Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Does this sound like emotional abuse - the little things...(63 Posts)
I think OH may be abusing me emotionally and it has just kind of dawned on me suddenly after reading very familiar traits on other threads here
The fact I am wondering is probably a sign that I personally believe I am being emotionally abused. I think I am just looking for help that I am not just going mad and being "over sensitive"...
Invades my personal space ALL the time and physically moves me out of his way sometimes (but acts like he is going "Scuse me babe" but then other times just barges past me or walks through me eg feel I have to move or would probably be mown down)
Leaves bank statements/credit card statements next to my laptop just lying around when he is running low on money or has just had to pay for something expensive for our family as if to say "Don't ask for anything cos we are skint"
Is always doing stuff like staring at me with a black look or just freezes and stares at something I am doing as if I need to read his mind as to what I am doing "wrong" so I always feel on edge without him saying anything. Example is we were getting ready to go out with the kids and were loading up the car. My phone was left in the changing bag under the pram which was waiting to be folded and put in the boot n I went "Oh... my phone" and went into the bag under the pram to get it at which point he froze on the spot with his hands about to push the pram and just did THE FACE which is a really black expression that no one else seems to be able to see except me as I see it... A Lot...
If we are going anywhere he waits til the last minute then gets ready really fast then sits about waiting for me to go "OK... Are you ready then?" so he can go "YEAH! I am just waiting for you..." or he will say "Right lets get ready to go" if we are doing something so I get myself and the kids ready then stand about waiting for him to get ready. This means I can spend up to 2 hours just waiting for him to be ready to go involving "ready to go?" "Ok let's got then" from me every 10 mins and he goes "Yup... Right now... Just getting my shoes" then sits there watching the footie news/on the ipad or then goes to the toilet for an hour leaving me to wait. If I get fed up waiting for him, take my coat off and go off and do something else with the kids he suddenly gets ready and jumps in the car taking the kids then does the face when I go for a last minute pee and that I don't still have my coat on. He has actually driven down the street a bit before without me. Got to the car and DS was crying. OH said he just did it for a laugh. Shit.
I feel really pathetic about all this and it sounds like I am being so petty. I am starting to notice things every day now. Silly little things. We have had big blow out rows before as well and I can never get my point across. It just seems to have slowly bubbled over the years and now he is proud that "We never really fight like other couples" Yeh because I am too scared or fed up to say anything now. What is the point? I just never get my point across, he talks down anything I try to raise and if I don't back down it turns into a fight that I will never "win".
Oh and he NEVER apologises EVER.
I used to be able to say "But we have such a laugh together" and "We like all the same things" he could be so lovely and seem to be caring but recently I have noticed all of that seems to be gone. I am a shell of the person I was. He says it is because we have 2 kids now and are both exhausted.
APologies that I went on for a bit there...
Sorry - more to add.
I meant to say it just seems to be all these silly little things that if I said "I am leaving him" then "Why are you leaving" "Well... he seems to be angry if I do anything he doesn't like" but I have no actual proof that he is angry other than the silent black looks he gives me that no one else can see. I KNOW this is happening though. Why else would I feel like this? He says I imagine it all and am insecure. He told me to be more assertive recently (in front of his parents) and I said "You wouldn't like that though would you???" and they all looked at each other like "What a bitch" but that WAS me being assertive because I would not usually ever say that although it was true.
When I do try to be assertive somehow I end up doubting myself and feel insignificant and pathetic. Example again was we went away overnight because we had to be somewhere early Sunday morning and rather than travel all the way there and back on Sunday I booked a hotel for us on a really good deal for a wee treat. It was totally ruined by OH leaving credit card statement lying around and then moping around all Saturday before we left with his sad face on. I was trying to ignore it as I wanted us all to have a nice time. Since I hadn't done the usual "Are you ok???" with his usual "FINE! WHy do you always ask me that??? What is the problem???" (with head shaking at me and smirking like I am insane), he decided to give a reason for his moping around with a sad face which was "I just want you to know things are really tight this month and we have no money" but he was all set to go out on a bender with his mates on the Friday night which would prob have cost more than going away overnight. It just put a cloud over the whole rest of the day.
