, then something happens to cause him stress and it all starts again - I can hardly ask for a 10 year trial period!
I think I have a plan, then the kaleidoscope in my head turns again and I'm back to square one .
This why you need some time and space away from him. So you can clear your head and decide what you want.
Everytime you meet or talk to him he is going to feed you tidbits about how he has changed and the part of you that loves and married this man is going to want to believe that and trust him.
If he is serious he will give you this rather than keep crowding you.
"I somehow bet you are not so brave when you are out"
Actually, I am. I've taken abusive mothers to task in the past, more than once. When someone crosses a line. Someone has to say something.
I was in a DV relationship, I wasn't as good a parent as I ought to have been at that time, but there were serious consequences for me and my child if Ex was disturbed. There are things I'm not proud of, but when you know better, you do better. I NEVER pinned my child down.
My ex was occasionally violent too. But most of the time it's when you push the boundary, don't back down and make a stand. Otherwise the threat alone of the consequences is enough.
Manhandling a child in the way you describe doing sounds traumatic, and as with ALL relationships, there is NO excuse for physical force.
You exert your will over someone smaller than you, with less knowledge of what's what and that's OK is it? As for anonymity, would you admit this stuff to those that know you? Aren't YOU hiding behind the internet to brag about manhandling a toddler?
I too have no idea what Single parents have to do with your post. Are you saying that if there were 2 of you, one would pin the child down while the other gets the coat on?
There's ALWAYS another way Larry. I stand by everything I said.
There's a mismatch, isn't there? For me, the most shocking thing was the shove (closely followed by the 'gas lighting'), but for him, the most shocking thing, the thing that caused him to really look at this properly, was coming home to find that I'd moved out.
I'm not a complete doormat, I have tried to raise the issue of his stress, workaholic tendencies, over-involvement in his parent's happiness, lack of focus on DS and I before, and he brushed them off. It took coming home to a dark house empty of DS and my personal belongings, to make him realise the problems.
I don't ever want to go through this again and I simply can't put DS through this again, but at the same time, if he can genuinely be the man he says he wants to be, we could be really good together again.
Not only would I "admit" it, I would do it in front of everyone I know as they would do it in front of me. And it is funny that both my children ask for me to dress them. I am sure you will have some (bogus) reverse psychology explanation for this but the reality is that I am gentle but also firm and efficient. I explain why they need to be dressed, allow some (limited) negotiation about what they wear and then dress them. Children like to have boundaries drawn and luckily I have enough sensible rl support to confidently reject modernist bilge about a parent/child relationship being the same as an adult/adult relationship.
Frankly, given your admission of being a less than perfect parent yourself, I do not know where you get the arrogance to correct other "abusive" parents from. I am sure that you are a struggling parent's nightmare on what is probably already a stressful day. Children need real parents, not ideal parents.
Once again, I did not mention single parents! I think someone is a little over sensitive. I said every single mother where "every single" is a compound adjective, just a stronger version of "every". If I said every single person knows that, would you take it as prejudice against coupled?!
Honestly OP. Has he ever the been the man he says he wants to be? The past is the biggest indicator of what he will be like in the future.
Yes, exactly Merlot......He wasn't shocked by what he'd done. I think he was shocked that it mattered to you, and that you might publicly expose him. This is why it took so long to see the demonstration of remorse.
To clarify again, the cause of aggression in DV is not stress, but a sense of entitlement. The 3 circles diagram in Bancroft's book is very telling.
Merlot, the reason I suggested that you find an experienced "all round" Counsellor, as opposed to one who is solely DV orientated, is because I feel that what happened recently is just the tip of the iceberg, in your relationship. Horrendous though the incident was, DV isn`t the entire issue here. You seem to be actually facing up to many other things that have caused you anxiety. The lack of interest in your son, the over interest in his parents. You mention a huge ego, and arrogance. All things which need to be looked at, in relation to how they affect you and your son, on a daily basis. You need time - lots of time - to process your entire relationship, with an expert. Obviously the recent horrendous episode, and it`s devastating effect causing you to leave, will be top of the list. I feel that yours and your H`s experiences with therapy should now be kept entirely separate, and not discussed with each other. Your H is/has been the cause of all your anxiety. He should not be the one that you are discussing it with, to try to find the way forward.
Just a flying visit to say -apologies, larry I misread your mention of 'single mother'.
The boy who had to go out without his shoes on - he had socks on so not bare feet, and it was only across the car park to the car, to go home. He hasn't done it since, all she has to say is "Remember when you didn't put them on? You'll get wet and cold feet again." and he says "oh yeah" and puts them on.
Similarly, when i was giving up and going out with dd without her coat on, I still brought it with us (or, when she was older, made her carry it) and halfway down the street she'd ask for it on because she was cold, I wasn't making her suffer in the cold for ages, sort of thing.
I do get what you're saying about frustrated parents wrestling little kids into their clothes, done it myself, but this scenario sounds very different.
I haven't read subsequent posts properly so will return when i have more time.
Merlot. You're right about the mis-match. It's almost like he is blind to the effect of his actions on you and DS but very alert to the implications for him if his DW has left.
I said it earlier. The power triangle was an eye-opener to me. I married a man who had a respectable position (think GP/solicitor thing) and who seemed to know all and sundry. Very amenable outdoors. Very solicitous to his parents, never having detached from them properly. Very generous in public. Indoors, I walked on egg-shells as he was 'under stress'.
I let it go further than you (take note Larry....its a continuum, that leads to bad places).
My STBXH will veer from admitting to all his errors almost to the point of crying to me, back to shouting and haranging me in front of our children.
If he can genuinely be the man he says he wants to be
That's the million pound question. Nothing you do will help to make that change or prevent him from making it. It is entirely his choice.
If he does have enough insight, and genuinely decides to change, it will be a hard road for him. He will fail on the way. He will have to pick himself up and start again.
The prize is that he gets to live fulltime with his DS and, more importantly, be an exemplary role model to him.
Just wanted to say that I'm reading all your posts and considering them and finding hem helpful. I'm also reading Lundy Bancroft and intermittently sobbing into my merlot!
I feel utterly wrung out and exhausted. Not just from the past few days but from the past few years. I feel deeply relieved that, whatever happens, my life need never be like that again.
marriedinwhite, I can remember times when he has been considerate and loving and pulled his weight, but they're interspersed by times of intense selfishness and egocentricity in the name of his career (never mind that I'm actually better qualified than him and managed to achieve all that without making a fuss and whilst supporting him!). It's been almost 5 years since he started studying for the last lot of exams and there hasn't been any let up since, if anything it got worse over time.
I think I want to give him an opportunity to put this right and I think he has it in him to do it. But I also need to give myself permission to walk away without guilt if I find at any point that he's slipping and won't correct it, or if I decide that he's not improving fast enough for DS's well being, or if I just find that I've had enough and can't get over any of this.
autumn, you're right. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm going to see the GP, but will probably access counselling through work as they're renowned for providing excellent counsellors.
Larry, as usual on threads where domestic violence is the issue, your posts are monumentally unhelpful.
'There is no excuse for being physical, ever, but ...'
Larrygrylls, You are nothing but a domestic violence apologist and your posts here are appalling.
Even for you, these posts here represent a new low.
Flathead, women walk on eggshells because they have been hit once or twice.
Trying to separate an occasional hit from living in fear is an exercise in futility, and worse, it is an exercise on your part of domestic violence denial.
Don't know why you are being so aggressive. You can agree to disagree without being disagreeable, you know.
I think women walk on eggshells for multiple reasons. It could be a simple dislike of any unpleasantness or a tense atmosphere to actually fearing for their lives. To shout DV and tell OP to fear for her life is just too extreme a response in this case, IMO.
OP, glad that you are finding some strength through all this. I would think that for the marriage to really work, he would need to show you he is willing to change. And him talking openly to others and taking a lowers status work role, IMO, is an indication that he is doing more than just talk, at this point.
BUT he will slip, and if you are judging him and hostile about it, not sure how that will be beneficial to anyone. You have to be willing to stand up and tell him to shape up, but in a supportive way, iyswim. And that might be really hard if you ( and rightly so) bear a lot of anger and resentment for his past behaviour.
I think you probably have a good understanding of the person he is, and in a cold non-emotional way, if you are willing to live with the best he can be, warts and all, then it is probably worth giving it a second chance. He is simply not going to become a new person, just hopefully better at dealing with his personality.
Merlot, if you skip forward in the Lundy book, to the bit where it asks, can he be 'cured', you'll see that any support or understanding of him, any accompaniment of his process will be seen by him as proof that he was right to have acted as he did.
People like him have to lose it all, or truly see what IS at stake for them for it to make any dent on their status quo.
You need to tell him that you hope he can work it out, for himself, but that it's his journey and you can't be a part of it. You must detach ideally completely and leave him to it.
Only when he's better, and that'll take YEARS to evaluate will you consider allowing him close access to you.
You've lived on eggshells for 8yrs on the strength of ONE violent episode, the fear of it worked as far as he was concerned, until you stood up for your DS and then he had to remind you again
My concern is that he's scared you for almost a decade, if you go back to him, there will be a fear inside, that will sit there. I can't see how it couldn't be, and in a way you'll forever be wondering if you're managing things to keep him placated.
For now, for you, the most helpful stance to take is that it's over. So that you can free yourself from the past, strengthen yourself, heal, learn, grow. THEN see where you are.
You can always change your mind, but next time you'll have more background info, more knowledge, and you'll be more wary, more demanding, and more confident.
You know what the stakes are now.
I also believe that the OP is an intelligent, well educated person and will make her own mind up over time and with reflection.
I do take issue with the formulaic approach on this board as if all bad relationships can be defined in a single way and they follow immutable (almost physical) laws and as if Lundy is the sole meaningful textbook on the subject, almost the Isaac Newton of abusive relationships. I hope and suspect that the OP will read Lundy with a scientifically critical eye and maybe read more than just one book on the subject (strangely, the only one ever recommended on this board, despite the fact there must be 100s).
There are clearly relationships which are as simple as one person being the guilty "abuser" and the other being the innocent "victim". There are many others which follow a far more complex (but still toxic) dynamic. My parents stayed together in a toxic relationship for over 20 years "for the sake of the children" and, until recently, I thought my father was basically an abuser and my mother the victim. However, when I look back and review it, although my father was physically abusive towards my mother 3-4 times over that 20 years (always when inebriated), my mother was certainly in no way frightened of him and verbally pressed all his buttons by rubbishing him and diminishing all his achievements in front of my brother and me. I just cannot see her purely in the role of victim and him purely as an abuser (although it is still shaded that way in my mind, just more like 70/30 than 100/0). It was a toxic relationship dynamic where both parties clearly got something out of it (though don't ask me what).
Equally, although it may generally be the case that DV escalates, there are clearly cases where it does not. Again, although people will claim otherwise, I am in no way excusing DV. I saw my mother the morning after he threatened her or put his handsaround her neck (he never hit her). Even 30-40 years later, I will never forget her face or her going out to buy a scarf to conceal the bruising (that was the time that ended the relationship). That does not mean I cannot see nuance or that relationships are not a dynamic between two people, and not merely one person being perfect and the other abusive. They are really not Newtonian and they really don't follow a script; they are each sui generis and should be judged on that basis. Ditto DV. I do not believe reductio ad absurdum arguments which equate one shove (or even a shouty argument) to repeated hospitalisations. And if this makes me a "DV apologist", so be it.
The OP needs to make up her own mind using her own knowledge (and, as a doctor, she is clearly well equipped) and feelings, not be shouted down by the hysterical majority nor need to apologise to this board if she eventually decides to work towards a better relationship and family dynamic together with her husband.
You've lived on eggshells for 8yrs on the strength of ONE violent episode, the fear of it worked as far as he was concerned, until you stood up for your DS and then he had to remind you again
What Hissy says here is spot on. The one time you stand up to him and his reaction is to push you over. If you continue to live together and stick up for yourself behaviour like this is your future.
I remember the day my now ex came to join me after we'd come home, he'd been away 8m.
In that time I'd recognised that I'd got agoraphobia and anxiety as a result of my experiences with him, I found MN and I was starting to realise that I did have a right to an opinion, that there were problems with the way things were in our relationship.
The day he came home he started trying to regain control, but snippets of MN played in my head, I knew it wasn't right, I stopped backing down.
Yes, it caused immense difficulty, no violence, but I calmly stated my position and as so much of the abusive fog had lifted, he in effect had lost control of me. I refused to give that up, and I maintained what the glorious nest of vipers had taught me.
I knew on that day 1, that we weren't going to last. Took just over a year for him to leave. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to let him go, but every second he's not here is a second that I grow, I love, laugh and heal.
My life now is better than it has ever been at any point in my life. I'm rediscovering normal life, normal people, kind people, it's so amazing.
You only need a bit of breathing space to see what's what. Please give youself that. The rest will just happen from there on in.
I was sorry to read your thread. Fwiw, think you did absolutely the right thing in moving out to have some thinking space and hope you take your time in deciding what to do next.
What happened the other day - and I believe you - sounds like an eruption after a prolonged period of seismic activity. It's not just you and DH is it, there's also DS to consider.
I don't have any pearls of wisdom to offer but good luck and take care.
Hi Merlot - I'm late to this thread. I absolutely think you did the right thing by moving out, and would very much agree with all those who've said you need a decent, sustained break from him while you clear your head and figure out what's best for your DS and you.
Larry - society always has, and continues, to condition women to seek relationships, feel as if they've failed of they don't have a relationship, and to stay and work at relationships that are failing.
Mumsnet is one of the very, very few place that says, 'you know what? Actually, you don't have to stay if you and your children are miserable. It's OK to leave. In fact, often it's best. If you don't want to be here in this situation, you don't have to be'.
This opens a lot of people's eyes.
It's great that you're able to come on here and be a virual loan voice in support of the OP's husband, but in actual fact, society supports the status quo, so it's only in the context of this forum (and others like it, I suppose) that you're the dissenter.
The stance that many Mumsnetters push - that you don't necessarily have to put up with shit relationships that make you miserable - is a minority one, so I wouldn't worry too much that the OP is being unduly influenced.
Again, Merlot - I hope you're getting the support you need, both from here and in real life.
exactly - in the grander scale larry is just the ever present normative voice saying put up, shut up, stop making a fuss, it was your fault, you shouldn't have got in his face, it's normal, you're exaggerating etc etc.
can honestly say i have NEVER had to physically restrain and shove clothes onto my child! wtaf? would you be ok with that being a strategy at nursery? school? in hospital?
there is no comparison, however you pretend, between calmly talking to your child whilst firmly putting their clothes on sat on your lap and pinning a child to the floor whilst shouting angrily about not having to come home to 'this' and forcing them into a coat whilst they are afraid and crying. why pretend that? it baffles me.
please don't minimise it OP - you remember what happened - your instincts responded rightly. please give yourself some time and space.
and if someone full of rage and on the brink of starting to physically assault people was telling me to put my coat on and go out for a walk with him i'd bloody well resist too! fair play to your ds and his normal, emotionally intelligent response - do not allow that to get drummed out of him.
oh and i'd look again at the title you chose for this thread and why.
*Larry - society always has, and continues, to condition women to seek relationships, feel as if they've failed of they don't have a relationship, and to stay and work at relationships that are failing.
Mumsnet is one of the very, very few place that says, 'you know what? Actually, you don't have to stay if you and your children are miserable. It's OK to leave. In fact, often it's best. If you don't want to be here in this situation, you don't have to be'.*
Larry, I disagree with much of what you've said. Yes I'm sure we've all had to force reluctant toddlers into clothes, but there's a world of difference between the parent like you and me who does this calmly, compassionately, and mindfully of the child's welfare, and the parent who 'loses it' and frightens the child because they're not in control of their own emotions.
Regarding the breathtakingly arrogant post of Mon 07-Jan-13 09:36:23:
Larry, why don't you take your battle against the hysterical women of MN to MNHQ and ask that Relationships be taken off the site. That way you won't have to see women sharing experiences and empowering each other to name abuse and see it for what it is.
