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Does anyone else feel dismayed by what some people will tolerate in their relationships?

(160 Posts)
Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:51:29

Thread about many threads but I sometimes worry that I'm just am old battle axe because when I read some if the stuff on here I'm just shocked at what some people put up with.
I can go early say that if dh went on a dating website, called me names, left me short of money or refused to help with his house or children he'd be out if my life.
Not being smug at all I was in a very subdivide relationship and my exh cheated but both times I got rid.
I'm in my forties so am sad to think that some young women are being raised to tolerate this. Shouldn't it be different now that its easier to go it alone?
Such a pity.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:52:19

Go early = truthfully hmm

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 11-May-13 08:53:15

I am the same as After having come out of an EA and PA relationship, I can easily spot the signs of abuse and manipulation.

Having said this, I still let my ex get away with a lot because I'm scared of him.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:53:45

I find it profoundly depressing. As I've said before, if I could go back in time and tell the 18 year old me about it, I'm sure I wouldn't have believed that women still put up with this sort of stuff.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 08:53:50

It's not as simple as that.

Abuse is often insidious and it usually happens when women are at their most vulnerable.

It still isn't easy to go it alone though. And if it has been gradually coming on then each day is only marginally worse than yesterday.

But yes, knowing someone whose H keeps her short of money and doesn't care too much whether she is consenting at any point, I despair with you.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:55:05

Abusive not subdivide? Obviously older women struggle with I phones!

CoalDustWoman Sat 11-May-13 08:56:09

I'm more depressed about the abusers, tbh.

UnChartered Sat 11-May-13 08:57:16

I understand what you are trying to say here, but feel a need to remind you that abusive relationships aren't born overnight, there is often a long history and posters will have reached certain point.

Fairylea Sat 11-May-13 08:57:47

I agree with you. And I've been in two abusive relationships. But it took me to finally be alone and know that I could cope and be happy alone to reach a point where I simply won't put up with crap anymore.

Dh and I aren't perfect. We argue like everyone else but financially, emotionally and in terms of respecting each other we are on the same page.

I do now. In my 40s having left an abusive relationship. My radar is so finely tuned now and I would not tolerate any kind of even low level disrespect. I'm rearing my children not to tolerate any.

And it's taken me ages to type this because my ipad hates me.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:58:48

I'm not talking about dv as obviously the psychology behind that is massively complex (bitter experience) but the more everyday stuff like "he calls me fat" I just hope my dds will be strong.

EffieTheDuck Sat 11-May-13 08:58:52

Abusers have the knack of sucking all the self confidence from people and if it goes on long term, it can be difficult for those abused to feel strong about anything.sad
I worry about some of the posts I've read on mn and how much shit some women will tolerate.
There is a post live right now and I hope the woman listens to the advice.

headinhands Sat 11-May-13 09:00:39

I honestly think schools should do more on what a healthy relationship looks like. If you're brought up in a home where the power balance between parents/carers isn't equal then that is what the child feels is the norm which sets up a repeating pattern.

Fairylea Sat 11-May-13 09:04:56

I'm always shocked by how sahm's seem to be thankful that their dh allows them some sort of allowance rather than equally sharing all the finances! How is anyone else supposed to respect sahms if we can't even respect ourselves and our right to family finances?? It drives me crazy.

My first dh was awful, he once refused to pay any of the rent as he said he didnr have any money and then went and spent money on the fruit machines! I was livid. When we split up (my choice) he offered me a cheque for £495 (god knows why that amount) as he finally knew he'd beena shit with money ... but it was too late.

Dh and I share finances equally regardless of who is working and we have both supported each other at different points.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 09:05:10

I don't need reminding. I was relocated by the police at 19 with ds1 and ds2 disabled from ex beating me when pg. even then I knew I had to leave or he would murder us.
As I said I mean the more low level stuff like being caught on dating sites.
Dh would literally be out of the door,as would I if he caught me doing the same.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-May-13 09:07:18

I agree. However, 'tolerance' is a personal thing and I know from personal experience how it's possible for a manipulative partner to carefully ramp up their behaviour over time taking the tolerance level gradually up with it.

What dismays me most is hearing this process described because it's got that horrible feeling of inevitability about it. Nostalgia for the early days when the relationship was 'great' ... the repeated offences that get forgiven or excused, each time a little worse than the last... the escalation after the arrival of children... the futile efforts to keep the partner sweet....looking for rational explanations like 'stress' or 'depression'.... the fear of being alone preventing action .... the 'am I expecting too much?', 'am I not good enough?' phase.