That just makes me sound like a total bitch though doesn't it???
AAAARGH!!! I feel like I am going insane!
Umm I'm struggling to see anything abusive there. He's a bit passive aggressive with THE FACE but haven't we all got a face that tells our OH that they're pissing us off? It sounds like he's a bit irritated by you sometimes and isn't very respectful always but again who isn't like that in relationships sometimes. The getting ready to go out example to me is standard bloke wind up. Maybe look at why you're a shell of the person you used to be. Maybe have some calm discussions with him about things that piss you off. But abuse? No I don't think so and if you are then me too and I'd venture to say most of the population. Unless of course you feel scared of him....then that's another matter.
Don't apologise, Kelly. Its important that you have somewhere, here, where you can off-load.
My first reaction was that some of it sounds like plain, very male, behaviour BUT ...then I realised that is exactly how I thought about my ex, in the beginning. And it grows and grows and grows .....
the key factor is your saying that you feel "in the wrong" .... and you are becoming very sensitive to the tell-take signs of early displeasure from him. That's a big indicator for early emotional abuse. Next step is loss of self esteem. Loss of friends (anything sounding familiar?)
Change things NOW ...while you can. It may be that you can bring the marriage back to an equal partnership again, but if not then you have to put your welfare (as the mother of your children) fiirst.
Just my spin
Ps he's worried about money = normal
Thanks for the replies. I am just worried that I have been reading too much into it all and the lines are getting blurred between starts of emotional abuse and just plain annoying each other and not getting on anymore/resenting each other.
So I do just sound like a bitch.
I feel so unappreciative as he is good with the kids and does loads of stuff people are very "Oooooh you are so lucky" about but I think maybe he just doesn't love me any more.
This is called "gaslighting" - and is indeed a form of emotional abuse
If it wasn't so insidious and awful for you, I'd say he is just being a prick, but it does sound very calculating on his part...
Don't doubt yourself - keep a diary of what is happening and see if a pattern emerges
You can't live your life this this
Emotional abuse is not really about the details of what someone says or does (a clever abuser can chill.your.blood with a sentence like "I'll take care of that, darling" which can sound lovely to other people). It's about how it makes you feel. If his behaviour has you walking on eggshells, if he takes pleasure in making you feel bad, then yes, I think it's time to take a long, hard look at your relationship.
Perhaps you could try keeping a diary - record what he does and what he makes you feel, what happens if/when you try to talk to him about things making you unhappy. This might help you see patterns in your relationship.
Couple of questions/comments. The 'leaving money statements lying around' thing - does he control the finances, do you have independent income, etc? And the 'making you wait' thing - once he's said 'yes, let's go' could you go & sit in the car with DC? Then he's the one on the back foot, not you - 'but you said you were ready'... If you refuse to play the games, they might lose their power. 'Here's your bank statement, you left it on the table by my laptop'...
Why am I so sensitive to his anger though? The passive agressive stuff. In the past few years I have lost my job twice, lost a parent and seem to have lost my sense of fun somewhere. Maybe I am blaming him...
You're sensitive to his PA anger because you're a nice person and you want those around you to be happy. If you're seeing patterns of behaviour designed to put you in the wrong, he isn't reciprocating the caring. Focus on what you do and have your own yardstick of whether it's fair/ reasonable - if it is, and he takes offence, it's his problem not yours IYSWIM.
You're sensitive because he is acting like an immature tit... Smirking, being antagonistic, making you feel stupid, barging you out of the way etc. If someone respects and likes you, they don't do that.
If you've had a lot of grown-up problems to deal with in the last few years you probably haven't got time for this kind of silly crap. Answer is to keep being assertive rather than modifying your actions or words just because you're worried about his reaction. Don't let him make you feel like you can't open your mouth because once you start doing that, it's a slippery slope. If you feel like you're a 'shell of a person' then, whether he's being abusive or not, his behaviour is getting you down.
Sorry x posted there. I am going to do that - keep a diary. Something you said has just set me off crying though. I DO feel like I am walking on eggshells around him. I just overthink every little thing and am always thinking about "oooh I better not do that - what would he say if he found out I went for a coffee".