It may come as a surprise to you that women don't need things explained to them the way you tend to explain them (sui generis? I'd lol if it wasn't so pathetic). But here is the gist of this post -- nobody needs you to mansplain domestic violence. Women can do that for ourselves.
Additionally, and since you seem to have this particular bee in your bonnet -- nobody has ever said that domestic abuse is a case of one person being perfect and the other being abusive. Domestic violence is about one person feeling entitled to hit the other or abuse the other in some other way. The victim doesn't need to be 'perfect' for abuse to qualify as abuse, any more than a rape victim needs to be a virgin in order for penetration without consent to be rape. Nobody is perfect. No relationship is perfect. All relationships are different. However, abuse always involves the belief that one person is entitled to abuse.
Right, now that everyone has done their personal critique of me in the third person....
"It's great that you're able to come on here and be a virual loan voice in support of the OP's husband, but in actual fact, society supports the status quo, so it's only in the context of this forum (and others like it, I suppose) that you're the dissenter"
I am not in any sense the husband's "supporter". Like you, I just don't know the full story. I support his right to parent independently without interference, which, given many other threads about fathers unwilling to do their fair share of parenting, seems reasonable enough. Only the OP and her husband know whether his putting on of the coat was done with aggression or was merely his way of making his toddler wear appropriate clothing. I don't think that lying fully clothed on a stone floor is abusive in itself...my two toddlers do it all the time on a purely voluntary basis.
All I have done is asked questions of the OP in order that she can make up her own mind. I think from her own posts that she will reach the right decision and, as far as anyone on an anonymous internet board can "support" anyone, I will support her in whatever decision she makes.
"can honestly say i have NEVER had to physically restrain and shove clothes onto my child! wtaf? would you be ok with that being a strategy at nursery? school? in hospital?"
The confusion of a parent/child relationship with a carer/child relationship is one of the problems of today's society. Am I also expected to have posters on my walls showing my own children's key stage developments and what I am doing to help achieve them, my child protection policy, my discipline policy etc etc. A parent/child relationship is, thankfully, a unique one. Not many teachers/nurses will get up at 4AM to comfort a child who has had a nightmare or cuddle him in bed (that would probably get them sacked). As I said before, children need real and not ideal parents. I am not sure that the MN model of perpetually kind, calm, never flustered parents (if ever achievable) would actually be good for a child.
"and if someone full of rage and on the brink of starting to physically assault people was telling me to put my coat on and go out for a walk with him i'd bloody well resist too! fair play to your ds and his normal, emotionally intelligent response - do not allow that to get drummed out of him. "
Was it also an emotionally intelligent response from my 3.5 year old when he cried hysterically for 5 minutes when I forgot his Spiderman suit on an outing? He certainly thought that was abusive! Are we to use the lens of a toddler's ephemeral feelings to judge an adult's behaviour?
"Regarding the breathtakingly arrogant post of Mon 07-Jan-13 09:36:23:"
Pots and kettles come to mind....
If as many say on this board, MN is merely providing a balancing voice to the normal societal bias, I think that anyone posting should be entitled to know that. Some people are too embarrassed to discuss sensitive issues in RL and thus this board becomes their only input. I am always surprised that so few are interested in gaining insight into peoples relationships by asking follow up open questions such as "how do you feel", "what do you really want" etc and prefer to go straight to a judgment which is almost always stated as some form of abuse.
Larry, excellent post. Totally agree with you.
blah blah blah larry
OP - i was thinking of you whilst reading something else this morning and wanted to say that i really, really think you need some positive time. we get ground down by these atmospheres and situations and negativity. just please have some good, positive time. surround yourself with people who love you and treat you well and make you happy in yourself. do things you love doing that you haven't done for ages. take advantage of being at your parents by having time to yourself to do stuff just for you. see old friends. go out, enjoy yourself and get time as 'you' rather than mummy, wife, doctor etc.
have time where you can forget about all of this and just be! see yourself as recovering and needing to be good and gentle to yourself. recharge your batteries.
maybe put off thinking and decisions until you've had a good long soak in some positivity and reminders of who you are.
take care of yourself.
Annnnnnyway... Best to ignore the sole, lonely and deluded fly in the ointment and get back to what's really important; Making sure the OP's not scared off her own thread by someone who frequently has his/her little axe to grind against those who really don't need it.
Please peeps, don't feed it?
Swallowed, that was very rude.
Frankly, some of the posts towards Larry border on bullying and I would suggest you take a good hard look at yourselves.
It is ok to disagree. It is not ok to be dismissive and rude to another poster.
How are you today, Merlot?
Oh god the shove was bad wnough and then reading about the controlling side of your relationship was really sad, get out now.
could you like go to your parents and tell, just go now, anywhere!.
Is there any reason why he can't move out now and you and DS move back home?
I think it would be much better for you and DS to be at home, getting into your routines and settled. Your parents have been great, but there's surely no need for you and DS to be the ones uprooted.
H can go and stay with his wonderful parents or one of his friends.
I came home last night. H has gone to stay at his mum's for the time being. My parents have been fantastic and still said I could stay as long as I needed, but I could tell they were both exhausted (in their 60's and both have health problems).
Finding it harder than I anticipated to be back in the house. H being very gentle and solicitous and desperate to change and make amends. He is saying and doing all the right things. I am both furious and numb, if that makes any sense? I feel emotionally detached from him and, frankly, quite annoyed by his current trying too hard.
Friends and family, including my parents, keep saying ' well yes, it was really awful how he was treating you, but look how hard he's trying', so I feel under a lot of pressure to give him another chance. I've quoted Lundy at him, told him that after 'the shove', all bets are off and IF I choose to give him more of my time, that's entirely my choice. I've also told him that he could be the perfect husband from now on in and I still might never get over this.
" am both furious and numb, if that makes any sense?"
Makes perfect sense to me. After my initial split with exH (his instigation) we got back together briefly. Although I was initially happy and he seemed prepared to 'work on the relationship' within a week or two, having had the chance to look long and hard at the man with fresh eyes, I decided he was not worth it and we split for good. I despised him, in fact.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if you reach the same sort of conclusion. Ignore 'pressure'. This is your life, not theirs.
Merlot I am glad you are back home.
I can understand how H 'being good' is annoying; it's not being adult about it is it? He's behaving like a naughty child who doesnt really understand the seriousness of what has happened and just wants everything back as it was. Which is never going to happen, is it?
You are entitled to better support from 'friends and family'. More along the lines of 'you do whatever is best for you'.
The thing is, other people want it all to go back as it was, also, not just H.
It's easier for them, if you dont shake up the status quo. Everybody can go on with their relationships to both you and H unchanged.
Unfortunately, this is when you will find out a lot about your friends and family also. You will discover who are truely the people who back you up, unconditionally.
It's easy for me to say, at the other end of a screen, but dont take the pressure to have him back, They dont have to live with him.
You are being fabulously strong. Dont underestimate that.
For now, get back into some normal rhythm with DS as much as you can, let others' comments wash over you. It's not up to anyone else. Whilst living apart it's all a bit artificial anyway, none of the day to day stresses H found so triggering, but you're home and have time to reflect.
"Trying" sounds reasonable (until you think trying what exactly, not to lose his rag, not to get physical?), are ALL friends and family pointing this out? Balances the views on MN, then).
Merlot, it must have taken a lot of courage to return home, and I admire you for that. I also think you are showing tremendous insight, which will be your greatest asset when making final decisions.
There appears to be many issues finally being faced here, and the recent violent incident the straw that broke the camels back, as it were. Perhaps you feel that your relationship has been unequal for a very long time, and that you have - understandably - resented that. Talking about these issues with a professional, in a safe, confidential environment, will help you find the clarity you need to decide what you want from your marriage. Stay strong, and think only of yours and the little ones needs for now. Your H must do the work on himself, if he wants to to regain your trust, although he may never achieve that again, no matter what he does, and you have already recognised that. Being pleasant and just paying lip service is not enough. I wish you well.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Merlot Good luck. Practically, and I don't say this because he may storm in and abuse you - it doesn't sound like that at all - but so you keep the upper hand until such time as you make any long term decisions; do you think it might be wise to change the locks so that he can only enter your home with your absolute permission?
I think you are being brave and courageous.
Friends and family, including my parents, keep saying ' well yes, it was really awful how he was treating you, but look how hard he's trying', so I feel under a lot of pressure to give him another chance.
I find it astounding that people feel that's a decision you need to make so soon, Merlot. It's been nine days. You need time - and frankly so does he. (Not that I think you are suggesting he is pressuring you to allow a return, this is coming from friends and family?)
That annoyance is a very good sign.
Please, please remember that he and you are both still caught up in the cycle of abuse and he is in a certain part of the cycle now. Watch out as he changes onto another phase.
Merlot, you have the right to nicely ask your family to stop using the word 'but' when they talk about your situation and how bad it is for you. You have the right to be very specific about the kind of support you need from them and to tell them when they are no longer supportive, and that this is not a case where the truth must fall somewhere in the middle.
Families cope with a surprise or a shock in different ways. Mostly those who are managing to stick their feet in their mouths just need to have a bridle strapped on and pointed in the right direction.
there's always a desire for the status quo - it's very human.
just take some time, nurture yourself, let yourself recover any way you need to.
you've had a real shock and that's trauma. you don't make big decisions or expect to be thinking straight soon after a trauma.
Oh merlot, must be so hard to have all these conflicting emotions & pressures about how you should feel and behave.
I hope you keep in touch with your feelings, it's ok to be angry & shaken & doubting, & don't be pushed into thinking there is a time limit on this and to be the good person you have to quash your own feelings and forgive forgive forgive!
It has taken years to get to this point, why must it be resolved in days? How can it be? That doesn't sound reasonable.
I think you may need a long time to come to terms with that actually did happen, why it happened, and slowly slowly see if you can open your heart & defenses to trust again. I am shocked by this expectation that it's fine now 'cos he's trying'. Him trying is a good sign perhaps, but it's the start of a very long road, & it may not happen at all if you don't want it - which is again perfectly reasonable.
Humans have a desire for stories, where there is an ending which feels satisfactory and timed right for the viewer. You aren't in a story book, or on a tv screen. You're actions & feelings don't have to be dictated by what media plots & pacing has taught us! Please listen to the beat of your heart, & your true feelings & needs. There is nothing wrong with needing time. And I really hate to think you are being pressured inadvertently into ignoring your needs & the reality of the situation. Stay strong & connected to your inner self.
I hope the small bun fight on here hasn't got in the way of supporting you. This is supposed to be your space to be supported & work out your thoughts & ideas. It's not very kind when people come on these threads to push their own agenda.
Please try to be gentle with me, I'm feeling very alone .
H is back home. He was here to see DS yesterday and got a phone call to say that a much-loved family member had died unexpectedly. We are both very upset and I just couldn't bring myself to ask him to leave again. This morning he's got up with DS, who is loving having his dad's undivided attention, and H is being very kind and helpful. I can't face having to burst his bubble again, so he's staying in the spare room.
I've asked him to take DS and go visit his mum this afternoon so I can have some space. I'm seeing my GP (who is also his GP) in the morning. I feel like crawling under the duvet and just staying there. I haven't got the strength to be around him, but I haven't got the strength to cope with boisterous DS on my own either. Every single one of my friends and family want to see us 'work It out' and I keep being told that he's a good man really and it was just the stress.
I feel like the onus is on me to sort myself out and get past it, and actually H is the only one telling me that I'm perfectly justified in being this angry and upset and confused. I want to scream.
Merlot, I am so very sorry for your loss.
It could not have come at a worse time for you.
Take what you need from H in terms of him being the other parent for your DS. It's perfectly natural that you would call on him at this time, regardless of the state of your relationship.
Every single one of my friends and family want to see us 'work It out' and I keep being told that he's a good man really and it was just the stress.
I feel like the onus is on me to sort myself out and get past it
If you can shelve this at all at this time, do. Tell them you cant/wont discuss it. What you need from them is unconditional support.
I am sad for you. <<<Hug>>>
Why can't he take DS out to give you a break? Why does he need to be in the house to see his son?
Merlot, I'm coming late to this, just read through your whole thread.
I just wanted to sympathise about the attitude of your family and friends, and reassure you that you are entitled to disagree with them. I know it's hard, because you love them and they are (sincerely, I'm sure) performing all the usual "supportive" behaviours. When someone does caring, nice things and clearly wants to be on your side, it's all too easy to accept everything they say as true.
But this isn't true, is it. It's not ok "really" to terrify a three year old child. It's not ok "really" to threaten someone "not to push me" and then deny saying it. It's not ok "really" to shove someone over because of stress.
"He's a good man, really"?
"Really" is doing a hell of a lot of work there, isn't it. To be honest it makes me angry with them for putting their values and their desire for the maintenance of the status quo above your safety and peace of mind.
I know you won't feel able to be angry with them directly. But please remain receptive to your own feelings - you sound like a very perceptive person; if their advice makes you dull and confused and unhappy, it's probably the wrong advice.
Also, these lines from your last post are so sad:
I feel like the onus is on me to sort myself out and get past it
It really, really isn't, as I'm sure you know
and actually H is the only one telling me that I'm perfectly justified in being this angry and upset and confused.
And the effect of him saying this is to confuse you further. Which works out rather well for him, doesn't it.
I want to scream.
Hang on to that feeling because I think metaphorically that is what you need to do.
What seems to me to have happened here, is that you have stood up for yourself and removed yourself and DS from danger, and somehow you haven't ended up in a safe place, and you have ended up with a pile of work and obligations.
You were in a fog before the incident. You are still in a fog.
There are some great posts upthread about acting quickly while the incident is clear, and before time and manipulation of others can confuse you about what happened.
I think maybe you need to re-read them, and think about how you've got back to being at home with him, and whether you want to be there.
Please dfon't listen to your 'friends' they no nothing.
It wasn't them shoved through a doorway, it wasn't their son terrified and pinned to a floor.
Your H needs to leave again. He'll end up sweeping all this under the carpet. And you know it. You're sayoing as much already.
Get past the next 24 hours, but at the weekend he must leave. He is not going to get better if he is accepted back.
You have to be 'cruel to be kind'
There is NO hope if there are no consequences.
As soon as you are strong enough to handle DS etc again, he needs to go. Seriously.
otherwise you're sending mixed messages which are unfair on him, on DS and may screw up your chances of safe parenting in the future.
I sympathised earlier when you said you felt numb. I suspect as time goes on and the event which scared you recedes there is alnost a surreal, dream-like quality about the whole thing.
Having 'made a clean breast of it' so to speak, your H now has a reason for over-reacting ie pressure. Everyone outside your relationship wishes you well, this apparent breach in normal behaviour was so sudden, now there's a reason to latch onto. They can identify with stress and strain, who can't? I hope there's no inference of lack of support for poor H on your part.
Now there's a family crisis, a bereavement, more stress. I am sorry for your loss, would it be disrespectful to think the timing couldn't be worse.
Small wonder you feel like the onus is on you to work at this and fix it. I am glad you are seeing your GP. Am I naive to think it shouldn't matter if he is also H's doctor?
Totally agree about everyone latching on to the "stress" thing. It's can be a handy catch-all cause for practically everything, including hard, nasty, difficult stuff that most people find inexplicable because (thankfully for them) they've never had to deal with it.
You are not alone, you have us and there must be one good friend who would hear you out. The spare room is not a petty banishment. I know the duvet must seem preferable to life right now. Be careful nobody gets the wrong idea that it's you who isn't coping, or is somehow irrational.
Thank you, this is helping. He's gone to his mum's with DS for the afternoon. He was very worried that I 'don't think too much about all this and get yourself upset again', for which I read 'I'm worried that you're figuring me out and that you won't want to be with me anymore'.
I'm sitting with a cup o tea and my Bancroft book and feeling stronger again.
