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need perspective

(64 Posts)
smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:00:43

my partner and i are splitting up. We've been together 13 years. In many ways we get on amazingly well, but from the start, we've had these godawful rows. It's pretty much because he's angry with me, and I can understand many instances why. I know I've made many mistakes, but people do, and it's not been like I don't want to do what I can to help things be how he needs or even likes them to be (he's certainly done that for me). But the technicalities of the row are such that, when he explodes in a fit of temper, he's very verbally aggressive, and accuses me of having done/not done things on purpose, not giving a shit about him (this is obviously, how he feels by my not having done/not done the thing that upset him). When I tell him my side of the story, he dismisses it entirely. He tells me it's excuses/bullshit, and continues to what feels like verbally attack me – not let me speak, dismiss everything I say as crap, shout, be verbally abusive, call me horrid names, tell me again what my transgression is and how nasty I am. I get more and more upset because he won't let me say anything, and the row escalates until I manage to leave (he physically blocks me for a long while) because I feel I can't participate in the row. His feeling is that he has told me what he wants from me "nicely" many times. When he sees me not producing the goods over and over again (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't – I'm a working mum and the main carer for our offspring – but that isn't good enough), it makes him feel more and more not cared about, until he explodes. But the upshot is that, in the entire marriage, we have not resolved a single row.

The things he gets upset about were mostly practical things, but also, me "not noticing" what he needed and providing it for me.

He tells me I have never said the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, which is why he has never listened to me – and that I talk a load of crap.

I have tried to keep trying to say my side of the situation, to say it later that day, to bring it up the next day, the next week, the next month, a long time later. I've tried to change the language I use (until I get so upset at him not letting me into the conversation, I revert to classic "what not to say in a row" language). The only thing that has ever calmed him down when he's upset is if I don't say anything at all about my own feelings/my side of the story, but instead, simply focus on him and his feelings.

In other ways, he's been the perfect partner, and he feels that all he has done for me should be evidence that he loves me – I shouldn't need him to listen to me in a row – I should just shut up and do what he wants to prove I love him. But I have felt like I'm the baddie, I'm the crap one who doesn't care/do as much as the other person (for the other person), that I'm always letting the side down. And I have also always felt that it's not me he loves, but a "better" version of me that he's waiting for me to turn into. After all, if he loves me, why won't he listen to me?

We've been to 3 sets of counsellors. No joy.

Little bit more info – I'm messy, he's OCDish, I'm in the moment, he's a planner. In many ways, these opposites come together very well. But I know my lack of organisation really pisses him off.

Apparently, our splitting up is entirely my fault, and he hasn't let me down in any way at all.

What do you all think? Bear in mind that he has really worked hard in our lives together, and although I've worked to my full capacity (which is lesser than his – he's quicker, brighter, better than me at many things), he's felt throughout that I'm not pulling my weight, which he takes as proof that I don't care about him.

CartedOff Sun 10-Feb-13 22:06:06

He's a bully. That's about the long and short of it.

"The only thing that has ever calmed him down when he's upset is if I don't say anything at all about my own feelings/my side of the story, but instead, simply focus on him and his feelings."

He'd be happy if you applied this technique to the whole relationship (hell, to the whole life you share together) and simply did what he wanted. These rows have just been his rage at the fact that you're not changing your behaviour to fit his existence. He's angry that you're not doing what he wants.

Like I said: a bully. An abusive person.

yaimee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:06:43

Of course it isn't all your fault, as in every relationship, I'm sure there has been wrong on both sides.
It sounds like you have both tried hard to keep things together, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, things can't be worked out.
It's so sad and I'm so sorry, but try not to keep replaying things over and over, it won't help, only hurt!

He is blaming you for things that are nothing to do with you, but all to do with him.

Time to move to the next stage of your life when you are responsible for your own happiness and nobody tells you otherwise.

Tits and teeth!

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:07:35

Thanks CartedOff.

"These rows have just been his rage at the fact that you're not changing your behaviour to fit his existence."

That rings true.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:08:06

But should I change my behaviour to fit his existence. Isn't that what people do for one another?