No we don't share finances. We both had jobs, bank accounts and are not married. Since I lost my job the last time I have been struggling to get anything that fits in with the kids and his hours so he has been the main breadwinner. I have to ask him for money if I need to do anything and when we go to the supermarket he says "Don't be putting extras in the trolley" but he gets to put in whatever he wants and if I push it and say "Oh, I need X" and put it in the trolley he is like "Yeh - whatever you need" but then when we get home he starts going on about how we have to cut back on the shopping - which we DO but he only says it if I have put something extra in the trolley. AHHHH That sounds like I am being so PETTY! IT is just all these little things.
I mean even now I am on here questioning it all rather than just getting on with my day. I am always thinking about him and wondering what I can do to change things.
The shopping thing... don't you just want to kick him where it hurts... and keep kicking? It's not petty at all, it's downright humiliating.
It is NOT petty - read the link I posted
Scroll down the page to the list of signs
How many apply to you, Kelly?
What happens if you say 'yeah, but you bought XYZ..' Are the DCs his?
It is emotional abuse, passive aggression, gaslighting whatever. I am also very familiar with the 'black' look. My ex would look at me with this dull, boring look when I was talking and if I asked him if he was bored he would say 'No, course not, carry on' it would really throw me off balance. When I tell you his face looked like he was about to fall asleep, and he would then adamantly admit he was not bored. Other times he would look at me with such a nasty expression and then say he wasn't doing it.
Sigh. Unfortunately, we still live together because I am saving up to leave. I dumped him the day after Valentines day, but making the decision to go was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
I had been with this man 5 years, and he made me very poorly during this time.
I bet you feel exhausted most of the time, and think its because of the kids? Kids tire you out yes (I have one) but not to this extent. It's the man you are living with, trust me on that one.
Do you ever pull him on his behaviour? If so, what is his reaction?
I don't think you're a bitch or crazy or in the wrong.
That is how he makes you feel.
And his behaviour doesn't really seem normal bloke behaviour. Except for people who are surrounded by twats.
I agree that you should detach, but for your personal happiness.
You can try explaining what things upset you and see if he changes his behaviour or not. That should tell you how much he cares, or not.
It sounds a miserable way to live. He doesn't really sound as if he's on your side. The key question is whether he is going to be a partner in putting things right (in which case there is hope for your relationship), or whether he is benefitting from your misery (in which case, no hope).
If you can get hold of a copy of Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" it might help clarify things for you. And keep posting.
I don't think it's petty-- in your first post you mention him driving off without you which made your DS cry, meant as a joke? Upsetting a child to make a point just isn't fair so was he extremely contrite and a bit ashamed of himself afterwards? He should have been!
Having an XH who was insidious in how he got me to feel like every issue we had was my fault. If a light bulb blew it would somehow be my fault. To everyone else he appeared Mr Wonderful always doing those little extra things like working late to get overtime (or to avoid DDs evening routine).
Keep note of what he does and especially the comments that bring you down. I got out but then I realised I hadn't loved him so it was easier for me once I realised that.
it may be a slippery slope and soon he'll be blaming you for everything (speaking from experience here) so what you'll need to figure out is whether he is doing it for a 'reason' (not sure what I mean by that but I mean something you could talk about or deal with) or whether he has an intrinsically abusive personality. In either case read Lundy Bancroft 'why does he do that?', wish I'd read it 10 years ago!
If you sat down with him and said "If you do X, it makes me feel like Y" would he consider changing his behaviour? I have had these conversations with DH, and to his credit he really does make the effort. What is important I think is that both people make an effort in a relationship and no-one feels taken for granted. When one person doesn't make the effort, that's when you get the serious issues.
Leave the bastard. Leave him now before your children absorb this nasty attitude and the atmosphere between you. I have a friend who has put up with something similar but much more subtle than this for 30 years and however much you make excuses or find reasons behind it, it will not change and it will get you in the end.
My ex doesnt think he has done anything wrong, and would never change his behaviour about anything.