"Get YOURSELF upset again"??
That rings some alarm bells, I'm afraid. He's still not really taking full responsibility.
I know nothing about your dh. But what you are describing him saying, sounds like mine.
But I took him at face value, and didn't doubt his motives. And it has paid off. We have a bloody good marriage for over 16 years now and he is the most attentive, gentlest and best friend I have.
When we started, I was a giver and he a taker. He had a temper while I was calm and I just bore the brunt of his moodswings and walked on eggshells a lot. He was very high maintenance emotionally, and I became a shadow of myself.
At the 7 to 8 year point I got very angry and told him I wanted to end it. He did not trivialize my feelings, and promised he would try to change. But I would have have to work on it too and a toxic relationship takes two to change it. I had to let go of the anger, work as a team, to build a positive dynamic
We both recognise the sign of when he is being selfish and high-strung, and I tell him calmly and he stops and apologizes. And frankly it is really rare now. It was hard to let go of the anger, but I did. I was firm, he was self-aware and together we made it work for us. I give less and take more and we are in balance.
What ever you decide in our relationship, I wish you the best.
I'm sorry for your loss as well. Do you have any girlfriends or other mates that you could share your feelings with at this time? It's bad if you feel you have to lean on the very person that, only a few days ago, was prepared to attack you.
He was very worried that I 'don't think too much about all this and get yourself upset again'
Christ, that's terrifying isn't it. Do you hear which pronoun he's using there?
He upset you by physically assaulting you. He is the cause of your upset. His solution? For you not to think about what he did. From his point of view, that makes the problem go away. He STILL does not really understand that it is his behaviour that is the problem.
I'm sorry, I think you need to get away again. I think the others are right, and he will carry on minimising and shifting responsibility now that you're back. Maybe without even intending to, but it's a long-learned behaviour pattern and he isn't going to break it overnight. You feel clearer when he's away even for a few hours, have I got that right? That should tell you something.
Im sorry for your loss.
Do you think he used your recent bereavement to worm his way back into the house?
I'm not saying he's not upset btw, just a bit sneaky/manipulative.
It doesn't seem to me that he really is sorry for what he did to you and your (totally adorable) DS.
It comes across that he's 'managing' the situation in a PR kind of way.
Damage (to his ego/reputation) limitation rather than actual remorse.
He's not taken responsibility, citing stress as the real cause for his actions.
This must be really hard for you when everyone in rl is being sucked in and feeling sorry for him.
Just finished Bancroft chapter 4. It appears H is largely 'Mr Sensitive', with a large dollop of 'Mr Right' and a spoonful of 'Demand man'.
Flatbread I wish it were as simple as taking him at face value, and I do believe he genuinely wants to change, but I feel if I let go of the anger as I did 8 years ago, then I might end up in the same place yet again in another 8 years, and by then DS will have been permanently scarred. So far, my anger and upset is the ONLY thing that has forced him to look at himself and make changes. If I let him off the hook now, nothing will change, and the one thing I'm certain of is that I don't want to ever go back to how things have been these past couple of years.
I feel so confused about him that I decided to take a highlighter pen to Bancroft and just highlight any bits that felt familiar or as though they were speaking to me. So far, 4 chapters in, about 20% of what I've read is highlighted.
Oh bloody hell.
It's one hell of a book.
I really believe that everyone should read it.
Someone elsewhere once talked about not being able to live in a fear free bubble in this society. I think in your own home with your nearest and dearest you are entitled to expect that. That is why an outburst or over the top reaction is such a shock. I know it is too easy to be cynical and doubt a total stranger's intentions but we can only go by what OP tells us.
It is good to hear how other people's crises can be put right. Yes it takes two to row. It also takes one to raise a fist or shove hard enough for a grown woman to topple over. So far what she has described doesn't sound like her H is wholly acknowledging how upset he made her. He says the right things now, fair enough. This isn't a knuckle dragging, inarticulate buffoon she just met. Taking what someone who frightened you now utters at face value is a big step, let alone without a chorus of polite there there, least said, soonest mended in the background from well meaning loved ones.
It's not just your own future Merlot you have to consider. Hope you get some rest after reading.
PS I have no axe to grind, I've never read the Lundy Bancroft book.
Merlot, it is tough.
I coukd see myself happy without him and with him. I was willing to give it a chance, but also willing to walk away if it didn't work out.
In my experience, at least, when the issues are put on the table in very stark terms, there is no hiding them or pretending they don't exist.
We discussed his behaviour, my response and what we both needed to do going forward. It was not an on/off switch that he would change, but a long journey when we frequently discussed the relationship and how we felt.
And we still do that now, it is so ingrained to do a stock-check every week and see how the other is feeling and if we need to do anything. (We usually discuss it over Sunday papers and coffee, when we are both relaxed)
It was hard work, but for me, it has been worth it. I am fairly sure I could have been happy without him, and he knows that. But no regrets and quiet happiness that we have found our rhythm
Ps-he was also physically abrasive three times and it would probably have been described as dv here. I am not scared of him though, never been. If anything, he is scared when I go all quiet and wants to know if he did something wrong.
Flatbread is right, it is tough and there are no shortcuts.
Upthread jessjessjess said you can still love someone who treats you badly. That's why you are confused. Hating him would be simpler.
Do you mind me asking btw is H your first serious relationship? I know you said you've been with him since you were 21.
Merlot, don't know if you read my post earlier on in this thread. got some flaming for it so just stepped out. didnt read through whole thread but i get that you're confused and want to make this work though you are still angry with him.
question are both of you going for professional help? THIS IS IMPERATIVE!!!! though it may seem that your DH is willing to change and work things out, BOTH of you need to go for counseling. Him to work on his behavior/emotions/anger and to progress in a healthy and stable manner and YOU to work through your anger/insecurities and fear.
i know that you are back home now with him. what made you take this step? no flaming here, but was this pressure from family/friends? you should be talking to a professional who will guide you through this process and work things out for you in a step by step hierarchical process.
Do not let your emotions run your life now or you will both end up unhappy again. if you read my previous post, i was the first one to say that your marriage can have a future with the right help. are you seeing someone of caliber right now?
you yourself are an educated professional, and therefore should acknowledge that you do need the help right now from a properly trained and licensed LCSW (or whatever the equivalent is in the UK.)
i hope you find the strength to make wise decisions and that all does end up working out best for you and DS. Please disregard passionate posts on this thread that are unhelpful and only serve to fuel your anger. this will only end up making you more confused.
wishing you best of luck
The only people who know what has gone on in a relationship are the people in that relationship.
Trust yourself, merlot. Take care of yourself, and try to find impartial (professional) support.
And remember, you have been under stress for the past 8 years. That's what 'walking on eggshells' means.
sorry merlot, see that you are going for counseling. what i mean is that HE must be going for help as well if you still plan on making this marriage work again.
either way, continue getting the help for yourself, it will help you realize where you stand and what your next steps should be.
Merlot, it must feel like everyone - and everything - is conspiring against you. Wanting a quick happy ending to what they see as a little blip. You say you are seeing your GP, who is the same as H`s. Is this the one who diagnosed burnout? This all seems to be getting a little incestous. You absolutely need to start seeing someone who doesn`t know either of you, and is therefore, completely impartial. Only then can you truly explore your own feelings. The fact that H is back at the house is, I feel, only going to muddy the waters, and add to your confusion. If you still feel unable to ask him to leave, albeit possibly temporarily, at least make sure that you state your boundaries quite clearly. Let him know that you are far from going back to how things were, and may never be able to. I`m afraid I get the feeling that he is just making the right noises, and paying lip service at the moment.
I really feel for you Merlot. You sound so alone, despite being surrounded by family and friends. Be strong for your DS, and take your time working out what you want from this marriage, and if you think it can be achieved. Try to ignore what others - however well meaning - are saying.
i'm afraid that 'don't get YOURSELF upset again' statement really alarmed me too. that's pretty damned shocking.
and actually the understanding you being upset/confused etc business is also alarming to me because it fits with that getting yourself upset thing too. it's you who has the issue, is upset, emotional, has things to sort out and bless him he's just the supportive passive victim standing by.
i'm afraid i don't think he has genuinely taken responsibility i also still think he's 'playing' a game/strategy/whatever you want to call it whether consciously or not. he's still manipulating power.
please don't worry about bursting his bubble. you need time and space whatever you chose to do. if you just 'go along with it' now you won't have chosen anything and there will be no resolution, just a slipping back into it. i think your life deserves more than that.
I think it is great that you have friends and family to rely on, but perhaps you need to ask them to keep their opinions to themselves for the moment, as it is just pressurising you?
I agree with the others. That he sees it as you got upset rather than his vile behavior upset you clangs massive alarm bells.
It is no different from you are mental or paranoid until you actually catch them with their trousers around their ankle shagging another woman. Even then some of them would say it is you get your glasses checked you didn't see what you did.
oh merlot, it all sounds awful for you.
Your friends are NOT HELPING! i'm sure they don't mean to be, but they are pushing you back into a place where you are vulnerable and not feeling safe. Thats not ok. no no no no no :-(
Try saying 'i wish it could all be ok too, but you can't get over something like that in a few days'
trust takes longer than 3 or 4 days to repair when he has been the person he has to you for years and years. Poor you. I am worried for you, because you are back in your own home with your h there ready to push and push at your defences to whitewash everything and gaslight you into pretending everything is ok.
Everything is not ok. And I'm afraid he will use your grief at a family loss as a way of making it more difficult to ask him to leave, or to leave again yourself.
Can your parents have your ds for a bit to let you rest? you really really need some time to yourself to rest and heal and mourn and be sad.
"He was very worried that I 'don't think too much about all this and get yourself upset again'"
Yes, the perennial default of anyone who doesn't want their eyes opened, their blinkers taken off, to question anything.
You see it on here time after time when someone questions something or analyses something - they're dismissed by a certain sect as 'over-thinking'. There seems to be a real fear about what this 'over' thinking might lead to...
It's the exact same thing here. He's 'very worried' that you 'don't think too much about all this' and 'get yourself upset again'.
Thinking is good. It leads to clarity and understand.
He's trying to make out that he doesn't want getting upset. How lovely of him. Of course that's not why he doesn't want you to think. He doesn't want you to think because he doesn't want you to join the dots and see a picture that might not portray him in a very nice light at all.
You need to do all the thinking that this situation requires. Whatever that thinking leads to is up to you, but to ignore it, sweep it under the carpet, pretend it doesn't exist - as your H wishes - is absolutely not the answer.
Taking this particularly statement at 'face value', as has been suggested is, I honestly think, the worst thing you could do. Time and space is really something you should push for.
Merlot, trust your instincts.
Flatbread is managing her H, he is controlling his selfish and angry traits.
NEWSFLASH - she's still on eggshells, just more robust ones. MOST people don't need to tell their H that they are exhibiting unacceptable signs for them to apologise and check themselves.
Your H is nothing like hers. You know that.
He's dismissing your legitimate feelings of anger, shock, outrage, hurt and horror at HIS behaviour toward you and your DS.
He's learned nothing, and most likely won't ever learn anything.
He needs to get gone again. You have to get him out of your head/life so you can work out sensibly what is right for you.
ALL abusers are desperate to get back in, so they can catch you againm, before you see the truth. It's classic.
They panic at the potential loss of control over you, over what others will think of them, but never, ever what YOU feel about it all. That has NO bearing whatsoever.
You need to woman-up and regain your territory ASAP. (meant with all the love, care and gentle stroking in the world, you totally rock sweety)
Oh my love you are a professional woman and a doctor. You can do your job without crucifying yourself with stress. He can't. In ten years time you will be the main breadwinner, you will still be managing him. He will still be taking and you will still be giving. Your son will be in the middle of it and when your son is big enough for you to both go out, ie, when he is at his most vulnerable in the context of growing up and hormones one of you will find happiness elsewhere and his life will be blown apart or if it isn't it will be at the expenses of your happiness and family functionality.
Of course family and friends are saying it's sad and you could work it out - that's what the middle classes do, quietly and miserably - until breaking point. DS has so many friends whose parents have parted at 14, 15, 16 and it is far less pretty than when they are 2, 3, 4, 5. But of course they kept it going for appearances.
You are young, you are clever, you are strong, you are probably beautiful. Move on my darling and give yourself a chance to find real happiness when you are still young enough to dust yourself down and start all over again.
Sorry - old gimmer talking and I admit I'm not great on the touchy feely stuff.
The problem with Internet advice is you get only a one dimensional view of a person and usually only the 'bad' side in the relationship is discussed.
But there is often a good deal of love and respect as well.
My dh, for example, does pretty much most of the housework except cooking (because I enjoy cooking). I have never asked him to do the work or thanked him, he just sees it as his responsibility. He makes morning tea and breakfast for us before he leaves for work and vacuums right after he comes home. And does all our laundry on the weekends.
For the longest time he put his career second to mine and travelled around the country to follow my work commitments, and gave up some promotions for flexibility.
He does lots of silly, thoughtful things like making sure he always has a packet of tissues in his pocket when we are out because my nose runs in the cold . Or picks up my favourite Thai on his way back from home without my asking or gets flowers for no reason at all.
Plus he makes me laugh a lot. He is witty and a good listener and we love chatting about all sorts of things
Ofcourse there are some relationships which are outright not tenable. But in many, many cases it is not as simple as LTB. It is a question of not letting the toxic stuff smother the positive, and building the relationship back to where you are both happy.
My advice to OP is to make a list of what she likes in the relationship and what she doesn't.
Does the good outweigh the bad?
If there are some deal breakers in the bad stuff, are these resolvable? Do you want to take the risk/make the effort?
When a child is treated like the way Merlot's ds was, all lists are useless.
There is NO reason to stay with a man like that, who sees no wrong in what he did, and who furthermore STILL blames Merlot. He's making her out to have the problem, calling her bahaviour unreasonable and blaming the situation on her upsetting herself.
Your H is a different animal to hers. Your experience is not really relevant. I appreciate there are times when it's important to weigh things up. This is not the time for that.
Violence against a child is insurmountable. This child is still so young, what happens when he hits 5, or 6, when they really start to dig their heels in, answer back, stand up for themselves? Will DrDastardly put his son through the door frame? The answer to that, in all probability, is yes.
This dynamic has ALL the signs of a relationship totally out of balance, and with areas that are deeply unhealthy.
Merlot feels better already. That's a sign in itself. That is ALL that should matter on this thread.
Merlot, ask your doctor for a referral to counselling ALONE. Do not go with your H to any therapy or counselling.
Do you have it in you to tell him it is time for him to leave again as soon as the dust settles on the funeral? You need to do this.
Please, please do not let your small child's response to seeing daddy again sway you. This child was pinned to the ground only a short time ago and it will be no time before something like this happens again, when your H decides it is time to test your mettle, see how much he can get away with. That phrase he used reveals that he feels pretty confident already that you are a doormat and he will soon be back ruling the roost. Second time round, an abuser likes to kind of rub it in because you both know what is going on so the ante needs to be upped, and you will really sense the contempt he has for someone who let him have that second chance.
Make an executive decision on behalf of your DS in other words (and on your own behalf too).
Women's Aid 0808 2000 247 -- call them.
Fucking hell. He doesn't want you thinking about it and upsetting yourself again. FUCK THAT
I am sorry that this person has died, but please don't let it cloud your judgement.
He has just proven, without a doubt, that he has not changed.
Please, please see that and send him back to his mothers.
I know DS has enjoyed having his Dad at home, but for how long? Kids enjoy lots of things that aren't good for them, it is our responsibility to keep them safe. DS would probably love riding on the bonet of the car - he'd be beaming from ear to ear - until he fell off...
Your family and friends do not know the life you have been living, they know what you present to the outside world. Perhaphs if you were honest about things (in detail) they would understand better and stop pressuring you to do something so fucking stupid as to take him back and try again at this stage (at all in fact, but especially at this stage).
If you take him back now - he will get worse, you will be giving him permission to act that way again and worse.