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:11:14

NorksAreMessy and Yaimee – Yaimee's right. It does hurt, replaying. But I want to know if I'm "the kind of person no one can live with because I'm so "fucking selfish", as I've been told over and over again. I don't want to feel I should just give up on love forever.

yaimee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:11:27

Does he change his to fit yours?
People comprise, it's not up to one person to change to fit in with the other, its about meeting half way. Is he willing to do this for you?

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:13:18

Well, he doesn't change things about him that are "him" (ie, worrying endlessly about things so not letting anyone else relax if he's wound up), but he has done a lot for "us" and me – realised things that made my life easier.

He feels he has gone past half way, and I have not come close. But like I said, I'm working at full capacity. If I was how he wants me to be, I'd live every moment with a board and checklist and could think of nothing else.

CartedOff Sun 10-Feb-13 22:16:18

"But should I change my behaviour to fit his existence. Isn't that what people do for one another?"

Not in a situation like this, no.

I was once in a relationship with someone with similar behaviour. It was years ago but I remember very clearly the semi-amused bewilderment that came when listening to this guy rant about something I'd done wrong, that I had no clue about. I'd just be going about my life and then bam, fury. Once, he had a massive go at me about the fact that I was coming back to his house, despite the fact that he'd been hinting at it all evening. Eventually you realise that there is no way to make them happy! It can't be done. There will always be something that you're doing wrong!

There just isn't any way to change your behaviour to make him happy without sacrificing yourself in the process, second-guessing everything and becoming downtrodden.

He has had you put into some tiny little category at selfish girlfriend/eventual partner since Day one, by the sounds of it. Not because that's what you are but because that's what he needs to believe to justify his shitty, awful behaviour. He has perpetually made himself out to be the victim when it's you who has become the victim of his manipulations.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:19:20

Carted, Everying you are saying makes sense.

"He has had you put into some tiny little category at selfish girlfriend/eventual partner since Day one" He thought of me as selfish since before we were together. He's very critical, of lots of people. Was your mad ex always criticising others, too?

yaimee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:19:55

Well to me, having that kind of expectation isn't meeting half way at all, it's expecting you to change entirely.
Making you feel as though you haven't tried hard enough is a big issue too, you can only do your best, if this isn't good enough, realistically what more can you do.
He may have done a lot for you but I'm sure you've done a lot too, all you owe him is your best effort, it sounds like you've given him that and more. It sounds like it's time to draw a line now.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:24:12

Yaimee – I've hit a brick wall and that's why I ended it. I actually feel I can't do more, and I'm feeling very exhausted and have very little emotional energy. I live in fear of rows starting because, when his temper flares, I know there is nothing I can do to avoid the row except "give in" – sooner or later.

I'm so relieved to hear all this from you and CartedOff. My friends say similar things, but when strangers tell you the same, that is good perspective.

Thanks so much.

LemonDrizzled Sun 10-Feb-13 22:26:00

smells I lived with a man like yours for 28 years. He was cleverer and kinder and harder working than me, and I always felt I wasn't good enough. Eventually I was so miserable I behaved really badly and decided to leave. Guess what? It wasn't me at all. I am actually a capable kind fun person in my own right.

Your H is being impossible demanding trying to make you into something you are not. A lot of what you say about him resonates with me. Have a look at the links on the EA support thread as you will recognise a lot of his behaviour.

It maybe that despite your best efforts you would both be happier apart. You could find someone who appreciates you for who you are and doesn't want to change you, and he could find the paragon Stepford wife who would put up with him and live up to his standards!

CartedOff Sun 10-Feb-13 22:26:48

It was mostly me. But he'd go off on other people occasionally and in childish ways for doing something wrong. The worst was saved for me though, especially when he'd been drinking: the criticisms were ridiculous and impossible to negotiate with. I was mostly "rude" and "immature." I never realised just how fucked up it all was until a long time afterwards. I think what you'll probably find hardest to accept is that actually you are quite a giving and caring person who for a long time has tried to make your partner happy but not sacrifice the children's happiness/care in the process. You're not selfish at all. But 17 years under that label has probably filled you with doubt.

Have you noticed yourself over the years becoming more and more giving in certain ways in order to fend off this crime of "selfishness" and prove yourself to him?

yaimee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:29:27

Be brave op and keep your chin up, don't allow him to make you feel as though this will happen in every subsequent relationship, it won't.
Sometimes relationships don't work, sometimes people are incompatible, sometimes men are bastards
It isn't all you, you aren't selfish and you will be happy again!