I can laugh now at the times when I tried to bring up things I wasnt happy about, and I ended up being the one apologising!
He had an answer for everything, oh and things were always my fault too. Or if I mention something he has done that I am not happy with, obviously it would be because of something I have done to make him do it. 100% mind fuckery. In the past it caused me to go into such a deep depression, as I will filled with so much self loathing...sorry to derail I can just see so much of what you write in my previous situation.
Please don't let it break you down like it did me, get out now.
"a clever abuser can chill.your.blood with a sentence like "I'll take care of that, darling" which can sound lovely to other people"
NicknameTaken ....... so so so true. And so impossible to explain to anyone else. People truly think you are mad. This sentence shot me back a decade ....but thank you, I never want to forget in case I ever make the same error in judgement again!!
Listen with care, Kelly. There is a lot of sound advice here.
TanteRose ...... thank you!
I have just visited the link you posted. I thought I had healed, but have never really researched the matter ...was simply happy not to be in that place anymore.
This is the first time, anywhere, that I have seen my married life (in the early - mid stages, before the abuse became more blatant) written down almost verbatim.
I just closed another hole :-)
x x x
Would also add that toxic parents make you absolutely ripe and ready to assume your place in the wrong, before marital abusive processes even begin.
Thank you for all the info. I was just reading the Gaslighting link. Yes, there are more than a few things on that list that he does. It is making me feel so sad that I feel like things are coming to an end. I feel so guilty now for starting a family with him when I can now see there have been things all along but they seem to be worse since we moved in together but it was better for a while when the LO's came along.
I feel sick.
I got a shock - the first piece of advice made me think I AM oversensitive as this is typical guy behaviour but to be honest I don't see other people's husbands acting like this and I would be too embarrassed to mention any of this in RL. Apart from the fact that NO ONE would believe me as he is Mr Wonderful to everyone else. He has had heated discussions with other people over some things that he feels strongly about and sometimes I think "Oh... the facade is coming down" but no one notices - they just think "That must be something he feels strongly about" and just kind of give in to his opinion so it does seem to be deep rooted.
but then all the other posts have kind of hit home and made me think that my mind has been trying to make me face up to this for a long time.
There are quite a few other incidents that have happened that are not little things and they are glaringly obvious now. Things over the years.
It seems like things trundle along in the everyday chaos then little comments turn to bitching and then I get so fed up we have a massive fight, awful things are said, the truth probably comes out, I am asked for "Examples" of previous behaviours to "back up" my argument that I can never remember as I obviously try to forgive and forget so can't remember the minute details of every little issue or if I DO remember something it sounds so petty to him. Then after the big fight "I hate this, things just are not working" he is super nice, says we need to calm down and be more considerate of each other (still never apologises as I can't give exact examples of things he should apologise for) and then it's all nice and calm for a while before the vicious circle starts again. Every time I think "Maybe it will be ok this time" and it all just happens again eventually.
Is this something that just can not be mended? Is there ever a chance that we can work things out? Probably not given what I just wrote above...
Hi Kelly, no you are not overreacting, and yes his behaviour is abusive. Abuse isn't about anger, or violence, it's about power and control.
The black look you describe was something my ex did too, along with the doing or saying nasty things and then claiming it was a joke. You don't have to justify leaving to him or anyone, the fact that you are so unhappy is reason enough.
Keep reading and getting information and support and start to detach from him. Get the Lundy book if you can, you will recognise your arguments in there. I had no idea of just what was abuse before I read that. I thought that I was overreacting because he had never hit me and so much of it was down to (accurately) reading his body language and facial expression and learning to walk on eggshells. So much was implied by tone of voice and like you, I learned to just not even try to get my point across as it just wasn't worth it.
THIS IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE.
The thought of leaving is far harder than actually doing it. Once you have left and you are out of the deathly oppressive atmosphere, you will realise just how bad it was.
You can leave though, it will be ok and you are doing the BEST thing for your kids by getting out. Kids pick up on so much that we think we can hide from them. They are learning very damaging lessons about how to have relationships from yours and your H's. Leaving is far, far better and it is not you who has created this and you can't fix it.