Don't let him stay
Hope you're ok today, Merlot.
I'm feeling very alone
I hope you know that, in the virtual world at least, you aren't alone, Merlot. You have an impossible situation on your hands with a bucketload of stress plus the grief and shock of this bereavement.
Take care of yourself, Merlot.
thinking about you and hoping you are being the clever strong woman that you are on here, and you're taking take of yourself
Thanks for your support.
I'm having a 'day off' from all this. Booked a last minute Spa day then spent the evening watching a funny film with a glass of wine. Feeling much better. Hopefully will get some sleep tonight.
Oh how lovely! Enjoy your and sleep well. We are here whenever.
I've fallen in a heap this morning . I thought I'd be able to sleep last night but if anything was worse. I didn't get to sleep until after 2am, then DS came through at 5.20am.
I've now realised that I don't actually have any really good RL friends. All the 'couple friends' are being very kind but ultimately want the status quo. Of my 3 'own friends', one has just lost her dad and is in no fit state to hear about this, and besides that is a relative of H's, one has not been contactable and the other has made it clear that she is enjoying her new husband and baby and doesn't really want to know. They're all used to capable, gentle, listening Merlot and are very uncomfortable with angry, sad, ranting Merlot. Even my lovely parents are relieved that we're 'working things out'.
I saw the GP yesterday. She was lovely, but another one saying that she thought he really wanted to change and she hoped we got through this, although she did admit there were 'significant differences' between his version of events and mine, so at least that confirms that suspicion.
I'm still in bed, hiding from the world. The whole situation feels scary and overwhelming. H is being lovely and understanding and I feel terrified that I'm having to rely on him so much at the moment.
you will discover through this who your true friends are and more about your family relationships than you ever wanted to know.
The situation is scary. The temptation to 'give in' and go back to what was before; because while it was not safe or happy, it does have the advantage of being familiar and you know what your 'role' is.
These are days to not think about long term. Focus on getting through today.
Is H still back in the house with you? Could you focus on taking the support you need from him, but maintaining very clear boundaries? Such as he comes to take DS out for the day to allow you to get what you need re sleep, personal time, grieving etc? But he does not live with you for the time being?
I've taken your advice and feel a lot better after a shower and some food.
H is still here but sleeping in the spare room. The travel distances and times involved would make it difficult for him to be much help if he went to live at his mum's.
I think I need to maintain clear boundaries as you say and try to concentrate on myself a bit more rather than thinking about 'the situation' all th time.
Porridge speaks sense, for now focus on you, gather your strength.
'Significant differences', as the GP mentioned, that's illuminating, and bears out what you thought.
I don't see any point in going through the motions ie 'working things out' with H if you are unable to feel he is taking responsibility and genuinely acknowledging your feelings. I can see how it looks like stalemate and something has to give. I can utter things like, take all the time you need, but I'll be honest I don't know how to develop this, other posters will come along. Not much traffic on here at the moment Merlot being Saturday but we are still here for you.
As for friends in rl, people aren't used to others reaching out, they either hope you'll sort it out yourself or worry they'll be seen to 'take sides' if they know both parties. I don't think it's just our British reserve. I'm no saint but I hope I'd listen to a friend if she (or he) told me something like your experience had happened. Listen, and keep supporting.
Oh Merlot, I'm sorry you've got such crap support IRL. This is one of the worst things about crises, they suddenly show up poor, one-sided friendships on top of everything else.
I'm with Donkeys here, I'm at a loss to know what to do next, other than recognising the essential wrongness of the current position. Basically I'm just very sorry you're there with him. It sounds to me like every instinct is screaming at you that you don't want to be there.
As I think I wibbled sometime earlier, you followed your instincts to remove yourself and DS from a dangerous situation - and somehow you haven't ended up with clarity, safety or a way forward. "Working things out" is the language of solving problems that have developed between people. This is not such a problem IMO. This is a problem with your husband. This lack of clarity over what's going to happen next, and your being saddled with a whole load of expectations about "working it out" cannot be right, can it?
so he lied to the GP - minimised and cast himself in the role of poor him presumably - just as he's doing with you
i thought marriedinwhite wrote a lovely post on thursday - def one for re-reading.
friends are tricky when the world is coupled up. i'm a single mum so i really do get that.... unavailableness that married/partnered people can have. i've tried making new friendships with 'wives' before (and i say wives because actually it turned out that was their prime identity/priority/role) and they've never lasted long before i've realised how superficial it was - how it had to be only at certain times re: when hubby was at work. anyway! that said i also have a fantastic friend who happens to be married and good friends dotted around the place in various states of single/coupled malarchy.
i'd imagine when your friends have been made whilst or long used to you being a couple they are different to friendships you make and have as an individual - dunno and maybe a bit off topic but honestly when life moves on and you are back in the 'stream' rather than in a stalled layby you DO start making new friends who fit with who you are now.
i hope you're taking lots of space. i do agree that your husband's statement the other day plus the gp confirming he wasn't honest just proves he hasn't changed at all or taken any real responsibility.
Merlot -- it is time to make some new friends, and fast. We're all real here for starters.
It is also time to report what happened, to the relevant authorities.
And you need to look into alternative sources of help -- I am assuming you mean with your DS and general housework, etc? Look at your local college for older teens who might be willing to babysit, or CMs who could help with taking to or from nursery, etc., or look for a cleaner or whatever practical things you need help with.
It's a paradox, but the longer the H stays under the same roof the more lonely (and lost and utterly invisible and isolated and mute, and powerless to reach out to others) you are going to feel. If he were gone you might be surprised to find your head clearing and the ability to handle things replacing that feeling of being drained and listless and weak.
But report what happened. Go to your police station and ask for the DV officer.
And please get in touch with Women's Aid.
Merlot, I have re-read your whole thread, nearly two weeks since that incident took place, the advice very early on when it was perhaps too fresh and shocking to take it all in still stands true. math has reiterated some of it, maybe you're ready to take another step.
maybe you could give a vague idea of where in the country you are? if you were in my area i'd be happy to meet up for a coffee or glass of wine.
i work part time and raise ds (nearly 6 alone). i am either at or travelling to/from work whilst ds is at school then doing the school runs etc. i work one longer a day a week and ds goes to his granny's house. it's all doable. if i earned more i'd consider using childminders even though i don't strictly need it so as to have a bit more breathing space. although you're panicking about money i'm sure on your salary and with his child support you'd be more than able to manage. plus you'd just organise things the way they work best for you and ds. i guess what i'm saying is that it honestly is all doable and personally i'm pretty happy if a bit knackered sometimes but looking round at married mums they don't seem any less knackered or to have any less to do tbh.
whatever decision you come to has to be yours and positive - not through fear of unknown or better the devil you know or for the sake of appearances. this is your life you know? no dress rehearsals and all that
Your GP has not acted in your best interests, Merlot. Is she a partner of your DH or are you registered elsewhere? Strictly speaking I don't think she should have even hinted at what he told her, although I accept there is a little wiggle room on this when a GP is treating both spouses (as is the case with me and my DH). The fact is whilst you are in front of her, you are the most important patient she has. You should treat her comments as having the weight of a friend's, not a healthcare professional's.
I think I would let your parents know that as far as you are concerned, at the moment you are not 'working things out', you are merely living together because of a set of circumstances outside both of your control. I would not let complacency creep back in if you can, you may (although hopefully not) need them to react quickly on your behalf. DEFCON 3 I think.
Real life friends Merlot know the parts of you they want to see and thosse parts are generally not based on ones problems now becuase old friends/good friends know and remember the girl/woman of 20 years ago and new friends know the girl/women at a point on her journey. I can't quite find the right words for this so will give an example. It's personal and not meant to hijack your thread but I can't think how else to explain.
15.5 years ago our second son died a few hours after being born at 27 weeks. In rl even my closest friends saw the married who carried on putting on her hair and makeup and didn't make a fuss and didn't cry in public and who sensibly got pg again straight away and as soon as dd arrived 51 weeks later no-one ever spoke of Alexander again. I have never got over it; I have gradually and incrementally come to terms with it. Nobody in rl knows about the dark days and the consultant led care with dd because the pg was such high risk. It is only on here that I can talk about it and it is only on here that others have been through similar and can understand.
You do have friends in rl and they are dear and special but just now they can't relate. Also things happen for a reason - I don't know why - but if ds 2 hadn't died I wouldn't have dd and I cannot imagine a life without this adorable 14 year old or the family dynamic we have now. If it hadn't been for that shove OP, you might still be walking on eggshells and feeling miserable. It is all very new but in a year, or two or three - you will be in a different place and it is likely to be a better and a happier place and you will look back on this as part of your journey and when we chose to revisit places we go to the ones we liked not the ones that made us unhappy. Crap - I hope that makes some sort of sense.
Sorry about the typos - please ignore but if I proof this I will delete it or not share what is in my heart.
And if you need some friends even mnet friends - come to a meetup . I will pm you about the next one if I can go.
marriedinwhite, very sorry to hear of your loss of Alexander.
marriedinwhite. I am sorry to hear of your loss of Alexander. You write beautifully of his impact on your family. A lovely post.
I think your point is about friendships, and how many people who are wonderful friends in every other way, just dont know how to cope with crises outside their own experience.
Precisely Porridgelover - they are friends but they don't have the skills to deal with some of the big stuff and are scared of getting involved. Thank goodness for Mnet.
marriedinwhite, Sad for you, but how lovely it must be to have your own special little angel.
I feel your loneliness in all this Merlot. You must be very disillusioned with family and friends right now. So many people live in their own little bubble, and don`t want to hear anything negative, in case it bursts.
My concern at the moment is that you are sending out the wrong signals, by being in the same house with H. I feel that he thinks he just has to do a bit of penance, and grovelling, then all will be back to the way it was. Unfortunately, "the way it was" was wrong on all levels, and it has to be dealt with. Also, what is the little one picking up on? There must be a strained atmosphere, at the very least. Then daddy suddenly giving him lots more attention than he is used to. He is going to be very confused. For as long as you stay in this limbo state, you have no chance of moving on. For your own sake, and that of DS, I hope you are able to face making some decisions very soon. I do know how hard that will be for you, and you are constantly in my thoughts.
Yes married The Fear.
I used to think 'feel the fear and do it anyway' was in relation to big things like visiting a foreign country or going parachuting.
But day to day, it's things like seeing a friend in pain. While I may not know the right thing to say, or be afraid to say the wrong thing, I can still ring for coffee or send a text.
Or the fear of doing the 'wrong' thing with my DC can paralyse me from doing a better thing than I am doing now. (IYSWIM)
Sorry to sidetrack Merlot. But I think married has made a good point about friends. They wont carry you through. But the good ones will cheer from the sides whichever direction you go.
only read OP so apologies for the simplistic response but FUCKING BASTARD!
Married thank you for sharing Alexander with us. I am so sorry for your loss, but your story completely captures how I feel about my friends at the moment and makes me feel less lonely. Also, thank you for your lovely post on Thursday, I was crying reading it and you did remind me that I'm still young in the grand scheme of things, even though I feel about 1000 years old at the moment.
After I finally climbed out of my pit of despair today, I went out for coffee with a friend who has known us both individually and as a couple for years. She's very blunt and honest, but loves both of us dearly. It helped enormously to hear her perspective.
H feels different today somehow. It's as though he's been going through the motions of good husband and dad for the past few days and has now discovered that he actually enjoys it. That he may actually prefer this to being high flying career man. He's stopped with the melodramatic declarations (thankfully), but the few comments he has made have had a ring of truth about them. I don't know. I'm watching and waiting, but something has shifted.
Thank you lovely internet people
Autumn, DS is loving the time with daddy. I swear he's grown an inch in the past week and his speech an behaviour have both improved <shrugs>.
Merlot you yourself are a doctor as is your H. Is it still the case in this day and age, that some outsiders regard certain professions as immune to problems like substance abuse or relationship troubles?
That could account for some people's slowness in grasping your dilemma.
Back to today, I'm glad you were able to talk openly with your friend.
And at last, something's shifted. I hope you feel better - cautious, alert, but no longer that enervating numbness.
DS is still young enough to live in the moment, his dad is his hero.
Unfamiliar as I am with Buddhist thinking would I be far off the mark to think that a marriage would be valued as a partnership of equals, that gentleness and supportiveness would feature strongly? I think H forgot that before and his memory needs jogging, if he'd allow himself to recollect.
PS marriedinwhite an exceptional post thank you.
Yes, you're right about Buddhist thinking Donkeys. H's problem (in his own words) is that he got so caught up in the theory and meditation that he wasn't actually living the principles, that instead he was using it to make himself feel superior. He's given up the regular sessions that were taking up so much time and says he could be a better Buddhist by never going to another class again if he uses the time to put DS and I first instead, which I think I shall hold him to!
I've told him that all this sounds great, but talk is cheap and it's how he behaves in the longer term that will affect whether there is any way forward for us.
Also, virtually all of our friends are fellow Drs, and the medical profession has stupidly high rates of depression, burnout, substance abuse, suicide, marital breakdown - you name it really.
One thing that's really been startling is just how much support there is within the profession in terms of Occ Health services and counselling. Both of our bosses have been very supportive and helpful.
To answer a couple of earlier questions, neither of us know any of the GPs at our practice either socially or through work - we deliberately registered as 'out of area' patients for this reason.
H is not my first 'serious' relationship, I lived with a previous boyfriend for 18 months before I met him, but I've never had anything that would qualify as a healthy relationship, and I ignored some things that made me uncomfortable about H early on because there was so much about us that felt right.
I have no doubt that he has some deep seated values and beliefs that are wrong and cause EA, but I do believe he has it in him to address these things and I do now think that I want the relationship that we could have if he does address them, but also that I could be happy without him if he turns out not to really want to.
Merlot and now I really do feel 100 years old (I'm 52).
Even when there are no problems it is still hard work to make a marriage work for a life time and every life time comes with challenges - some which at the time seem insurmountable - and there is often a need for compromise and understanding and forgiveness on both sides. I also know that the more others are damning and critical of relationships the harder it can be for people to leave them because it isn't just the leaving but admitting that others were right if that doesn't sound too contrary.
Any way good luck and do what you think is right in your heart and what will make you happiest in the longer term.
And sorry didn't want to make your thread about me and didn't expect that sort of response.
merlot , I've been following your story and thinking of you.
I have not long left 'D' P (2weeks) and like you, I have gone through the motions, wavered, thought about slipping into 'all I've known' , heard friends say they don't understand it, how fantastic we are, and how I need to support him.
Posters have made the important comment here that only you and DH know what really happened. Perhaps like me, you were concerned what people would say, about how we should follow the status quo? And it's hard, you love this man, he's stressed, so we instinctively look our for then, right? I did it too. I saw red flags, I ignored them. I thought I was to blame for being chaotic (see name!) when the emotional out downs started.. I was to blame when the violence started 'I got in the way'...
It's taken me 2 weeks , and I dare say a lot longer too, to start really seeing things for what they were. I've stopped the rose tinted glasses and started to remember the aggression, the temper, the excuses, and the emotional excuses for behaviour, which is frankly, inexcusable. I am very sorry for your loss in all of this, please don't misunderstand me. What am saying is there will always be an excuse , a reason, for the OP to lure their way back in, if we let them.
I do not have DC involved in my situation, and I acknowledge the stress and emotional tug that puts in your situation to 'make it work'. Think about what you would say to anyone else in this situation? I appreciate that's hard, and like me you're probably thinking ' this kind of thing doesn't happen to women like me'.
I knew deep down that it wasn't right, but I was prepared to settle because I was broken down to the point that I couldn't see beyond it. I guess slowly and surely I've realised that I am better thsn this, and that my life will progress forward , hopefully with love and respect, and because i made the decision.