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:34:32

Lemon,

I feel I am a kind and capable person, but him telling me otherwise for such a long time has really made me doubt myself. But when he shouts, I don't even understand what he is telling me about me. Yet I wonder if he's right – I am inherently selfish (I always felt there was something wrong with me as a child, which would explain why I was ostracised) and no one will ever want anything to do with me again.

What is EA – emotional abuse? It's difficult to think of him as an emotionally abusive person (am I a typically emotionally abused person for thinking this way?). But I can imagine him with a stepford wife!!!

He's done a great job on you, hasn't he. You actually believe this bully is better than you shock

Let him blame you for the break up. Smile sweetly. Tell him you're setting him free to find little miss doormat perfect.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:36:07

Carted, What a fucking wanker.

Perhaps I will also realise how fucked up it has been later. I am finding it hard to accept I'm not what he says I am... Yes, filled with doubt. Trying to get perspective.

Yes, I've tried to do all sorts of things to "prove" myself, but it turns out they were never the right things!

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:36:53

Yaimee – thanks

I need to hear this.

Thank you.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:38:22

Tallwivglasses, yes, I suspect he's done a fantastic job on me.

But I really think he actually believes what he says about me. In that moment, and then forever after, he believes it truly, I feel. I don't think this is calculated. I think he NEEDS to feel like that.

zcos Sun 10-Feb-13 22:45:51

I was in a similar situation some years ago ... the ocd thing rings true for me ... I used to disorganised his cds when I got angry with him. We split and it wasn't until I was with my now dh that I realised it doesn't need to be that hard! yes relationships need to be worked at its not all smooth sailing but it doesn't need to be sooo hard either just because you love them. I felt traumaticised for years after and it took me a lot to trust dh and believe he wouldn't let me down too. but I'm so glad I moved on I felt like a cloud had lifted 2 weeks after I managed to stop seeing him...it was hard even after we moved out of the flat we shared!
this won't be easy but take courage!

OxfordBags Sun 10-Feb-13 22:57:50

The reason why you felt like that as a child is because there was some sort of abusive element to your childhood, even if it is not immediately apparent or obvious to you if you casually cast your mind back. This abusive element that created that thought in your mind also pre-disposed you to doubt yourself when a partner emotionally abuses you and to believe him.

Everything you say about him is classic EA stuff. All your reactions, beliefs and questions about shouldn't you change, perhaps it is your fault, magnifying trivial flaws in your personality to blame yourself instead of him, etc., etc., are classic reactions to EA.

What you need to realise is what he says, how he talks and acts and reacts, are not actually anything to do with you, they are to do with the object he calls My Woman. He would be this way, say these things, accuse such crap to any woman in a relationship. Any sort of response, behaviour, personality would get the same treatment. He needs to be like this to feed some sort of need within himself, to heal some inadequacy of personality that makes him need to diminish and punish the person closest to him to make himself feel bigger and better than them. His criticism of others too is merely him trying to make himself feel better. He does not want to hear your side of things because he doesn't care and nothing will stop him being like this or alter the victim dialogue of him good, you bad that he has fixated upon. You are not a real person to him, merely something that allows him to act out this pathetic need within him. Everything you write screams that about him.

You are well rid of him. Well done for getting out. You could do with some counselling/therapy to repair the battering to your self-esteem that this bastard has wrought.

AnyFucker Sun 10-Feb-13 22:57:54

oh yes, he's worked hard all right

at emotionally abusing and bullying you until you question what is right and wrong

love, it's him not you and I really hope you keep this dysfunctional relationship in the past

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 22:59:08

zcos, thanks for your post.

I don't think my ex has packed his CDs yet wink

I've felt from the start that it shouldn't be so hard, but he's made me feel that I am, without my knowing it, because I'm so utterly selfish, the one that's making it hard.

I'm scared of having 2 dependents on my own, after years of being told how crap i am. But something in me knows I can do it. Just got to keep going.

I'm so happy to hear that you've found someone that loves you right, and that you've managed to trust him. I can't imagine getting there, but I'll keep reading this thread...