I know some contributors on this board think members leap in too quick with LTB but, when you can see the grisly pantomime playing out yet again you really do want to reach in and hoik people out before they waste another 10 years of their life being 'tolerant'.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 09:09:46

Maybe schools could do more yes but it's ultimately the examples we set as parents.
My dsis is thirty and has a yr old baby. Her "d" p is a professional and nice man but he has "never" helped at night even when she was desperate with mastitis and crying baby (mum and I went to help) he had work dontyaknow shock

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 09:12:40

cog yes "depression" as a cause for shagging about and sat at the family PC paying to wank over strangers. Brilliant.

TheSecondComing Sat 11-May-13 09:15:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cognito I agree. There was one poster recently who was me 10 years ago. Or at least was where I was iykwim.

Same story.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 11-May-13 09:17:11

I see what your saying Ledkr, this is the stuff that annoys me a lot too. I can understand more so why people put up with abuse, as they are scared, but low level manipulation and put downs I just don't get.

I've definitely taken a much more feminist stance in recent times, and am much less tolerant of sexism and degrading comments.

And yes to what TSC said as well.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 09:23:03

Oh yes that too TSC my dh hasn't text me for two hrs etc etc. annoying.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-May-13 09:24:48

I think the fear of being alone is a big driver. Not just the practical side but all those misogynistic social taboos about being 'an old maid' or 'on the shelf'. I think a lot of women (and probably quite a few men) take that very much to heart and see singledom as an admission of failure. And then there are even more social pressures to 'take the rough with the smooth' , 'work through the bad patches', 'make an effort' when in a relationship... even the ceremony mentions 'for better for worse'. It all adds up to a very powerful trap... frightened to break free at the same time as feeling compelled to stick around and 'try harder'.

My mother tells me I'm going to be old and lonely all the time. She cannot comprehend that I'd rather be old and alone (not lonely) than be with someone who wasn't right for me/didn't treat me with respect/was abusive.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 09:30:05

I think the clue is in low level.

It grows over time and it may never seem enough to leave, particularly if you already have children, for example.

I mean, you, OP only left when you felt your life was at risk. Surely the pregnancy beatings were a big clue?

Obviously you are in a different place now. But surely you can understand how some women go on on such relationships, instead of being dismayed?

TheSecondComing Sat 11-May-13 09:30:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cozietoesie Sat 11-May-13 09:30:44

What frightens me is that I can see early semi-warning signs in some of the relationships or attitudes that the youngsters in our family have - and if you try to say something they don't believe you/won't listen to you.

I sometimes worry whether we've really moved on at all. It all seemed more straightforward when they were 10, 11, 12 or so but as soon as they arrived at mid teens it's as if they had to invent everything anew for themselves.

ofmiceandmen Sat 11-May-13 09:32:38

And sometimes it's the incidental stuff, a pinch, and kick in the shins whilst holding the baby or a punch in the chest/stomach in passing. The fact that it's not actually physically painful does not diminish what it does to your self confidence and feeling of self worth. (but that's in the past)
Yes men do go through it too.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 09:33:39

as soon as they arrived at mid teens it's as if they had to invent everything anew for themselves.

No shit, Sherlock.

That's what being a teenager is all about.
Our old age wisdom is worth nothing.

We have had to learn by ourselves and so do they have to as well.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 09:34:00

I was 16-19 with nowhere to go no family help or money. He was a violent individual whom even the police feared.
Until he beat me he'd only ever pulled my hair.
When he beat me I left.
The main injurys occurred after I'd left which is the most dangerous time for a woman.
I have pointed out several times that I am not really talking about dv in this instance.

Exactly TSC. And I never felt the need to have constant texts from someone either. But then, I'm old and I was an adult before mobile phones were invented. So I didn't grow up with the constant texting.

Playerpleeeese Sat 11-May-13 09:35:13

I was in a relationship last year that was, looking back on it now, extremely emotional abusive. Growing up I knew that being hit and cheated on was bad and you should not tolerate it. But the name calling, gas lighting, financial abuse, walking on eggshells, silent treatment, threatning to kill me, pinching me as a joke, the sexual vilonce, trying to cut me off from friends and family....I didn't know what was happening.

I knew something was wrong, but he was a master manipulator and it all always ended up being my fault. I was a mess and a shell of my former self but I couldn't understand why, I mean he never hit me or cheated on me sooooo what was the problem right?