Sending you all the love in the world, here for you, as are so many. These are the darkest days, but in many ways the most enlightening too.
merlot you sound super intelligent and really lovely.
whatever is going on/not going on with dh i do hope you're taking care of yourself. was nice to read you'd taken yourself off to a spa for the day and that you've caught up with a friend who it was good to see.
you sound a bit.. numb/detached maybe. thinking you may be a bit of a rationaliser. i am too and there's nothing wrong with it - thinking, rationalising, reasoning etc are all good and useful. obviously we have to do the feeling too and that takes a while if you're a think first person. i spend a lot of energy thinking, working things out, pros and cons, etc etc etc when sometimes it just needs time and for my feelings and instincts to come through and what i call the 'back burner' stuff. that stuff isn't rationalised it just sort of mulls, digests and filters the murk till it clears it up.
i don't believe that at this point you're going to kick him out or that you'll be calling police as others suggest. so stick with the boundaries you do want and have - the spare room, the right not to communicate/act normal if you don't want to, the ability to go off to your bedroom and it be unspoken he doesn't have the right to follow you. don't give up those too soon within the limits you've set (being back in a house together) still get space, watch and wait and let that mulling/digesting back burner stuff do it's thing.
sorry for being so advisory. i believe you that you're not in danger and that you know him well enough to know if you were. just give it time - see how he responds to you actually keeping and maintaining those boundaries - if he continues to respect and accept or if he starts pushing etc.
sorry long post. smart choice on your gp btw - though possibly a different one to your husband would be the more perfect 'boundary'.
Thanks for honest replies to questions Merlot. Feels a bit awkward asking sometimes but lots of helpful answers come back from more experienced posters than me.
If you are both in high pressure jobs with an under school age child, it isn't inevitable there will be problems but if they do crop up it won't help if you can't share the load so to speak. It's asking a lot for a person to meet all of another's needs but at this level of commitment there should be a decent and equal effort to at least accept things don't always go our own way and there's enough mutual support to keep things better than just tolerable.
Somewhere down the road you and H went off track for some reason. I think you've held things together since that drunken moment 8 years' ago but it's all kicked off again. As you say, you didn't want a recurrence every 8 years. People do struggle on trying to keep life normal especially when a DC is on the scene but it's a big lie and you end up losing sight of yourself.
Merlot, just a note on religion (and doctors)... my exH was really into religion and still is in many ways. Not religion as I recognised it. He was very into getting to church on time, but didn't pray or sing aloud when we were there. He would shout at the DCs if we were running late to church, including muttering 'Jesus fucking Christ' as they struggled into their coats. It was religiosity but missing the point of what it was all about. For him religion was something he associated with his very strict family, and appearances meant a lot to his mother and his surgeon father (his father once broke the leg of one of exH's sisters while spanking her when she acted up in church -- no doctor involved in the repair of the child's leg ever asked any awkward questions).
[I know you are a doctor, but some of your colleagues are not very sorted out people and I hope I do not offend you by saying that].
When a massive and undeniable crack appeared in our relationship (he confessed a fling to me) he was almost giddy when he had got his story out (this giddiness evaporated when it became plain that I had lots of questions that needed answering by him), and he urged me to find myself a good priest to confide in, as he had done. This was the same man who told me in all seriousness when we were in the car returning from a bar mitzvah a few years previously that he was very interested in converting to Judaism.
A person who throws himself head first into some kind of spiritual path but who is living his life as if that spiritual element was making absolutely no difference is a person who has:
(1) identity issues, no fixed sense of himself,
(2) grandiosity and possibly some sort of god complex, sadly likely to be magnified by his profession,
(3) no shame, no humility -- he is at front and centre of any religion he happens to hang his hat on.
Many doctors like to fix things for lay people -- for others. They don't like to see themselves as the broken ones. Many don't like to see themselves as people in need of scrutiny or answerable to authority.
Your H's feet are not on the ground. The way he is behaving now has no relation to remorse.
merlot thinking of you, how are you?
Hi Chaos, I'm ok thanks, how are you getting on?
I'm back at work this week and enjoying a bit of 'normality'. H and I are working on what I'd need our marriage to look like in order to be willing to stay. He's working through the men's chapters from 'Should I stay or should I go' and is genuinely reflecting on his behaviour and the beliefs and values that caused it. He has taken over all the household chores and much of the childcare (he's off work currently). It started off feeling as though he was trying too hard and going through the motions, but now he seems to be enjoying it, but is staggered by just how much time it all takes!
He's still in the spare room, I'm maintaining boundaries and a 'well this is great, but it's very early days' watchfulness. I'm sleeping a lot better. I hope we can rebuild from the ashes of our relationship, as I'm really enjoying his company and recognising the man I thought I married, but if it all turns out to be just very advanced 'hoovering', I know now that I can and will LTB. I no longer feel confused or hopeless. I feel strong and knowledgeable. I realise lots of MNers will think I'm just being a mug and getting sucked back in, but thanks to you all and the wonderful Lundy Bancroft, I feel I have enough awareness and tools to be able to give H one last chance, and walk away if he doesn't take it.
Supporting you whichever way you take.
Good for you Merlot. You sound much stronger.
Interesting that he is staggered by the amount of work a house takes....what did he think you were doing?
Keep those boundaries up. And as you are the only one there, and only you have to live with your decision, I echo Donkey.
As much as I urge you to resist the pressure from family and friends to stay in the marriage, equally resist any notion that there is only one acceptable course for MNers.
yeah - agree on the boundaries - keep them up and see if he can continue to respect them rather than expecting them to drop once he's been a good boy for a couple of weeks.
likewise i'm here supporting whatever you decide - just make it open eyed and remember no decision is permanent - new evidence revises judgment which revises action etc...
You sound so much better, Merlot! I don't think I would be too worried about you getting sucked in after reading your update; even if he did gradually turn up the water to boiling again, I think you'd recognise the signs and know to jump out this time. Best of luck with it all.
Good luck. Remember you are his equal - always.
Is he not going to go to counselling of any sort?
I`m with Donkey`s. We are just here in a supporting role. Only you can decide what you want from your marriage, and you are doing just that, but with your eyes wide open, and boundaries firmly in place this time. I truly wish you well Merlot.
I think you are taking the more courageous route. Good luck.
We will be here if you need us - ever. Hopefully to tell us in one, or three, or five or ten years time that it all worked out OK and that you are a very very happy family unit. If not, come back and we will feed you Mnet Merlot and love.
Wow you are really going it the right direction. Just please please try counselling too (both of you), as the best intentions need professional help, change is hard to do.
Thanks for all your good wishes.
I've enjoyed bein back at work the last couple of days, as I was doing clinical stuff, which is absorbing and forces me to concentrate. Today I'm on my own in the office and having difficulty concentrating and feeling actually quite panicky and anxious, though I'm not sure why.
I've just emailed Occ Health to apply for counselling and completed a self-cert for last week, so I guess I'm thinking about it all.
H mentioned over dinner last night that he's feeling some guilt for 'walking away' from his most stressful role at work, as he's dropped his colleagues in it somewhat, and I panicked and had (by my standards) a huge rant at him, which left us both tearful and shaky. He has promised never to go back to that role, and I have made it clear that it's on my list of 'deal breakers'. He says he only mentioned it because he wants everything to be 'on the table' and I can see that's important, but he's never had the same difficulty I have in expressing emotions, and I really can't provide him with emotional support on this.
He has his Occ Health appointment this week and should be able to get some counselling through them.
Oh, and it's lovely relative's funeral tomorrow
Merlot, It`s understandable that you would feel somewhat threatened when he mentioned the extra work, which has caused so much stress to both of you. Perhaps feeling that he was working his way up to suggesting he returns to it. If that was his intention, then he still isn`t getting it is he? Continue the way you have started, by re-affirming your conditions, and boundaries. No one said it would be easy. You are still reeling from what happened, and your anxiety levels will be up and down.
I hope you get the counselling very soon. It will help you get a better perspective on things. Thinking of you.
Going back at work has got you back into a familiar secure role, while you are busy it is a distraction.
Well done applying for counselling, (sorry that sounds patronising), think baby steps, it's been an exhausting time emotionally. The intensity of the past fortnight may well see the funeral affecting you even beyond the immediacy of loss and grief.
Re: last night's upset, it's important to have highlighted those issues you feel strongly about and it's good to air concerns and not just as a fait accompli but to discuss together. Hard to avoid a knee jerk response and heated exchange, as Autumn says it's still early days and you're going to be sensitive for a while to any triggering undercurrents.
AutumnH says he mentioned it just as a comment in passing, that he never had any intention of going back to it, but he understood why I was upset.
I'm getting nothing done at work today! I'm trying to go easy on myself and just do emails and urgent stuff, but I feel guilty sitting here looking at a list of jobs that I'd usually rattle through but that currently require more concentration and intellect than I can muster.
I hope I get the counselling soon, but in some ways I'm dreading it, as it feels like I'm going to be picking the scab off my emotional wounds, iykwim. At times I have an overwhelming urge to just pack a rucksack and disappear, on my own (no H, no DS, no dog, no colleagues or concerned friends or worried family) for a while - which isn't like me at all, usually I'm 'Little Miss Responsibility' (although I do love travelling).
Swallowed, I'm actually usually a very intuitive person, but my 'gut instinct' has either disappeared or I'm somehow subconsciously suppressing it atm, and that's scaring the hell out of me, because I always trust my instincts and feel adrift without them.
When I posted on Monday I felt really strong and clear, and now I just feel too bloody tired for this!
You are still in shock, Merlot.
I thought you were a bit euphoric on Monday. That is shock -- actually the high you get when you want to shut a door on something and think you have managed to do it.
You seem to be a person who likes a settled routine, and can very effectively immerse yourself in activities that occupy your brain. Are you a person who can perform well when you have the security of knowing the expectations and parameters of your job? Maybe you are the sort of person who can adapt to the sort of home situation you described, and perform well there too as long as it remains static, no matter how unpleasant walking on eggshells can be, maybe someone who takes comfort in predictability and shies away from upsets and situations that are extremely open ended like the one you have just gone through.
Hence perhaps the relief that seemed to me to come through your post on Monday -- relief when you thought you could draw a line under it and get back to the emotional safety of work and routine and intellectual engagement and relief that your H had seen the light and was going to do the exercises in the book (putting your faith in intellectual engagement as a way to deal with emotion there) and it would all be settled again.
There is really no shutting of this door possible here without some hard slog through the tangled undergrowth of emotion.
I'm actually usually a very intuitive person, but my 'gut instinct' has either disappeared or I'm somehow subconsciously suppressing it atm, and that's scaring the hell out of me, because I always trust my instincts and feel adrift without them.
Yes -- you are right -- you are not listening to your gut. You are listening to the instinct that seeks emotional safety and is therefore trying to get the gut to shut up. That is why the comment about the job jarred you so much.
Merlot, remember that YOU will be in control of the counselling. A good counsellor will walk with you, metaphorically speaking, to wherever you feel you want to go. Will guide, but never push you beyond what you feel able to present with. Sometimes those "scabs" you mention are infact walls we`ve built to protect ourselves from hurt. You, and only you will know when/if it`s time to knock them down, and face that hurt. Thinking of you.
I'm de-lurking after reading your thread last week and re-reading it today.
Many of the things you've posted here, along with the feelings you're having, remind me of my situation eight years ago: Professional couple; long standing EA that had become an ingrained behaviour; fear of physical abuse - with the occasional foray into something real; one DS; a H trying hard; your complex feelings; still sharing a roof. It's a shitty, tough and lonely road to travel. I really feel for you.
You've got some really good advice and support from people Merlot. The only thing I think I can add to what's been said before is I found the change curve - which I'm sure you've come across - quite useful for rationalising my own, and others, feelings and helping me through my own reactions and others. I've posted a link to a generic overview of it.
Each new piece of information that you're getting, every action by your H and each scenario that you're considering will be forcing you to go through it again, that's why it feels like you're all over the place. Everyone around you will be going through a similar cycle. I found it useful because it reminded me that if family were minimising the situation I should give them more information. If I was feeling strong one minute and out of my depth another I should look at what had made me change that feeling.
Just remember that we are here for you - here for the good days, here for the bad days, here for the successes, here for the not so good times, here to hear about you and about ds. How is DS by the way?
Well, the funeral was lovely. Very peaceful and actually quite cathartic. Feeling tired and a bit fragile now, but ok.
Math yes, this '^You seem to be a person who likes a settled routine, and can very effectively immerse yourself in activities that occupy your brain. Are you a person who can perform well when you have the security of knowing the expectations and parameters of your job?^' is very accurate. I have a lot of difficulty expressing negative emotions, as this was a big no no in my household growing up. I've literally never seen either of my parents openly express fear or anger, and it takes something pretty catastrophic to make them cry. I tend to feel that I shouldn't inflict my negative emotions on others and should manage them myself, but this is too big for that.
Tea, the change curve really helps. I'm familiar with Kubler Ross but hadn't seen it in that format before and it certainly helps make sense of the kaleidoscope of my feelings at the moment. Out of curiosity, did you stay with your H? Was 'trying hard' enough to make a long term difference?
Married thanks for the . DS is on good form as far as I can tell. He's basking in Daddy's attention, sleeping better, behaving better and I'm enjoying his company much more now that it feels less relentless. H is an absolute revelation in terms of his parenting ability now that he's actually dedicating some time and energy to DS. I'm hoping that DS is young enough that if he sees really positive role models and gets lots of positive parenting from here on in, he won't be too badly harmed by the whole experience.
Apologies for failure of italics there!
I'm glad the funeral has given you some peace, Merlot.
i think it's a sign you haven't had enough time or space merlot - that this can't be rushed through on thought and mental level processing but needs time - instincts, emotion, subconscious - they don't just bend to our will and that's good because they have a job to do, an important part of which is protecting us.
the disappearing with a rucksack for a week actually sounds rather good. you need some space and flow for those things like your instincts to reconnect - and yes you probably have repressed them - you've had to in order to live in the same house as him again i should think after he scared the shit out of you.
even a weekend off on your own might be good.
H is an absolute revelation in terms of his parenting ability now that he's actually dedicating some time and energy to DS
Better late than never!
Glad the funeral was calming, Merlot.
Glad you're ok after the funeral.
the disappearing with a rucksack for a week actually sounds rather good.
Seconded. In fact I think this is a pretty good idea in most relationships from time to time. Never mind one where an issue as big as this has come up.
Hoping he can keep it up Merlot. My DH can't but I have compromised because essentially he is a very very decent, grounded moral man. I am always the first to admit that he doesn't do practical or too emotional and got stuck in the childlock of parents who knew poverty and found an enduring Christian dourness. DH can do it spiritually and caringly - he just doesn't do the home-making and has never been able to drop the logging every penny spent and looking at how to save a h'penny. I'd love a more spontaneous fun bit but I accept it's not there becuase nobody showed him how to. He has never scared us though - if your dh ever does that again you come straight back on here for a stern talking to.
Bear in mind too that it's more bearable because DH does stress very well and reached the top and if I were to be entirely selfishs there's a bit of me that would have liked a more hands on husband, but we have worked at it and love each other very much and it would not be easy to sacrifice the income and the power he has achieved for the chance of something that might be a bit more touchy feely only to find out a few furlongs on that I couldn't actually find a better bloke.
Love and hugs and lots more
glad it helps. It really helped me dealing with others too - particularly my parents and siblings who just wanted things to move forward and for me to stay.
To answer your question. No. I did stay with him and then I left. For me, it was hard but ok - that I had to deal with all those things and that I was starting to train my little boy to dance on eggshells but I found in counselling that I had a line. And it was crossed when he admitted to being a bully but dismissed it with the comment "but isn't everyone at some point in their lives". I decided that for my son - I wanted him to experience a life where at least one of his parent's wasn't bullying and that it wasn't normal that one person's wants trumped all. It took a long time to get to that point though.
I'm really pleased that the funeral was one that did justice to the person.
Merlot - I've just seen your thread after some time away from MN. I'm so sorry for all you've been, and still are, going through. I can't say anything any different, or any wiser, to anything that's already been written. Just want you to know that my thoughts are with you and your ds.