OxfordBags Sun 10-Feb-13 23:00:29

PS You can see that he needs to believe his crap about you. You are so insightful. But don't make the mistake of waiting for him to ever realise that you're not at fault, or to accept his part in it all. It ain't going to happen. You know this is a fixation he has, a mental health problem actually, and has nothing to do with the reality of who you are; you were just unlucky to be chosen as the recipient of his issue. I bet his Exes were all bitches who treated him like shit, right? hmm

Don't give up on love!

Snazzynewyear Sun 10-Feb-13 23:06:57

I agree with those posters who have already said that this is actually about him and everything needing to be his way. But anyway, there is a sense in whih it doesn't even matter - you have decided the relationship isn't working and it's over. Who cares if he thinks it's all your fault? It's done. Don't even have the discussion with him, it's pointless. But of course he wants you to 'prove' stuff to him - and this is the major red flag. Tell him there is nothing to prove anymore.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:07:29

OxfordBags,

Yes, there was an abusive element to my childhood, and yes, that pre-disposition exists, I recognise it. I've been bullied by a boyfriend in the past, too. I REALLY hope I don't go picking another fucker of a bully again. I need to find out how to spot one, and I need to examine my predisposition to being bullied. I think it might have something to do with, yes, my mother. Never approving of me. I think I might pick a bully in the hope that he will see me and love me for what I am, but then I end up making sure I get the emotional response I'm used to – I'm hateful and not good enough. It's really not conscious at all. I don't know how to recognise this in myself if it happens again, which is scaring me. I can't let some bastard into my kids' life.

And everything you have said about him is what i have felt myself about him at various times in our marriage. It's SO good to read that he is a bit "textbook", and that my reactions have been so, too. I'm not alone.

I've got to remind myself that his "caring" is very conditional, which is less than I've offered him. You are right – it is a pathetic need – he's weak. Too weak to see he's bullying the person that has loved him most in his life. I can't believe it's taken so long to just see it. He had a pretty shit mum too, but he never rocks the boat with her...

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:09:04

"I bet his Exes were all bitches who treated him like shit, right?"

Oxford, How the hell did you know?????

I have often think he'd be happier in that type of scenario.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:10:13

AnyFucker,

For the sake of my LO, I HAVE to keep this man out of my life. I need to have enough emotional energy to be a decent enough mum!

AnyFucker Sun 10-Feb-13 23:11:26

good for you x

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:11:45

"But don't make the mistake of waiting for him to ever realise that you're not at fault, or to accept his part in it all. It ain't going to happen."

This is my problem. Why do I need him to see???

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:13:45

Snazzy,

It's me that needs something. I need him to tell me he was wrong, that he shouldn't have treated me like he has, like he should have let me speak, he's the one who blocked communication.

I would tell a woman in my situation – you don't need this confirmation from this man. You know it.

But I'm really having trouble knowing it INSIDE, if you know what I mean.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:14:10

It's as if I don't believe it until he tells me.

AnyFucker Sun 10-Feb-13 23:15:02

Why does he have the last word ?

Take the last word...it is yours to keep

Snazzynewyear Sun 10-Feb-13 23:16:02

I know what you mean, spirit, but I have to say he's unlikely to give you what you are looking for. So you have to try and make yourself feel it. Does it help that everyone on here thinks he has behaved badly at all? Could you go and talk it through with a counsellor? He sounds to me like the kind of person who would never, ever admit to being in the wrong.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:16:13

I don't know what to do with the last word. I don't believe it if I say it. My self esteem...

What if I"m wrong? What if I'm being really unfair to him? These thoughts stop me keeping the last word.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:17:26

Snazz, you have all really lifted my spirits this evening and I'm going to save this thread and reread it over and over. I have to find a way to make myself feel it.

After previous experiences, I'm a bit allergic to counsellors. And broke.

Snazzynewyear Sun 10-Feb-13 23:20:30

Ah, ok. You don't always find a good counsellor the first time, unfortunately. Real life friend who would listen to you patiently? Who knows you well?