I assumed it was my fault because I was a shit person.
Then I feel pregnant, and joined mumsnet. I read the relationships board in horror I realised what he was. I felt trapped and like I couldn't breathe.
It got worse when I was pregnant, refusing to have sex with me because I was disgusting etc, refusing to do anything around the house, he started on my DS after I became pregnant as well, I think he thought he'd 'got me now' and I wouldn't leave. He knew I wouldn't of put up with that otherwise. However I was so happy to be having his baby, I thought everything would be ok after that. I was kidding myself obviously.

I lost the baby at 14 weeks, suffered complications and nearly died. He again called me disgusting and fucked off.
It was an awful awful time, but at no moment did I wish him back, it was like a weight had been lifted.

I so glad he went, I can't believe what I put up with, it only would of got worse for my DS, myself and the baby.
But I am sad still due to losing the baby, it was much wanted. It's coming up to my due date now, and I'm feeling down about the whole thing. It's such a mix up of emotions I do struggle with it.

But I would never tolerate any of that behaviour again, and now know what to look out for and what's not acceptable. Thanks to mumsnet grin

cozietoesie Sat 11-May-13 09:36:23

Yes, Lweji , I know. But when you see a train wreck about to happen, it hurts to have to stand by, eh?

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 09:39:30

Until he beat me he'd only ever pulled my hair.

This is what I'm talking about.
It's the low level stuff.

Surely there were red flags before.
Surely he didn't just suddenly start being nasty.

PoppyField Sat 11-May-13 09:39:56

Totally support what Cogito said. To see the pattern again and again in threads here is excruciating, but having lived EA, I understand exactly how it can go on for years. It is hard from the outside to see how anyone puts up with such horrendous behaviour, but that's why it is so insidious and powerful. Abuse often grows gradually for years, escalates sometimes, steadily gets worse by which time the victim is brilliantly conditioned to life on the verge of terror.

It is a good point that the abuser will also step it up when his victim is most vulnerable. Directly (hours, days, weeks) after the birth of a child is a typical time - sickening isn't it?

I too desperately want to reach in and short-circuit the 'grisly pantomime' that inevitably plays out... but even when abuse is recognised by the victim there is a lot of stop/start, backwards and forwards... defending the abuser, justifying behaviour etc before they get to a kind of certainty - which is that 'he will never change', 'he knows he is treating you appallingly and that's how he likes it' and 'No he doesn't love you!' and 'Yes, the only way to stop it is to ltb!'. Unfortunately, there's no short cut - every victim has to get there her own way. MN is great help though and it has helped me stick to my course when I have wobbled with all the guilt and blame that gets piled on to me.

Yup and I don't think schools can do much apart from support a culture of respect. So much of how you value yourself comes from family role models, and even if you think you had a brillant childhood you are still possibly absorbing potentially damaging messages about male/female relationships. It certainly affects who you pick. Arrghghgh!

It is shocking to think how many men think they own someone. I wish I didn't feel cynical but it does make you wonder what on earth is going on. I feel a bit like I'm in one of those 50s bodysnatcher movies when the heroine (that's me) suddenly realises she is surrounded, 'Like, who are these people? Oh my god they're everywhere! Is he one? Is he one? How can you tell?'

PoppyField Sat 11-May-13 09:42:36

Oh yes - meant to say, abuse being stepped up in pregnancy is just as common and just as sickening.

moonfacebaby Sat 11-May-13 09:42:59

I think in terms of infidelity, it's often the shock of it that affects how you respond.

When my STBEX had an affair, I just couldn't quite believe it - he was always so loyal & trustworthy - I would have (foolishly) bet all my worldly possessions that he wasn't capable of it.

I was always adamant that if anyone cheated on me, they'd be out of the door straightaway. However, when it happened, I couldn't make sense of it & flailed around, not knowing my arse from my elbow.

After 5 months of trying to stay together, I'd had enough & then booted him out.

The grieving was awful - more for the man I thought he was & the loss of my family & the future I though I had.

Now, a year later after discovering his affair, I know that if any man did that to me again, I would never even attempt to work through it & he'd be chucked out immediately.

Sometimes, I don't think we know how we'll react in a situation of such high emotions until we're actually in it.

And one of the good things about these experiences is that we often end up wiser, stronger & more protective of ourselves.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 09:46:34

I mean, I'm probably at the level you are now.

I have just dumped someone because some things just weren't quite right.
And it took me a few days to make a decision.

When you grow to understand that you have to work at your relationship, and accept the other person, etc, etc, and particularly when you find yourself somewhat dependent then it's really hard to just dump your partner.
When it feels more difficult to leave than to stay, we, women, tend to put up with it.