You will be ok, you will survive and if you leave him you WILL be happy again.
Kelly it really doesn't matter if every other person in the world thought it was normal bloke behaviour (which I don't btw!). What matters is that his behaviour is making you and your children unhappy.
I stayed with an EA because he was a guy who everyone loved, and I went into a bit of denial about it, somehow convincing myself that it was normal for a man to put you down all the time. It was only after leaving him and realising what it is truly like to live in a relationship entirely free of fear, that I came to realise that he was emotionally abusive. Please don't waste another second of your life trying to "fix" him, the answer is that you can't fix him. Loving him more, being a "better" wife, walking on eggshells to avoid confrontation, none of these things will make him change his behaviour long term.
You will be happy again, it won't be easy, especially with children in tow, but you can do it.
Please remember also that whether it is deliberate or not on his part (some men with a personality disorder are hard-wired like that), the relationship is stressful, hard work and depressing.
Relationships are hard work, but it should be in a give-take way for example if one person annoys the other with a habit, it may fester for a while, but they get round it somehow whether in a blazing row or a nice chat. But the key is that the problem is solved and they move on.
The key is that they want it to work for both of them.
How do you begin to detach? What can I do to start the ball rolling? I will keep a diary (and hide it just in case) so I can see the patterns AND so I can remember exactly how I felt at the time.
Once the DCs are in bed and we sit down on the couch I swear I could just sit there listening to him talk, agree with him now and again and say absolutely nothing of my own and he would think we had the best evening.
Dion I thought that I was overreacting because he had never hit me and so much of it was down to (accurately) reading his body language and facial expression and learning to walk on eggshells. So much was implied by tone of voice and like you, I learned to just not even try to get my point across as it just wasn't worth it
This is EXACTLY what I have been unable to describe - this is exactly what I am feeling right now.
I am going to get the Lundy book (and hide it too) now.
Thank you so much for your help here everyone. I really appreciate it. I am actually worried about him coming home (as usual) but this time it is in case he comes in and is in the best mood and is all sweetness and light (for a while anyway) as it might make me slip back into denial again. I will be coming back and rereading this to keep perspective..
This isn't gaslighting at all! There's a massive overuse of that expression on MN and it winds me up. The man is passive aggressive and a bully. That's all.
OP - you can just leave someone and then when asked why say "because we weren't happy together anymore" you don't need to have abuse bad enough to make leaving ok.
You don't need to jump now, but could you make it a more of a long term aim to get yourself into a position where you could leave? Renew the job hunt and put your energies in to being in a strong position.
I am also wondering if feeling like years have slipped by as I have been drifting along putting up with this waiting for things to get better or maybe just sticking my head in the sand. It just feels like the last few years have been a blur and I feel so lost.
Also, I have only really spoken to my closest friend about this but not in full detail. She worries about me a bit but she says her divorced sister always tells her how awful it is living on your own and when you do get the guts to go out by yourself at the weekend, you see all these happy families together. I spoke to a good friend at my old work and she literally sat there with her mouth falling open and said "DH would never do that to me... That is awful! I hope you told him to go F himself!" when I was just telling her what I thought was a silly little thing OH said I over reacted to. My response to that was just to cover it up a bit and say "Oh I suppose I am exaggerating a bit.... He's not always like that!" and tehn just never mentioned any of it to her again.
It made me wonder if it was just me and slowly I am realising some women actually do marry or live with their best friend.
I am going to start making it my aim to get my life back in order and take some control of my own future and DCs. I just feel like my head is spinning.
Glad you have a plan of action, kelly.
I hope you find the diary enlightening. I know ime that after something bad happened, I found it very difficult to retain in my mind. It's a kind of self-protective mechanism, this forgetting. It really was a shock to see it all written down, to see how often things happened and how awful it made me feel. I'd have written it off afterwards as a few bad rows if I didn't have the evidence of my diary to remind me.