FWIW I don't think you are being unfair to him. I don't think you're wrong. But you have to take that in yourself - or you have to come to the point where it doesn't matter because whoever was wrong <whispers: IT WAS HIM> the fact is you are better off apart. Concentrating on your happier life ahead is the thing to do.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 10-Feb-13 23:27:26

I'm just going to send you a <<HUG>> Honestly, it's SO NOT YOU. He's a horrible, horrible 'man', what he has done to you is disgusting, truely disgusting sad

wordyBird Sun 10-Feb-13 23:35:30

You said 'we've been to 3 sets of counsellors' so I guess you have had couples counselling. Ouch. That will make an abusive relationship worse. sad When you are up to it, perhaps look into counselling for yourself?

But you can just get yourself out of there first, if you prefer. You do need to do this, as there is no chance he will change.

He is damaged and cannot see you as an independent person. He thinks it's your job to fulfil his needs and read his mind, and his anger comes from frustration that you see yourself as independent with needs of your own. This literally doesn't make sense to him.

This is why he abuses you. He really does think he's perfect (and so do you, as you've described him as 'the perfect partner'). And because you don't fit his completely warped understanding of what a partner is, you are challenging his fundamental worldview, and he thinks you deserve to be berated.

This is why his exes were 'awful' according to him. They were normal women like you.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:36:19

Snazz, a happier life ahead, yes. I will concentrate on that... Weekends when I can play in the park with my LO instead of rowing at the edge of the playground, hoping he'll keep his voice down, etc etc etc etc etc. Just doing things my way. He's still here – sorting himself a place now. Once he goes and I do things my way for a bit, I hope I'll gain more confidence in my way. And happier times with my LO.

And maybe in time I'll take it in that it wasn't me. I'm taking advice and going to delve into the EA threads.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot – hug is much appreciated smile

wordyBird Sun 10-Feb-13 23:38:21

I'm working at full capacity. If I was how he wants me to be, I'd live every moment with a board and checklist and could think of nothing else. ... That's awful, but I think you are spot on!

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:39:19

WordyBird,

"He is damaged and cannot see you as an independent person. He thinks it's your job to fulfil his needs and read his mind, and his anger comes from frustration that you see yourself as independent with needs of your own."

His mother was very emotionally neglectful. He felt he couldn't ask for anything, because if he was, he would be "selfish" (his main gripe with me).

When we row, he doesn't seem to think for a second that he might not be in the right. He took the martyr role in his childhood home, always the one to do the right thing to gain mum's approval, but knowing all the time no one was doing the same for him as he was for them.

He's repeated that with me. Duh!

OxfordBags Sun 10-Feb-13 23:42:00

I hate to break it to you, but you're going to join the list of bitches who treated him like shit to the next woman unlucky enough to get involved with him.

It's so hard to know that and hard to break from the need to have him know that he was wrong, but you need to let that go somehow. Because what you are really waiting for is your mother to acknowledge that she was wrong and treated you badly. Neither is going to happen. But there is something worse than people who have treated you badly not acknowledging or apologising - and that's staying with an abuser whilst you wait for it to happen (hint: Hell will freeze over whilst you wait).

He has a shit mother whom he never challenges, but he treats the woman closest to him like shit, every tiny thing is challenged and seen as some unloving victimisation on her part... Who does that sound like? He is not even subtly punishing you for the pain from her that he refuses to face. Emotionall, you're like a punchbag with a picture of his mother's face pinned on to it. You're the stand-in for her, so he can take his pain and resentment and rejection and fury out on without actually doing it to her in actuality.

You're not wrong, you're not being unfair. Even if you were, you don't deserve this treatment, this life. And you know what? Even if you are a massive bitch (I doubt it highly!) you still don't deserve it, you are not responsible for his feelings (although I bet your mother made you feel like you are responsible when others treat you badly, huh?) and you can choose to end the relationship.

You say you have DC. It is not right that they grow up seeing this dynamic. It teaches boys to become abusers, girls to become victims. Make the last word you stopping this horrible abuse dynamic for the next generation. Make the last word ensuring a peaceful, happy, respectful life for your kids.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Sun 10-Feb-13 23:44:19

LemonDrizzled,

If you're still around, you said you were in a relationship with a similar man for 28 years. I'm guessing you had kids together.

My ex is a really good dad so far. Leaves most of it to me, but his actual involvement is good. But will he continue to be? We have boys. What was your ex like with your kids as they became teenagers? How did their relationship continue?

What I want to know is, did he try to bully them, too?