If you want to pm your whereabouts (roughly), and if we're in the same area, I'd be more than happy to meet up with you.
I've commented earlier Merlot but just wanted to send some support and encouragement. Do pm me your location if you'd like someone to meet up with.
Take care of yourself.
Thanks JandJ, I've been lurking on your new thread and thinking of you and your DH.
I think you're all right that I haven't had enough time to process it, but at present I have more time to myself if I stay here than if I go elsewhere, as H is cooking, cleaning and spending time with DS so I get plenty of 'me time'. A weekend away by myself sounds lovely and I'll look into it, although I've got a lot on at work at present (can't cancel as it would risk my reputation in the long term and would lose a lot of money in the short term, as it's freelance), so I feel I ought to be spending time with DS a the weekends. I'm keeping March free of clinical commitments so I'll get a break then.
Tea thanks for sharing your story. I think counselling will hopefully help me to figure out my line!
My earlier perception of having no friends may have been a bit premature. Everyone is being lovely, although my friend who I said seemed to be in her bubble seems to actually be having nearly as much trouble with her H as I'm having with mine! We had lunch the other day and a good growl about our men!
Gotta go, dinner's ready! Being waited on hand and foot here.....
try not to let the coincidence that you and her are struggling with them at the same time lead down to the, oh they're all like that, that's what men are bs line.
and the waited on hand and foot is lovely i'm sure but it's not showy displays you need and anyone can make a huge effort for a while. time will tell.
sorry to be negative - just keep your wits x
I feel very uncomfortable when I read your chirpy "oh lucky me, I am being waited on hand and foot" updates
he is a violent man
nothing changes that
you can have a good ole "aren't men crap" chinwag with your mate, but I hope it isn't boosting your "us women are all in this together" bullshitometer
what he has done is not healthy, not by a long shot, and I don't see anywhere that he is properly atoning for it, apart from bringing you a cup of tea or two
I have to say, I'm with swallowedAfly and AF on this. I didn't want to sound too negative either, but the tone from your last post (meeting up with a girlfriend, being waited on etc) almost sounded a little hypomanic to me and I wouldn't blame you for feeling so exhilarated at this point, but as been said, be on your guard.
You mentioned on the last page that he said something about feeling as though he landed his colleagues in it, perhaps I'm overly cynical but I do wonder whether he was trying to give your boundaries a 'nudge' there to see how you would react.
He's on his best behaviour at the moment and knows it. Take care of yourself, you were strong enough to leave the first time x
Six more times to go, statistically speaking.
We can wait it out, math
we always do
Just be very careful with the counselling. Go by yourself.
I thought going for counselling would make him realise that his way of doing things was wrong. It didn't. I then thought the sessions would help him accept that I was leaving - he was/is a supposedly intelligent man. I was wrong - he was still a control freak that used various forms of abuse to try and get his wife and his family back where it should be. It did get worse during the six months we were separating.
Please keep in your mind you've experienced is not normal.
Be safe. If you have any doubts at all ask him to leave again. At the moment your H has you where he wants you, so be very careful when you go through challenging the status quo over the coming months.
Hi OP, been thinking of you!
Am glad that things have settled down and there is more harmony in the home. As other posters have said, and I really don't want to put a downer on things, I do think you have to employ a degrees of realism here; what has happened can't be minimised by short term fantastic DH behaviour. My ex P would do the exact same! Cook me dinner (after going to chemist to get me arnica for me bruises), treat me like a princess , you name it... until the next time!
I know it's super difficult as you work in the same industry, both professionals, shared colleagues , friends, you name it! I had and have the same scenario! I kept thinking 'this doesn't happen to someone like me, I am supposed to be intelligent, have a professional job, this automatically should command this area of my life to not be like this!'
Sadly I have come to the realisation that it can happen to anyone. You can't judge the pull of love and heart strings against logic and DV objectively when you're in it. Which is why you have to leave. And you did. I just worry OP that it wasn't for long enough? Please don't think am trying to judge your situation, am not. Am only speaking from my own and what I've learned and am continually learning.
I'm almost a month in, and a month apart. Am only beginning to be objective now. I am beginning to attach the love (and I still have bounds of it) against the logic, and reason that this is without question the right thing, where before I couldn't.
In the immediate aftermath, and when I did see him once, all I saw was love, a crying, hurt man, my life partner, the one I fancied, the one who held me when I was hurt. I was blinkered by love. I only saw what I wanted to see, I didn't see myself, I didn't what it was doing to me I only thought about him.
It's about you and DC now.
Sending you love
Good luck Chaoscarriesinagain that was a thought provoking and insightful post.
the trouble with counselling (i trained as one) is that the nature of the process is to do address you and your agency/responsibility/choices etc. in the case of domestic violence or spousal abuse that can be really problematic. in most cases counsellors sit in the all-neutral posture - re: they don't name the agent or make moral judgements. again in abuse that is deeply problematic and i know women who have been really distressed after seeing a counsellor about for example sexual abuse because they felt the counsellor was condoning it by not judging it and in some way blaming them by focusing on them and never the abuser.
just something to be aware of.
i think it's important to find the right kind of help at sorting through this stuff and that may not be a generic counsellor.
I dont know what it is about your last post that just doesnt sit right.
I can imagine that there is part of you that doesnt want to lose face by admitting that he (and your marriage) is not as you thought or wanted it to be.
I feel uncomfortable about all the 'good dad' thing he's doing. I feel uncomfortable about him being back in your home with 'his feet under the table'. What repercussions have there really been for his actions. He's having to spend more time with his DS? He has colleague's sympathy for having been stressed?
I feel uncomfortable with how you seem to be 'intellectualising' your own hurt and pinning it as part of the 'cycle of grief'.
I may be well out of line, and you shouldnt hesitate to call BS if I'm wrong.
I've walked the walk of dealing with a highly respected healthcare professional STBXH who has a high profile locally. Who has held up the over-worked, stressed cards. I've been embarrassed to admit what happened to friends. I've had family want to smooth it all over. So I may be seeing my 'stuff' in your story. I hope I'm wrong for your sake.
Thank you for keeping my feet firmly on the ground! The comment about being waited on hand and foot was supposed to be ironic, as this is how his life was up until 3 weeks ago and it's so easy compared to working AND doing everything else, that I feel quite chagrined that he's blaming his behaviour at least partially on stress! To address some of your points:
I'm 'hoping for the best and planning for the worst' at present. H has now proved that he can be a good husband and father when he wants to be, so I'm not going to tolerate any of his pleas that he's just not as capable as me in future. I was completely exhausted even before New Year and much as my parents were keen to help, after a week of DS and I, they were exhausted. I'm using this time to build myself up, rest, exercise, eat healthily, get my academic studies up to date and put some money away as an emergency fund so that I can pay for things like rental flat deposit etc if necessary. I've even had a look online at properties and figured out what I could afford and where and how that would fit with work and childcare. I'm currently applying for a permanent clinical post to give me more financial stability.
I will be going to counselling on my own and have flatly refused couple counselling for the time being. I plan to use the counselling to work through my own emotions and figure out what I want my life to be like and what my 'bottom line' is. I'm aware that I need to reassess all of my boundaries and ensure that they're in the right places and are rock solid going forwards. If I find that the generic counselling isn't helping, I have the direct number for my local Women's Aid office and will contact them for advice about specialist counselling.
I know for certain that I never want to go back to the way things were, but I also have 13 years invested in H and I need to know for myself whether he can actually change now that he's been confronted with my unhappiness and his abusive behaviours. He does accept that he was being abusive and says he doesn't ever want me to feel unhappy and afraid again. In my own mind, I've decided that if I ever feel intimidated or threatened by his mood again, that will be it. No more eggshells, if I felt intimidated or threatened again I'd leave and stay gone (not that I've told H that!).
I do realise that after I've worked through my feelings I may find I don't want to be with him anymore anyway, regardless of his behaviour going forwards. I am definitely suppressing a lot at the moment, but I really don't feel able to fall in a heap just now, and that's what would happen if I let myself feel all this. I'm hoping that I'll be able to work through it gradually rather than all at once, iykwim.
I know that my marriage isn't what I wanted it to be, but I do still think it could be what I want it to be. The difference between 8 years ago and now is that before I just swept it all under the carpet and carried on, now I'm speaking out, learning and challenging him on it. If I left now, I'd never know whether he could have changed and, for myself, I need to know that. If things start slipping again then I'll know that he can't/ won't and will be able to walk away without wondering 'what if?'
sorry to nit pick but does he say he never wants you to feel unhappy and afraid again or does he say he never wants to make you feel unhappy and afraid again?
the former is too close to the 'now don't go thinking and upsetting yourself' faux concern.
swallowed he says he never wants to make me (or DS) feel unhappy or afraid again. You're not nitpicking, it's an important distinction!
good - glad to hear it.
time will tell merlot - keep savvy
you know this is debatable of course but me personally i would do things that press his buttons -things that the 'old him' would've begrudged or got snarky about just to see. i'd make sure lots of everyday life stresses and struggles occurred and that i did all the things i wanted to do but was worried to do back when i was treading on eggshells.
it's ok to 'test' him - it's wise to do so imo.
well, of course
it wouldn't be a proper "last chance" if you both just kept your heads down
I think you need to deliberately do all the things you want to, merlot, and pay no heed whatsoever to his opinion, disapproval or attempts to deflect you
it will certainly mean you get your answer sooner rather than later
If I left now, I'd never know whether he could have changed and, for myself, I need to know that.
Why do you need to know this?
There will never be a final answer to this question you think you need the answer to. As long as there is tomorrow there will always be that question.
You want things settled for once and for all and that can never happen in a relationship, even in a healthy one. The great danger of wanting things settled is that boundaries can come a cropper to that desire.
Merlot you sound as if you are doing some great things to look after yourself and reflect on what you really want when not in the fog of parenthood, work and marriage.
Just logging on to say good luck.
Good luck with the job application. In my experience financial security, and knowing what you can do for yourself, really means the other factors you're considering become much less complex.
I have respect for the way you have decided to handle the situation Merlot. It may not be what others feel is right, but this is about YOU and what you feel is right. Your level of self awareness is admirable, and you have taken control, without ever losing sight of the life changing event that has brought you to where you are right now. Life doesn`t come with any guarantees, but changes can be made, if the people involved truly want that. If that doesn`t happen, then at least you move forward knowing you tried.
I also feel that getting all your ducks in a row, financially, as well as emotionally will go a long way to building up the confidence in yourself, that appears to have been lost somewhere along the line. I wish you well.
I agree with SwallowedAFly. A wise move to refuse to thread on eggshells, refuse to keep your head down, goad him abit if you must.
You need to know if he can change, or if your new life will be one of threading carefully so as not to "set him off". If so, the only one who changes is you, not him.
How has it been this week, Merlot?
Still feels like I'm stuck on spin cycle, thanks for asking saffron.
I feel as though I'm hanging on by my fingernails this morning (not helped by a hangover!), yet last night I had a lovely evening with friends. I had my first counselling session on Thursday and basically talked at the counsellor for a solid hour, but came away feeling lighter (literally, physically easier to move). I'm seeing her again next week. The following day I was ambivalent and angry and deeply resentful of H again. There's certainly no 'eggshell treading' going on, I'm so bloody raw I dont think I could hold it back if I tried!
H has shown no hint of aggression in the face of lots of behaviour from me that would have previously wound him up, and says that although he finds it very painful to see the damage he's done to me, he feels happier than he has done for years now that he's reprioritised. He says he didn't like who he was before and wasn't happy himself, but couldn't see how much harm he was doing to me and DS and felt stuck. He's enjoying being at home and being a house husband and I resent the fact that he's the one who caused the damage, yet he's having a great time whilst I struggle on feeling angry and depressed and exhausted. I'm reacting by not giving him an inch and deliberately bursting his bubble if he seems too cheerful, and I can't figure out if that's ok in the circumstances or whether I'm being childish and spiteful.
I can't concentrate very well and it's starting to affect my work. I think I may have to take some more time off as I can't deal with work because of all this and I can't deal with all this because I'm too tired from trying to keep going at work. I think I need to just concentrate on sorting myself out and stop feeling so damn responsible for everyone else!
DS is on good form still, and trying to work through this still feels like the right thing to be doing, but I'm coming to realise that it's going to take months or years, not just a few weeks, and that panics me a bit because I'm not very good at dealing with uncertainty in my home life.
Will stop rambling on now and go make a !
enjoy the tea.
really does sound hard. i'm struggling to see how he can feel happier than he has been in years in the face of having turned his wife into a wreck. that's... well just wow actually.
i don't blame you for finding that hard to deal with. also very all about him again isn't it?
Yeah, I agree swallowed. Still an awful lot about him.
He finds it very painful (*for him*) to see how much damage he has done????
Lots and lots of counselling I think merlot. Similar to you, I would have left my counsellor feeling as if I had lost a stone, but back to square one within a day or two. It took persistence on my part at changing me to get to a point where exDH's behaviour runs off me.
My very wise, lovely,kind counsellor told me very early on to 'trust the process'.
That is to go with the pain and anger and not to try to control it.
I had trait of wanting to control myself more than accept myself especially when I am being less than perfect.
I feel a bit peeved with your DH and his ability to attract support from work colleagues, friends and to an extent, your family. Really, there has been no downside from this for him has there..... and if you dont go along, you are being the unreasonable, unforgiving one? Hmmmm
You have repressed a great deal over the course of many years. It's starting to come out now. He hasn't repressed enough, frankly, over the course of many years. I do understand to some extent his feeling of liberation over admitting he has a problem and starting his road to recovery - it's how addicts feel, whilst the spouses of addicts may well feel 'well hang on a goddamn minute, what about everything I've endured for the last [x] years?'
Be resentful. And tell him that you resent him - why should you hold back?
Now that he has got the hang of things at home, why not think about having a weekend away just for yourself? (Personally I wouldn't leave my ds with him alone but only you can judge that). You badly need some time to process this in peace - time you've been denied by his return to the family home sooner than you wanted. You must put yourself first - if for no other reason than if you continue to sacrifice your resentment will reach a level where you can no longer tolerate him. The long term future of your marriage is better served by you paying attention to your own needs right now.
The way you describe the present situation Merlot it sounds almost as if he is being rewarded for his behaviour, whilst you are doing all the painful soul searching. He appears to be saying that he has had an epiphany, can suddenly see the error of his ways, and is doing everything in his power to put it all right. That all he is waiting for now is for you to catch up. Whilst this is essentially what needs to happen, it won`t be a life changing occurrence without a lot of help from therapy. At the moment it is just putting a sticking plaster over a very nasty wound.
Whilst your counselling is absolutely essential, your H needs it far more urgently.
Merlot, followed this thread from the start, posted earlier, (about Bancrodt 'types') have ncd recently but wanted to echo what others have said just above: the worrying thing for me here is that it sounds as though shoving you was the best thing that has ever happened to your DH. I mean that he gets to relax, find himself as a dad, has the thumbs up from others because he's 'trying so hard'.
Sorry, you have probably said earlier upthread, but what counselling is HE having? Has he contacted a support service for perpetrators?
Do you feel under pressure to be loving, kind in return, have sex, etc because he is 'trying so hard'.
Agree with others, have a bit of time to yourself, and have a bit of time to yourself with ds too.
Hi merlot been thinking of you. Glad you've had counselling and felt it helped.
Echoing the other things said above re his behaviour in some ways been rewarded. I understand this having recent fond through it; it all become about him, woe him, he had issues, his father died, he was stressed with work, he had nothing to live for.. Need I go on?! ...
I began to feel sorry for him and he turned the situation to his advantage.
Whilst am not saying that's the case in your situation, there are mirrors of it.