I've said it on other threads, but I had a moment of truth when I watched the Simpsons and thought that Homer may not be the best husband, but he would never, ever say or do the things to Marge that my ex did to me.
the getting ready to go out scenario and the tactics is well described as an anecdote in the lundy book - oft repeated by my ex.
some of the book wont apply - but flick thru to the pages/chapters which are relevant... knowledge is power
Just to say good luck. read qickly through, but the awful bit about you having to remember examples to back up your argument, needing to remeber all the details, and then saying "we both need to be more considerate" meaning, you need to change lady...Aaargh. He is nasty. Also fond of his own voice and opinions. I think your feeling is correct, and that you need to rescue yourself.
Even if it was not classed as abuse, which I now would say it is, would you wish this life for your daughter/son? If answer is no, then that is good enough.
This must be really difficult for you.
Listen to your good old friend, because she has a normal reaction, and I'm sure it helped you to see her face fall when you were telling about a smallish incident.
Yes, sounds exactly like emotional abuse OP.
Sounds fucking awful. As if you are living with an enemy, and you know you are, but you have to keep it a secret.
Keep coming back to this thread whenever you need to.
Just wanted to say you are not over-reacting. I hope you can muster the strength to leave. My father is just like your husband. My mother was such a lovely happy creative woman and has become a bitter, neurotic with severe anorexia and a massive martyr complex. My sister and I both have anxiety problems. I'm in my 30s and still in the back of my mind always waiting for the other shoe to drop. He never hit her but was massively emotionally abusive and controlling.
After 35 years they are still married. My mother is so compulsive about her food, because it is the only thing in her life she has any control over. I doubt she'll survive more than a few more years because of her eating disorder but no one can make her get help. She has raised the idea of leaving him many times but never does. It is horrible to watch.
It's to the point now where I actually get along better with my dad than my mom because she's so messed up. I've come to the point in my life where I mostly feel sorry for him rather than angry at him. I have had relatives tell me they can't believe how normal my sister and I turned out be wise of how fucked up my dad (and therefore dysfunctional home life) was.
For your sake and your children's, get out now. I remember asking my mom to leave him when I was about nine but she has blocked it out. We had a pretty nice middle class home but I would have preferred living on beans in a shack if it meant not being anxious and afraid of upsetting him all the time. I had terrible IBS as a child and I'm sure it was because of his behavior.
Sorry if that's a bit rambling. Your story was just so familiar. I really hope you and your kids escape soon.
'.............am asked for "Examples" of previous behaviours to "back up" my argument that I can never remember as I obviously try to forgive and forget so can't remember the minute details of every little issue or if I DO remember something it sounds so petty to him. Then after the big fight "I hate this, things just are not working" he is super nice, says we need to calm down and be more considerate of each other (still never apologises as I can't give exact examples of things he should apologise for) and then it's all nice and calm for a while before the vicious circle starts again. Every time I think "Maybe it will be ok this time" and it all just happens again eventually.'
I could have wrote this word for word, espcially the bit about the examples. They are abusive men, end of!
i got to the bit where he barges though you... enough to know he is not nice and you are not sensitive. he is cuel to you and the kids with the going out tricks he plays, especially driving off without you. his ttitiude towards you stinks. nasty, nasty, nasty.
hey and it is fantastic living on you own compared to living with someone who is abusive. yes there are hard bits that would be easier if you had someone,but not this someone.
As if you are living with an enemy, and you know you are, but you have to keep it a secret. Excellent description, LPJ.
missus, that is so sad about your mother. Some people are just incredibly corrosive to live with and they will make it their business to destroy you. The only solution is to get away from them.
OP just wanted to say I could have written parts of your post too. Esp the bits about him not getting ready to leave then rushing to do it in 5 mins then sits with 'the face' making out he's been waiting on you all along when you need to go to the loo & put your coat on etc. I def think its bullying & controlling behaviour, not very nice at all. (I've been on the receiving end of that too, its horrid).
No wonder your head is in a spin with it and you can't think clearly. this is what walking on eggshells reduces you to and stops you from being able to speak up and get your point across
All the examples you gave about him is not you being petty, it really isn't. I hope you find the strength to do what you need to do for you, no-one deserves to live like this. Wishing you luck.