It is sad, yes, but I do despair that other women can be dismayed at women who put up with this stuff.

Playerpleeeese Sat 11-May-13 09:46:54

It is shocking to think how many men think they own someone. I wish I didn't feel cynical but it does make you wonder what on earth is going on. I feel a bit like I'm in one of those 50s bodysnatcher movies when the heroine (that's me) suddenly realises she is surrounded, 'Like, who are these people? Oh my god they're everywhere! Is he one? Is he one? How can you tell?'

This ^^

Since my ex left and I joined mumsnet, I see relationships in a completely different light, I am horrified about the things that go on around me. I try to say, but they just think I'm 'man hating' and 'off men at the moment'.

It needs to be spoken about more

TheRealFellatio Sat 11-May-13 09:50:44

I don't need reminding. I was relocated by the police at 19 with ds1 and ds2 disabled from ex beating me when pg.

confused Can you explain that sentence?

Are both DS1 and DS2 disabled as a result of the beatings, or just DS2, or is it you who is disabled from the beating?

In fact, whatever the answer is, if this man was beating you before your second pregnancy then I think you are not really in a position to be questioning why other young women put up with such shit in their relationships!

PoppyField Sat 11-May-13 09:51:36

At least an affair - although wrenching - is something you can recognize as a deal-breaker. Same as being hit is unacceptable - but even that's only been absorbed by our culture quite recently. That's the trouble with the manipulative, gaslighting, pinching, 'just joking' abuse - we are not trained to recognise it and difficult to tell when it starts and finishes. It's much less easy to know what is going on and react.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-May-13 09:52:40

" 'Like, who are these people? Oh my god they're everywhere! Is he one? Is he one? How can you tell?'"

I remember a 'just for fun' works pool tournament we held at the local pub one night. One of the women I worked with... lovely person... brought her DH along and he spent all night loudly coaching her from the sidelines. "YOU WANT THE TOP POCKET"... "BIT OF SIDE ON THAT CUE-BALL"... "HAVE YOU CHALKED YOUR CUE LOVE?"... "NO NOT LIKE THAT" etc. After an hour or so of this 'advice' the rest of the women & a few of the men in the room would have happily shoved cue, rest & triangle up the man's arse.... sideways. She didn't seem bothered at all.

Dismay about covers it.

Badvoc Sat 11-May-13 09:53:56

Dh and I were talking about this yesterday after seeing a news report on the American kidnappings.
Why do some people think they own or control others?
Is it something that could/should be picked up at an earl age?
Are those boys who bully girls at school going to turn out like that?
What is their home life like?
Do they just copy what they see everyday?

cozietoesie Sat 11-May-13 09:54:44

I wonder how many women have spent years listening to 'You do know that this car has five gears do you?' Low key and insidious.

Smudging Sat 11-May-13 09:59:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 10:02:10

fellatio this thread was never about dv I have had to explain myself several times.
I was with a man from 16 got pg with ds1 no violence thus far. When I was pg with ds2 he beat me at 6 months causing prem labour and ds to have cp Bd renal failure (he is waiting for a transplant now) I never returned to him from the hospital.
Over the next few months he repeatedly broke into my houses raped and beat me until the police relocated me until he went to prison.
It was 27 yrs ago so the law was not particularly helpful and refuges were awful places.
Is that enough detail for you? Why the aggression?

northlight Sat 11-May-13 10:34:58

Ledkr - I hope a kidney becomes available soon. I am so sorry for the horrors you endured.

It seems to me that many abusers spend time at the beginning of their relationship establishing a 'template' as a decent, loving, normal human being. When the abuse begins and is slowly ramped up, the victim, since they actually are a decent, loving, normal human being, sees the abuse as an abberation. Victims then spend a long time trying to fix the situation so they can have their original 'good' partner back.

However, there seems to be a distinct lack of stories about people who have gone through abuse and come out the other side with a normalised relationship.

An abuser is an abuser is an abuser - because that is their object in life.

diddl Sat 11-May-13 10:41:29

Well it seems a step back in terms of keeping hold of your man at all costs imo.

I can see how someone without support might put up with more & for longer.

I was pushed down the stairs-well I happened to be standing at the top of the stairs when pushed.

It was the first time, but the being pushed was enough & I was lucky enough to just be able to move back in with parents.