You need time away to relax, cry, process, alone. Am still doing it. It's hard as hell, but I need to understand what's happened,
I've said it before (and got flamed for it) and I will say it again
When women take men back without making them feel the consequences of their actions, you reward them for bad behaviour
Time and time again, I see men who have behaved terribly get the support of family, friends, their kids and most of all their browbeaten partner who appears to think they have no choice but to suck it up
you have a choice
I don't see why you should be flamed for stating the
bleeding obvious, AF.
It's commonsense, innit? It's human nature to place more value on that which we've had to make an effort to acquire, rather than that which simply drops in our laps.
i've been thinking about this more.
the bit that worries me is how 'it's all ok now because he's happy'. re: the problem actually never was 'him' as such, it was that he wasn't happy and now that he is happy it will all be ok.
well it was all ok when you didn't make him angry before - cue eggshells for eight years and the one time you did stand up to him and risk the wrath you got terrorised by him (and so did your son).
so now is it 'so long as he is happy it will all be ok'? has he laid out (or is he in the process of laying out the foundations of) new egg shells? this time it''ll all be ok so long as you don't make him unhappy, so long as he doesn't get stressed, so long as he doesn't have to take on too much responsibility at work etc?
of course that wouldn't be instant. but just beware. all of his nastiness previously has been laid to blame on stress and unhappiness. all of his newfound kindness and being a better man is being rested on his happiness. you know that actually decent human behaviour towards the ones we love shouldn't rest on either of these things - stressed or relaxed, happy or unhappy we wouldn't do what he did.
if he's resting it on the externals and just rejigging the externals that are essential for his good behaviour/responsible for his bad behaviour then he's not dealing with the internal shit. he's also still making it 'conditional' - re the problem is the fault of being/feeling/having x and the solution is to feel/have/be y. reintroduce x or withdraw y and where are you?
it also wreaks of magical short cut thinking. it's all instantly wonderful now and will never be a problem again because i've had this epiphany and decided it was all just because of x. change isn't like that. ask your counsellor - in fact just ask yourself because you are having the real 'process' here and know what it feels like - up and down, back and forth, good bits and low bits, tiring, confusing etc. your problem really wasn't that he worked too much or that he didn't do enough wtih ds. it was that his emotional state and well being mattered more than yours and you were a satellite to his reality - tbh i don't think that has changed has it? he's setting the emotional tone and making that the centre and you're expected to orbit it. the piper is just playing a different tune.
That is as profound as it is on the button, sAf.
Hat's off to you - you've produced a well-reasoned and considered piece of work which will be of value time and again on this board.
May I have your permission to reproduce your response in whole or in part, with all due credit to you of course, when occasion arises?
of course izzy. don't know if it fits for others though - was very much just my thoughts on merlot's situation.
it's funny how some posters and threads work their way into your head. i don't actually post that much on mn anymore - will have like one or two ongoing threads on my 'i'm on' list. you've really gotten into my head for some reason merlot and i woke up thinking about what it was that worried me about his latest behaviour so i hope you don't mind me waffling on on here. take care of yourself and make room for your instincts.
Thanks swallowed. This is a subject that I keep coming back to with H, that I'm not going to stand for all this being put down to his burnout because it doesn't matter how burned out a person is, that doesn't excuse abusive behaviour. He gets that. He's awaiting counselling (I'm lucky to have a fab employer who got me seen within a week of referral, H has to wait a month for assessment). I've also called him on the 'magical thinking' quick fix.
To be fair, 'happy' is relative, he's lost a lot of weight since new year which for him is a sign of stress (I've gained weight comfort eating ) and often seems teary, but I've told him I won't/ can't provide him with emotional support for this, so he's holding it together around me and DS. He was utterly devastated when I left (as I don't think it had ever entered his head that I would) and I keep making it clear that I'm staying because it suits me at the moment, but I owe him nothing and our marriage may not survive this regardless of what happens now, but it definitely won't if there's any more emotional or physical abuse, so there have already been 'consequences'. I also think that you shouldn't underestimate the beating his ego and reputation will have taken when he resigned from his important job. Medicine is a closed world and the gossip mongers are already out in force.
I don't feel at all threatened by him atm and would leave again (or ask him to leave) if I did. I appreciate all of you keeping my feet firmly on the ground, but this feels like the right thing for me at the moment and I want to work through my counselling and get some strength back whilst benefitting from the practical support I have here.
great merlot. i'm not saying do x or do y just keep your eyes, instincts and intellect open and appraising.
there'll be plenty of incentive to accept, appease and accommodate so perhaps our duty is to offer the counterweight to that.
funny though isn't it that having assaulted your wife and small helpless child doesn't count as a priority for psychological help?
As I'm not sure what practical support I can give you at the moment have a squeeze. What you're doing sounds difficult and lonely. I hope that someone in RL is providing you with encouragement to look after yourself and prioritise your needs.
hope all is ok merlot. just thinking of you.
Thanks swallowed, I've been struggling to formulate my thoughts into words lately, so haven't been posting.
I've had my 2nd counselling session and found it harder going and much more unsettling than the 1st. I've apparently been suppressing my feelings for so long that I now have difficulty recognising them. I have homework for the next couple of weeks of noting my feelings, accepting them and noting what my thought processes are at the time. The counsellor also warned me not to think too far ahead, so I'm just working on getting through the next couple of weeks.
I've been trying to be kind to myself, taking time out, getting exercise and rest, reading a novel for the first time in ages, doing a bit of shopping etc. I've been seeing friends, but not finding it terribly helpful talking to them about this, as they really don't know how to handle me being honest about my feelings. I enjoy the company, but am now trying to just keep it fairly light.
I'm still very angry and am getting irritated at H being so bloody nice and understanding all the time. I'm telling him how I feel and not treading on eggshells at all, and he's working hard on making amends and working on himself, but part of me is furious with myself for not spotting all the red flags earlier and for allowing myself to become this weak, pathetic little doormat rather than walking away. I'm still not at all certain that I want this life for myself, but all of the dreams for my life that I gave up over the past 8 years would be hard to achieve now as a single parent, so I'm not convinced the grass is greener elsewhere.
It's too soon to be making any big decisions, but I hate being undecided and find it very stressful. I'm just not sure how much more 'working on our relationship' I can take. I realise that there'll be ups and downs (to quote the counsellor) and I don't feel I have the strength for any more downs. I'm sick and tired of being told how strong and kind and giving I am by all and sundry when I feel like being utterly selfish atm.
Thank you for thinking of me. Sorry for ranting again, I wasn't really intending to write so much!
Keep writing Merlot. Its very therapeutic!
I'm glad you're sick and tired of being strong....it's so wearing being saintly! But its part of learning how you feel about things.
The unsendable letter is a great one for letting someone 'know' how they have hurt you or let you down. I thought it was a bit kooky TBH but it works to lance the boil.
My counsellor had a great analogy for feelings...that they are like an important back seat driver. You listen to them politely, you may take their choices into account but ultimately you are the one driving. So you get to choose the direction and the speed. Just dont ignore them, they will get louder and cause the car to swerve if not respected!
I dont think there are many RL friends who can handle that depth of honesty, thats what counsellors are for.Keep your friends for light relief.
And I think there's a lot of repressed anger at DH that has still to come out. But on this one it is definitely better out than in.
The other great piece of advice I got was to treat your 'feeling self' like a darling child. You can be patient and kind with 'her', you can be understanding and fair but you can also know when to be firm and directive.
Just to let you know that I'm still thinking of you too.
And I know what you mean about being honest with friends ... I felt like I was a cut wide open when trying to deal with my feelings following years of abuse from Ex-H - red, raw and throbbing. When I shared I felt like friends and family were trying to cover it up with a plaster rather than allow it to air and heal naturally. Because it was mostly down to myself in the end I got a bit bored of myself
Thinking about you being angry at yourself I'm not sure I have ever got the the point where I'm fully over being angry with myself for not dealing with my situation earlier - most of the time I accept it but every now and again I remember things and I feel cross with myself for suppressing my instinct. I do have a little voice in my head that says thinks like "you did what you had to" which does help me move forward and not dwell.
Anyway, you just do what's right for you and carry on being "selfish" - as porridge indicates looking after oneself and making sure that you have everything you need to live a fulfilled life benefits those around you.
And nice clothes do help
i guess it's entirely possible that that theme of treading on eggshells, being what the person wants you to be etc dance that you've been doing with dh has also leaked into other relationships. might see some of your friendships through new eyes i guess now that you're not bottling things up and being what everyone wants.
the you're so this or that (albeit positive) is kind of oppressive - can feel like being controlled or fed your script of how you must be. for example i try to avoid saying to my son 'you are x, y or z' all the time. he is what he is and what he is growing into iyswim - not what i project onto him no matter how well intended. so i try to avoid it because i've heard so many people say that their mum/dad/whoever always said they were the strong/clever/funny/pretty/insert adjective of your choice one and that made them feel they had to be that adjective - that that was their role.
glad to hear you're trying to be good to yourself and that you are allowing yourself to feel even if it's not pleasant. if you've had a lid on things for a while there's bound to be a fair bit that needs to work it's way out maybe and if anger/frustration/self concern/whatever has been what's been kept down there'll be a fair bit of it to be seen now.
just one thought - it's not 'this life' or 'the life you thought you'd have before this life'. there's also new paths and possibilities. it's up to you and you have plenty of time to work it out. keep posting when you feel up to it x
There's a strong sense of power that comes to the abused when the abuser admits things and promises to make amends. You go from walking on eggshells to feeling alternately fragile as anything and walled up and safe. At least that's how I felt.
But even when he was being nice and promising the world and doing all the things he should be, there was still a lingering background fear.
Because you can rationalise the past away, and you can tell yourself that things have changed, and you can tell yourself that you are now behaving however the hell you want to (and that will sometimes be true), but underneath it all you'll still hear the eggshells.
Just be careful. It's easy not to hold back whilst he's so meek and contrite and everyone knows what just happened, but in a month? Two months? A year? Please watch for signs that you are not trying to placate him.
Not because of the absolute nonsense that you are enabling him, but for the fact that people who are being abused tend to behave as though abuse is going on. Often the best indicator is your own actions. Because they're coming from somewhere in a situation like this. Either from a relationship that has not healed continuing in silence, or by the abuse covertly creeping back in in small ways.
I've known that fear. And it's the most horrible feeling to have to watch yourself constantly. Even when you're trying to mend by not doing it you're still watching yourself, to make sure you're being assertive. Only when being yourself becomes second nature can you know that you are not living with the eggshells.
I hope that made some sort of sense. I tried for 5 years to fix things. It cost me a lot. Now I'm divorced and happy and the dcs are happier than I've ever known them.
I'm not saying you'll end up like me, but don't try forever. It's such a waste of life. There are good men out there without the abuse. It's not something that is to be expected or tolerated.
Ramble over. Sorry.
Wow, you're all so much better at saying what I'm thinking than I am! All your wise words resonate a lot with me. The thing is, one of the things I'm so angry about is that from now on in, If I stay, I'll have to be so vigilant, watching his behaviour, watching my responses, and I really resent that. I feel I shouldn't have to be vigilant in my own home, in my own marriage, but I'm not sure whether its realistic of me to expect to not be vigilant. Maybe everyone has to be a bit vigilant in a relationship? Not afraid, obviously, but just keeping a mental note of whether or not you're being treated reasonably?
I don't want to 'try forever', but how long is long enough to know whether it's going to be possible to work through this? I mean this from my perspective - if H backs off from taking responsibility for himself and working on himself, that would be the end for me anyway. I guess it's too soon to tell. You mention being yourself becoming second nature, but I'm struggling to 'be myself' even when I'm thinking about it at the moment. I seem to have lost my sense of self .
That's it. So now he's treating you well... Erm... You were always treating him well, it's not a chore to show respect. But you go from being treated badly to having to watch and protect yourself from it happening again.
I honestly don't know if that feeling of just being you,can ever come back with that worry in the back of your head. I don't know. For me the moment of truth came when XH decided he wanted to forget it all, brush it under the carpet, and move on. So his treatment of me became my problem. All the hurt and fear I still felt that needed to be dealt with wasn't an issue to him. As far as he was concerned he was no longer hurting me and my reminding him of it (I.e. by wanting to calmly discuss the reasons why things had happened so I could be reassured that they wouldn't happen again) was painful for him.
This was after promising the world.
In a scenario where your H was looking after you emotionally as well as practically perhaps that would be different, but some of the things you've written here have alarm bells ringing for me.
Don't keep your feelings quiet to keep the peace. If you are still angry or scared or hurt it is not for other people to tell you when you're healed. You make that decision (for you and not for him)
You won't be yourself yet. It took years of subtle pressures to break you down, it'll take more than a month to build yourself back up. But you're heading in the right direction.
And you're doing it with incredible strength and dignity.
Being single is easier than being in the eggshell world, and you'd be amazed how many lovely men are out there. I have one now, and I can't imagine feeling afraid of him. If he ever did inspire that feeling I don't think I would even question myself. I'd go. Life is too short.
I can't half go on!
It isn't "normal" or to be expected to be "vigilant" in a relationship. That means you accept you take the responsibility for someone else's behaviour.
The only relationships where someone is unable to relax, be themselves and trust the other person to not hurt them are unhealthy ones.
I know what you mean about having lost your sense of self.
I think it is normal to have to find that again - personally I decided to start with the person I was at 21 - I met ExH at 22. I liked her. She knew what she liked doing and had fun and had a good set of friends. I have spent the last eight years drawing out the essence of that person and incorporating my experiences since. My self is nourished and content. Getting back your mojo can be done.
Only you can decide how long is long enough .... for me it was a mere couple of weeks from the point the scales fell from my eyes. We are all different. You will know - if you don't already know - when the cost outweighs the potential benefit.
I don't know about the vigilance bit - if you're constantly monitoring the other person's behaviour then I can see how it would be unhealthy, but monitoring your own behaviour surely isn't so terrible? I mean, it's certainly tiring but the overall outcome can be positive I think.
I tend to monitor my own thought processes quite a lot because I am petrified of turning into my mother, who (so she claims) never 'realised' she was being such a bitch to us. She never analysed her own feelings but simply vented her bile onto us. I have a lot of similar personality traits to her and am scarily certain that if I didn't
obsessively self-monitor then I'd be repeating the same abusive patterns again. It can be exhausting (and frankly a bit boring - navel-gazing becomes tedious quickly) but I feel it's made a major positive difference in my life.
Merlot, I think you're watching yourself for signs of unthinkingly kowtowing to your H's opinions/behaviour and sternly telling yourself 'No!' when you find you're doing it. IMO that's a pretty good thing for you to be doing. It must be a hard habit to crack as you've been doing it for so many years.
I agree with those above about losing yourself. And would like to reassure you that if you work on it (and you sound as if you are..).it will come back.
Back to the analogy of the child you...she is hiding and scared and not sure that she is safe, but she'll come out once she knows you are protecting her.
Trust the process, it's early days.
As others have said, you'll know when the real you comes back.
it'll come merlot.
but my experience of 'being yourself' or refinding yourself after life changing events is that it isn't about going back somewhere or to who you used to be. we can't rewind time. it's more about reaching a new place with who you used to be, what you went through and where that has led you assimilating into a new perspective - maybe some shifted values, some unknown resources you didn't know you had, some beliefs discarded because having been tested they have proved not to be useful, some new found commitments and ideals that have emerged etc etc.
it's not same or back itms. it's through and on.
whether he is in that future or not remains to be seen. let yourself digest, reflect, do and be and see where that takes you. it may take you further with this thinking that actually you don't want to spend your life vigilant and trying with someone you know capable of hurting you, disregarding you, making you live on eggshells to comply with their emotional supremacy. it may not.
time i guess. time and keeping facing stuff rather than sweeping it away. there's no way back except by forgetting what you have found out - and you can't afford to do that and where would it put you anyway? back to eggshells or back to the 'before' the eggshells - well you can't go back there because you know now - there's no way to unknow what he is capable of or to unknow that you let 8 years of your life pass tiptoeing.
sorry i'm waffling on! hope you're ok x
and fwiw i think that acute awareness that tiptoeing is no way to live and you never want to do it again is a GOOD thing!! your instincts and sense of self worth and preservation kicking back in
MY wholeheartedly agree with saf about the no going back. The me I am now is a new me. And I can also say a much better me than I have ever been before.