TDada Sun 10-Feb-13 23:45:10

I haven't read it all but his anger makes me uneasy. What is it that is REALLY bugging him?

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 00:00:14

Oxford,

I know to his friends (of which he has very few, because everyone is a useless wanker, of course), I am already the evil bitch, and it really hurts!

Yes, Ms Insightful Wonder Counsellor, I am waiting for my mum to acknowledge her neglect and abuse. In real life, I know that well is dry – I see her as she is, and accept her, and (mostly) have worked out how to protect myself from her. Actually, all I want now is to see her through to the end of her life as comfortably as she can be (but she does come third, after the boys), while expecting from her only what I can realistically expect, so that my family (mum + dad + child me) is not a completely tragic story – for me and my kids.

But on an emotional level, the need for that acknowledgement still exists, and if I don't somehow deal with that, I'm scared I'll attract another abuser.

But how the hell to deal with that?!?!?

I have often used the word "punchbag" to describe my position in his life to him. He thinks that's "bullshit", of course.

My boys are good boys. Full of beans and generally happy, kind and so gentle with my emotions, so generous to me on an emotional level. I think they can sense the unfairness. I desperately want them to have a happy home, and see me coping well, feel safe by me, have fun with me – not with me at the edge of the playground, rowing with dad. And I hope I can meet someone and trust them in the future, and they get to see a truly loving relationship.

From what you all say, and from my own unconfident speculations, I suspect that a truly loving relationship is not one they will ever experience at their dad's home.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 00:01:29

TDada,

It's shit from his childhood – a neglectful mum, and abusive dad, a loveless family that he tried to hold together but none of them really wanted him. Life not happening the way he feels it should seems to be constantly tapping that well of anger in him.

TDada Mon 11-Feb-13 00:03:41

the good side of him should rationalise that it is not your fault? I am sure that you would have been sympathetic to him. Is he looking to you to be a mom to him?

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 00:09:12

What a twat I am. I thought all those years "if he sees I love him more than his family ever did, I want him in my life, I like and love the person he is (when he's not shouting in my face), he'll be happy he's found something better and settle into it.

He can't love me. He can't love anyone. Because he doesn't know how it feels because he has never been loved and he's never loved himself. And what he feels is love for his family is what was his need for his family as a neglected, terrified young child, twisted into this feeling.

My parents were neglectful, but my father was very loving (but an alcoholic – never abusive – just an escapist). I do know what it feels like when someone looks at you with love in their eyes, and thinks you're just brilliant, and can see your flaws, but thinks your brilliant anyway.

Of course, he disappeared into a bottle when I was 10 and never reemerged. Took 20 years to bash up his liver. But throughout that time of him burying his head in the bottle, I knew without a doubt that his love was genuine, not conditional and self absorbed, like my mother's. I've repeated my mother's conditional love for me, perhaps I can repeat my father's love – but with a man who isn't an addict, perferably!!!

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 00:54:22

TDada,

That's why I hung around for so many years – because I really believed in the good side of him, and I never thought he would never see how his behaviour was wrong, and how he was being unreasonable. But not once in 13 years did he listen to a word I say, acknowledge it or do anything other than dismiss it in every single row we had. And so many daily small events – little bitchy comments, edgy shows of frustration, sharp words, comments, that I let slip past.

But his realisation never came. And from what others have said, he's a type, and it never will.

I think he's looking to punish me in place of his mum.

OxfordBags Mon 11-Feb-13 16:05:23

You aren't a twat! He is, for poisoning a relationship with someone who clearly wants to give and be loving.

You are incredibly insightful and perceptive. It's a double-edged sword, because you can't delude yourself that's it's anything but bad, BUT it frees you, because you know this isn't about you or your fault or anything like that. He is messed up, long before you ever met him, and he will keep on being messed up. Now you can untangle from his crap so that you and your DC don't end up totally messed up too. He is definitely punishing every woman he gets involved with for his mother. Don't let your boys learn that behaviour.