Actually, regarding the leaving, do you have a driving license?
Because if my partner was playing up like that, I'd set up a time to leave and would take off in the car if he was not ready within at least 5-10 min.
lweji because each time they get you on the back foot - you believe them when they say "oh i just need the toilet" oh i justt need xxx" it all sounds plausible and realistic...classic with my exp -we were driving for a weekend away "oh i really need to get the car cleaned wont take more than ten minutes..." two hours later...
or the "dont hassle me or we wont go at all" type of blackmail..
you give them the benefit of the doubt and each time it backfires...until the day you wake up and realise that next time you will do things differently and follow thru. and deal with the fall out...
kelly it is only by making a plan to get away that you wil find freedom and peace...
Just for those doubters who may be reading this - standard bloke wind up, fair enough. But every time? To someone you're supposed to love and care about, and your kids? Can you think of a circumstance in which this persistent type of shittiness would be constructive?
Stuff like the delays keeps you always on the back foot. If a visitor was watching, they'd see a bloke mucking around a bit before leaving, right? Nothing to worry about. So, if the woman played her face and drove off without him, she'd look like a right monster, yes?
You have to be in it to realise it's every ... single ... time ... and is part of a pervasive pattern designed to render the woman powerless without looking unreasonable.
.....also to reduce self esteem to zero, reduce external contact and promote the stance that the woman is neurotic.
There is one point I would make - and please don't think I am putting it forward as a 'defence'! ...... I am not sure that all men with this behaviour do it consciously, and am certain that some are simply repeating patterning from their childhood. Without the ability to reflect on their own behaviour (which many perfectly normal people are incapable of doing) their actions may be instinctive. As I said, this is not a defence, but possibly a handle on the mindset.
Delays are a form of obstruction.
DP did that to me but I put it down to the fact that he likes to be the one to lock the door, check lights off, etc. Then I excused him thinking it was that he didn't have a childhood where we would go off for day trips and didn't feel comfortable with it. Later I realised that regardless of the reason, the best thing to do is go anyway. If he's ready he can come, if not, we go anyway. I found that his ability to get ready suddenly improved and if he wasn't ready it didn't eat into our day.
But what puts me on the back foot here is the lack of willingness to be part of Team Family. Seeing me as one of the children rather than as his team partner. In almost everything he does 'for me' - whether it's shopping, taking dcs to the doctors, tidying up, cooking there is always something that he does wrong - something that makes a fair amount of difference and makes me have to re-check or re-do whatever it is he has done 'for me'.
Then if I point it out he pretty much ignores me and I start to think that I'm the controlling one and need to chill...
(sorry to hijack OP - but after a long time you get used to this behaviour and you've just reminded me about it)
MumnGran, it doesn't matter whether abusive behaviours are deliberate or unconscious. This is a common misconception.
All that matters is, when you say/do something that upsets your partner, and you don't care about their upset, you are cruel. When you do it again, you're abusive.
garlicyoni ... no argument from me
I would not excuse my ex for an instant and still believe he should have realised what he was doing, but I have accepted that the behaviour was not necessarily pre-meditated.
Doesn't change a damn thing about living through the experience, but I just find it worth noting. Maybe that's just my need to find reasons ... even after all this time.
It may be an explanation, but good people will take note that they are doing it when told about it and take active steps to change.
The others won't care or do worse.
I felt like this about my Ex.
I was scared of his anger. I couldn't quite put my finger on why.
But I read a book about it, and it clicked: VERY early in our relationship, he HAD done some violent things - throwing stuff at the wall, just once, and driving off really fast 'because I'd upset him'. Stuff like that, I realise now, is actually what triggers that 'fear of angering him'. He is showing you that he will get violent/agressive. Even if he doesn't do it ever again, he taught you that lesson.
I left. It was the best thing I've ever done for me. Chaos for the children though.
He sounds nasty. I think it is his demons, his anger and disappointment in himself and rather than admit or face them, people take the anger they feel out on their partner, turning it round so that the partner is the annoyance and that they themselves are fine. Self delusional to deny their own failings.
Join the discussion
Please login first.