Being vigilant beyond a normal inactive level is exhausting. You will never feel safe enough to truly be yourself whilst you are having to watch him. Trust won't and shouldn't return quickly. It's a long process.
Getting rid of his triggers to be angry will reduce the frequency of his anger, but it does not change the man. We all get angry sometimes. It's healthy. But you fear his anger, for good reason, and so does ds. So it's not about finding ways to stop him being angry (although of course bringing that down is a good thing) it's about him dealing with his anger in a civilised way towards you and ds.
Be careful to make that distinction.
He is not doing great if a year down the line he has never been angry again. He is doing better if he gets angry at normal things and you do not feel at all fearful or disturbed by the episodes.
I've just spent 4 days in bed with the flu, feeling vulnerable and exhausted. H has been very kind and thoughtful, but he's going back to work this week and I'm scared that the bubble is going to burst. I've told him this, and he tells me this isn't a bubble, that he's not going back to being the man he was etc, but he also said 'and when have you known me not keep a promise?'. I pointed out that he'd been promising me things for 13 years, that in fact he'd made marriage vows to cherish me etc and had broken those, so his words, whilst nice to hear, don't mean a great deal to me any more, and his actions are what's important.
The whole episode has made me feel claustrophobic and a bit smothered, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I have lost so much respect and trust that I had for H and I'm still so very angry. Although its great to have the practical care that he's providing at the moment, I find his attempts at emotional care clumsy and annoying. I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to get over what happened, even if H is permanently changed. I know it's early days yet, and I shouldn't think so far ahead, but I'm beginning to think that I don't want to give this any more time. That maybe I'm done with this marriage. And that makes me feel pretty desolate .
You don't have to get over this.
You have been emotionally battered and beaten down into a squashed corner of your mind to protect yourself for 13 years.
There is no way you can be fully healed or over what your H has done to you and back to trusting him in 6 weeks!
It is going to take time and lots of it.
If you try and decide to stay in your marriage that is the harder option.
If you decide your marriage is over there is nothing wrong with that.
If you try and fix your marriage and change your mind, there is nothing wrong with that. You have been damaged by your H over all these years.
It's like finally realising the car you have had for years isn't worth getting through the next MOT and having to scrap it. Nothing wrong just another decision about something irrepairable.
i'm glad to hear you're going on actions not words merlot. absolutely right way to do it.
i'm not surprised you have found it clumsy and irritating. it's all so self-congratulatory and smug sounding you know? obviously i'm judging from outside but he really does sound so very pleased with himself for acting like a vaguely decent human being for a few weeks. woopy doo!
sorry to hear you've been ill. hopefully with him going back to work you'll get a bit more space x
something just popped in my head.
i went to study a religion in a country of that religion as part of a year out of my anthropology degree. i studied it by a process called, 'participant observation' - i lived it. i called my mental/emotional/spiritual state a kind of 'suspended disbelief'.
the state you are living in reminded me of it. you are trying to suspend disbelief or judgement - to be there and in it and giving a chance whilst retaining some part of yourself that observes and can/will remove itself from the situation at some point. it's a strange state but you can learn loads in it! i was simultaneously a practicing member of a religion and community and a detached observer - it was odd and in the end quite disorientating and i kind of lost myself for a while.
sorry this may be totally irrelevant but that state i call 'suspended disbelief' and my memory of what it was like in there was really called to mind by your situation - might be worth a bit of reflection.
Thanks Xales. I don't really believe yet that it's ok to change my mind about staying. I'm terrified of making the wrong decision, whether that's staying or going. There's a lot of social pressure to stay.
I realise that I probably need more time and that making big decisions whilst suffering flu probably isn't wise. My DM says that everyone she knows who's divorced has expressed a wish that they'd stayed and worked harder at their marriage (although her social life is so couple-orientated I can see why you wouldn't want to be single in her world).
I'm just not sure how well I can heal while H is still here, but I don't think its fair on him for me to leave again unless I mean to stay away. Not to mention the practical difficulties involved.
Hi swallowed, I'm very interested to hear you've studied anthropology, I've always fancied that! I know what you mean by participant observation, having covered the theory of it for my Masters. I think your 'suspended disbelief' sums up my mental state pretty well, and it's exhausting and easy to lose oneself in it and slip back into old patterns. I guess I'm worried about 'going native' before I've had chance to really get my strength back.
I don't think H means to be self-congratulatory, I think he's just being enthusiastic about embracing change, but yes, it's bloody annoying how it comes across.
yep - i nearly ended up married and keeping goats merlot but that suspended bit saved me by kicking back in. keep yours alive. personally i think he should have moved out and this time should have been spent separately but that's not the situation you are in.
at the goats!
We went out for lunch and a gentle walk this afternoon, and getting out of the house after 4 days has helped my frame of mind enormously.
I actually raised the fact that I really miss the city where we used to live and would like to move back there. We moved as its more convenient for H's work here, although there's not a lot going on around here, as its a rural and fairly deprived area, and I still commute back to the city. We talked about the pros and cons openly and without him shouting me down (this is one of the areas where he would have insisted he was right before). He even offered to arrange some viewings! Obviously I don't want to make big decisions about things like houses just yet, but it felt very promising.
Maybe I'm being led down the garden path and he'll revert to type soon enough, but a move might not be a bad thing anyway. I'd have a lot more freedom and life would be a lot easier in the city, with friends and work close by and more opportunities to get out and build some independence. Its certainly where I'd want to be if we split up, so why not live there anyway?
Sounds like a move to where you feel more comfortable would be a good step towards rebuilding your relationship - both with yourself and with your DH. And if it does turn out that he reverts to type, it puts you in a less vulnerable position as well. Perhaps think how differently you might have responded when he invited himself back in to the house the first time if you'd have had a better support network to call on around you.
You say you don't think it's fair on him to ask him to leave again (despite the fact he came back whilst you were still trying to process what happened) but if it is the difference between saving and ending your marriage it may be the right thing to do. Putting his feelings before your own is an example of falling back into old patterns.
What work is he doing on his personal problems, Merlot? Is he still awaiting counselling? Why is he going back to work if he hasn't started that process yet?
living near work and friends and with more going on sounds like a great idea.
i guess just be careful that getting immersed in all the business of moving doesn't sweep things under the carpet. easy to go native when you get caught up in a lot of busy purposefulness.
Would it be possible to rent in the short term?
I think a move to allow you to live your life well would be good. SAF is right about one pitfall. The other is buying a home that you fall in love with but can't afford by yourself - I would counselling at this point, when you already, rightly, feel angry, against putting more pressure on your relationship by feeling financially dependent on your H for the life you want.
If renting isn't for you then either buying at a price where you know you can afford the mortgage yourself if you have to or accepting that you and your DS would be prepared to leave the house if it came to it.
I think you're doing really well working through a difficult challenge.
Yes, it would be possible to rent for a while. I'd have to be pragmatic about houses anyway, as we couldn't afford anything as nice as our current house in the part of the city I'd want to live in. If I was funding independently I'd be looking at a much smaller house/flat so I'd have to accept being prepared to leave the house if it came to it. I don't generally get attached to material things very much. When I left on 2nd Jan, fully expecting to not go back, I didn't think twice about the house.
There's no hurry with moving. My counsellor advised me to not think too far ahead, so I'm going to try not to get caught up in the 'busy purposefulness' as saf puts it so well, as I agree it could be a distraction. I have a tendency to get very enthused about projects and jump in too quickly, and I don't want to exhaust myself any further at the moment, but it would be lovely to regain the independence of city living and to be near to good friends again.
Just on the topic of getting bored with the constant vigilence - I think Patricia Evans talks about this in her book on verbal abuse. Might be worth a read. She does believe that some verbal abusers can be "fixed", but even in those cases, the women in her case studies sounded a bit weary, and wondered whether it was really worth all the effort.
On the other hand, I would be wary of making any decisions after a few days of being ill at home. It does sound like the right thing is to let things unfold by themselves for now.
Thinking too far ahead tends to give you excuses not to deal with the here and now, and it`s easier to do that. You really do have to process all that`s happened in the last eight years, and how it`s brought you to where you are now. By all means examine thoughts, make plans, for the future, but don`t allow them to distract you from what`s going on for you, right now.
Has H started his therapy yet Merlot?
I did wonder if the illness made you think, Merlot 'what if he chooses now to go off on one again?'. When you knew you simply didn't have the reserves of energy to deal, placate, or follow through on the threat to leave again. It requires you to be in a constant state of readiness which is not sustainable.
You should, I hope, be able to share those feelings with your DH, because you need to resolve them together.
H has his first therapy session this week, Autumn. I will have to beware of not letting myself get distracted from my own process (which is very tempting sometimes!).
Tribpot I did feel very vulnerable when I was Ill, but had difficulty figuring out that that was what I was feeling and why. It seems my counsellor is right that I find it difficult to identify my feelings and the thought processes that lead to them, let alone share them, but I was able to share those feelings with H and he showed genuine remorse for being the cause of them and also did his best to reassure me. however without trust, verbal reassurance means little, so there's no short cut to the vigilance [frustrated emoticon]
Nickname I'll have a look for that book, the case studies sound interesting.
Well, things are feeling a lot more settled this week. H is actually taking the initiative with looking at our finances and getting the house valued so we can discuss a possible house move from a position of knowing the information. We're both working at our own processes with individual counselling and communicating really well. I feel safe for the time being. DS is thriving - I hadn't really realised that he wasn't thriving before, but he's really happy and relaxed and developing at a rate of knots atm. H is more relaxed and cheerful than I've seen him in years (other than when he gets upset thinking about what he put me and DS through), despite having continued with all the household stuff as well as being back at work.
I'm hopeful, but exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. Work was really tough last week and I'm hanging on waiting for March when I'll be able to have a break from my clinical commitments. I've booked a beach holiday for the 3 of us (H never used to agree to beach hols, always wanted to be doing something active, even though active hols with a baby/toddler take a lot of organisation and logistics (which, of course, I used to do...)) the thought of a week just messing about with DS on the beach sounds like bliss and I'm quite excited.
I'm still very impatient and keep having anxiety about the whole trust issue. I do feel H has accepted that he's abusive and needs to make fundamental changes, and is doing his best to do so, but I also have times of thinking that maybe I'm not the best person to judge that, and how can I know it's not just another part of the cycle, which it may be, but then how do i know unless i give him chance etc etc ad infinitum.
I also think I'd got quite attached to the idea of living alone (with DS of course), as I've never lived alone (moved out of shared student flat and in with H at graduation) and always felt I would have liked to live alone for a while. I think I'm probably romanticising the whole thing, but I wish I'd had the strength to refuse to move in with him for a couple of years initially - although at the time it didn't seem financially feasible, with hindsight it would've been fine.
Not sure where I'm going with all this - I came on here to say 'hi' and 'thanks' and didn't mean to ramble on again...
Glad things are going well for you, Merlot! The beach holiday sounds wonderful. I'm not surprised the constant vigilence about your feelings and everyone else's feelings and actions is exhausting. Best of luck with it all!
nice to hear how you're doing.
i think it is really positive that you are able to see a good side to living alone and an appeal to it. i also think that that reflecting on when you left uni and what you might have done is a good sign that your 'self' as i think you put it is re-emerging. there's a merlot perspective and feelings and narrative rather than just wife/mother etc. it's also part of the 'participant observation' thing - there is a you to some degree separate to your life/marriage/present observing and reflecting itms.
i know it must be uncomfortable in some ways but it's good - you're not going native or slipping back in as if nothing happened and everything is the same. and you are remembering yourself.
as you know time will tell. both in how he behaves and in how yourself emerges through this. he may keep it up and be fine but you may grow beyond the relationship and want out. you may decide you want to stay and work at your marriage and then he starts behaving badly again. he may keep it up and you may fall in love with him again. it's just time isn't it?
whilst it feels really uncertain that's life really - it is all uncertain and never sewn up. it's not the image of life and in particular marriage that we're sold (and they all lived happily ever after) but it's the reality i think - that we keep choosing every day and one day we might choose differently or someone we've assumed we can rely on might choose differently.
sorry waffling on but trying to say you are living in reality, not sleepwalking. sleepwalking didn't you a lot of good really did it? reality is ok! good, bad, confusing, blissful, happy, sad etc etc etc. codependency, pretending you have no control or choice over your life, pretending everything is fixed and set and you're not making choices etc etc are not healthy ways to live imo and certainly not any kind of mature way to live ones life? all getting a bit of meaning of life ish sorry but this is it! mindful living.
You're right (as usual) swaf, sleepwalking was doing me no good at all. I've been reading a bit about codependency and although it mostly doesn't fit with my core beliefs, I can recognise some of the elements from the way I'd been thinking over the past few years. I saw my DM sacrifice a lot of herself for her relationship with DF, so I really did believe that marriage is about always putting the other person first, and of course, H was reinforcing that when I did manage to express my feelings and made me feel selfish... All I know for certain is that I do have core beliefs, as they are what led to my discomfort about the relationship prior to 'the shove'.
I am busy identifying my boundaries and feel quite clear that if I feel that frightened/confused/depressed/ashamed state of mind returning, that its more likely to be him causing it than me 'going mad', and I refuse to live like that. I gave so much, and kept on giving and changing myself to fit, trying to keep my marriage going, and the thing that (if anything can) will have saved it is me leaving, becoming more selfish and being more demanding of H. It feels ironic.
I realise that I don't cope well with uncertainty in my personal life, so I guess that's something I need to work on in counselling, as its not going away anytime soon, is it?
Thanks for the good wishes Nickname, it makes me feel stronger to know that there's support here when I need it, and a different perspective to the traditional 'the wife must make the marriage work' view that I get from RL.
Nothing to add except 2 of the maxims I adhere to:
1. The only thing you can be certain of in life is that nothing is certain
2. The only thing that is constant is change.
We're works in progress and whether some of us appear to be making more progress than others depends entirely on where we're standing when we assess our own passage through life.
it's never going away.
the shock people go through when something changes or catastrophe or finding out their husband is having an affair or whatever is that jolt awake from sleepwalking. we want to believe things are permanent, fixed, safe, predictable but everything is phases and cycles really and can suddenly change. for example this phase you're in now - mum to a young child, juggling work and home and relationship etc - it feels like forever and 'life' but it's one phase and it will pass and other phases will come. so people talk about 'empty nest syndrome' and really i guess that's about sleepwalking too, forgetting that you're on a long journey and nothing is forever and you will have to change and re-establish over and over.
in many ways it can be reassuring to keep that in mind. i had a sudden moment of remembering it the other day - that this was just a chapter and not the 'all' of me, my life, my story.
river keeps flowing and all that cheesey malarchy
ooh i've got joni mitchel playing in my head now
You just need to make sure that you stay true to your core values ... the rest will follow.
do you have any kind of faith or practice merlot? ever done meditation or anything like that?
it can be really helpful during times like this to develop that side - am thinking of mindful meditation and self compassion practices and how they help with the accepting what you're feeling and being able to rest in uncertainty and stuff.
I'm a deeply secular person swaf, I've never felt comfortable with faith/religion. I have tried some mindfulness practices in the past, but given that H's Buddhist practice was used by him as an excuse to manipulate me and justify his own selfish and abusive behaviour, I'm steering well clear of that side of things. I realise it's him at fault and not Buddhism per se, but I get very angry just thinking about it, so I don't think I'd be able to practice anything like meditation at the moment, as in my mind its all linked. I find walking/ running outdoors and just focussing on being in the moment whilst doing that is helping.
Thanks for the suggestion
i never saw you replied - just came searching for your thread to see how you're dong.
meditation stuff can be totally secular btw but i understand the associations for you.
how are things going?