I'm really impressed by your insight, btw smile It's great that you know what genuine, inconditional love is. Not only can you save yourself now, but in general and you will know what that love is in the future, when you are ready. And your DC get it from you too.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 21:07:49

Thanks, Oxford smile

You'll be pleased to know that, today, for the first time, I was standing in my garden and feeling actual joy in my heart. Not a familiar feeling of late. (and I saw 2 magpies right afterwards!) Reading this thread, and the culmination of the events of the past few months, has lead to some kind of change of feeling in me. I actually believe I am not what he says I am for the first time, and feel like I can see him for what he is. He is weak, and weaker than me, because I've survived his shit and feel I can be OK. He'll still be with him wherever he goes. He's weak because I know on some level, he KNOWS. But he doesn't have the courage to look at it. He's weak because he picks on someone weaker, because he uses his intelligence to hide the truth from himself, and because he's shat on a genuine love that could have nurtured him into old age. You're right – he is the twat. Not me.

I'm feeling very loved up about the mumsnet community right now. This has been of immense help to me. Big huge hug to everyone who's taken the time to post and give me such considered, seriously helpful responses.

AnyFucker Mon 11-Feb-13 21:32:20

< applauso >

OxfordBags Mon 11-Feb-13 22:08:30

Great to hear this, Op grin But you've done all the hard work on yourself - we were just a sounding board for you to thrash out what you have already very perceptively worked out. IMHO, this surge of your true, happy, strong self emerging is far more rewarding than waiting for this loser to realise what a twunt he's been. Onwards and upwards, well done! (Hug right back)

I'm not lemon but can tell you about my experience of having a boy whose father was, and is, EA. He is a good father in many ways - he became a better father when we split up because he spends more time with him and it's better time - doing things that DS is interested in. It was better too because he was no longer exploding at my many minor indiscretions and calling me names in front of him. However, from my perspective there are some elements of the negative environment that comes with someone who is EA that my DS is exposed to sad

It is heartbreaking. Most of the "things" I feel I can help him with - either because of my professional skills or because I am free to set a good example. I am currently researching help for a couple of things we need support for. I will PM you.

Every single day I am glad that I left because of that boy. More than half his life is normal and I am now strong enough to get him support to deal with the rest.

I'm sure that with the level of self-awareness you're exhibiting you will be able to mitigate the risk.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Mon 11-Feb-13 23:15:18

"IMHO, this surge of your true, happy, strong self emerging is far more rewarding than waiting for this loser to realise what a twunt he's been"

Certainly, that feeling today was an addictive one. You've all said "it aint gonna happen" and, having been (even very recently) still desperate for him to just wake up and open his eyes and SEE, I'm very suddenly past it. Last night I read all your posts and it's like I have been working up to a moment of "click", realisation, and last it it came. Today, I woke up feeling like I don't need him to see. I bet on his deathbed he'll still be cursing me. Today, it's obvious to me that it's much better to focus on the 2 magpies smile

Just caught up. this is for you

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Tue 12-Feb-13 00:46:06

tallwivglasses – that made me smile! I love a flash mob. So reassuring about human nature!

wordyBird Tue 12-Feb-13 01:11:22

grin great find, tallwivglasses

spirit it's a long hard road to reach this point. You have done all the mental work needed to get here; the last day or so was just the last little bit.

Two for joy, yes! Each day is a step forward now. thanks

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Tue 12-Feb-13 09:45:19

thanks, wordy!

It's nice to wake up in the mornings now and feel my life belongs to me again!

MTBMummy Tue 12-Feb-13 12:57:20

Smells - just found your thread and wanted to say I could have written your OP myself when I was with my husband 12 years ago.

You've done the right thing, and as far as that man is concerned no one will ever meet his expectations, but it will never be his fault.

The road ahead is hard at times, but I can promise you it does get better, I'm now happily engaged to a lovely man who really does love me and I love him and we have a lovely DD and life really couldn't be better, we do argue occasionally (I think every one does) but never has he made me doubt my value as a person, where as with SBXH I was selfish/rude/immature/useless... You name it, by the time I eventually left him I was a shell of my former self and it took years for me to gain my self confidence back, but you will and in the mean time, MN'ers will be here to hold your hand.

smellslikemiddleagedspirit Tue 12-Feb-13 22:17:30

Thanks MTB. It's amazing. For so long I spoke to no one about this and felt so alone. It's such a comfort to know other women have gone through the same thing and come out the other side to a much happier life. I am crapping myself at the thought of my new independence, with dependents. Hearing stories of life beyond the veil is very comforting.

And good for you that you found a man to love you right! smile

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