Well, I think Ledkr has raised a really important point. Mumsnet helped me an awful lot, even if I was mostly lurking. Just reading and seeing the responses to situations I long had thought were just something you had to get through.
I come from a home with both parents very loving, my dad is a gentle man. My brothers too. I still got into two abusive relationships, in one way thinking that people are not that nasty, ergo this is not how it seems.
Mumsnet should be compulsory reading for 14-16 year olds, of both sexes!
A bit grim perhaps, but could be a lifesaver for many.
With hindsight I'm sure red flags are waving that many young women just can't see. It's time that these red flags were talked about in schools and everywhere really. Abusers would then also get a strong message that, no- these sort of jokes are not funny, you are wrong! This behaviour is not tolerated by anyone anymore.
There is hope I'm sure.

Fleecyslippers Sat 11-May-13 11:36:33

I also have the benefit of hindsight. I'm horrified at what I tolerated in my own relationship but now understand why it happened.
It's left me with a very low tolerane though. I walked out of a restaurant cos my date ordered a bottle of wine witjout discussing it with me....

arthriticfingers Sat 11-May-13 11:54:10

Way to go slippers, grin
I am getting there, but I hope my daughters are already there: start putting up with crap and keeping your gob shut and you will end up in the shit - which is a much much worse place that ending up on your own!

ThingummyBob Sat 11-May-13 11:54:37

Fleecy, I left my (birthday) meal with someone I was seeing last year. He referred to his ex as a bitch so I stood up and left. I only saw him once more to formally end the relationship. He told me I was 'high maintenance' hmm

Having come through an abusive relationship before, I see the signs so clearly now.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 12:01:56

Fleecy and Thingummy me too! I'm also dismayed by what I tolerated in a previous relationship. But onwards and upwards.

I haven't even got to the stage where I'm dating properly again yet, I look at any new man askance smile

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 12:14:07

What dismays me is how these red flags and behaviour are questioned by OPs here in MN and there are often some people who think it's normal and it's not that bad.
In virtually all cases it turns out to be a lot worse than what the OP reported initially.
Or the OP reappears some time later with increased issues.

simplesusan Sat 11-May-13 12:31:04

It is depressing.
All around are messages saying women should put up and shut up.
That boys will be boys.
My dh was telling me that a friend of ours had had a frosty reception from his wife, as instead of coming home after a night away, decided to stay out drinking. I asked him if women behaved in his way and he said most probably not.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 12:46:34

This is a very good thread to post Ledkr and I share your dismay at what people will withstand in order to remain in a relationship. However I don't necessarily agree that it's 'easier' now for women to leave bad relationships, or even to recognise they are in them.

With regard to the 'recognition' some of that's to do with behaviour that has been normalised that in previous times, would have been obvious deal-breakers. On any thread on any internet site in 2013, a woman will be told by a significant cohort that she is being unreasonable and controlling for wanting to end a relationship because her partner uses porn or visits sex clubs on stag nights or with work colleagues.

At the same time, women are still brainwashed by Romance and beliefs that if they lose their financial independence to raise children, their marriages will never hit trouble and they will never need an exit route. At a time when there is limited social housing, private rents are unaffordable, benefits are being cut, the CSA fails to reflect the true cost of children and women's services are being cut to the bone, more women are trapped now than they were in earlier times.

In some cases though, people stay in bad relationships for too long because of selfishness - and this is something that hasn't changed. These are people who could manage financially on their own and their children's lives would be far happier if there was a separation, but their parents as individuals don't want to have less money, find work, be singularly responsible for childcare and a household or be labelled as a single parent.

And in some cases, people get so attached to their 'victim status' that they don't want to give it up and take responsibility for bettering their lives or those of their children.

LegoLegoEverywhere Sat 11-May-13 13:36:58

I was brought up with low level manipulation and insidious comments on a daily basis. So I assumed this was normal. It's like death by a thousand cuts. I did not realize how dysfunctional this was until my 30s.

When I met my H he was like a breath of fresh air. Only he wasn't, he was simply not as bad as my mother. Being brought up in that environment meant his controlling and nasty comments were normal. I had not experienced anything different. I deserved it. (Don't think that now by the way).

So some people will put up with it because its what they've always known. I did. My self esteem was continually battered and its really hard as mothers are supposed to be the protector and champion of their child not their abuser. I've lost count of the times she told me she did those things because she cares.

Thankfully I don't see her anymore and I've separated from him.

ImperialBlether Sat 11-May-13 13:48:43

I'm horrified by what women will accept and yet I suppose they would be horrified by what I accepted. My ex was unfaithful a number of times throughout our very long relationship and each time I tried to minimise it and forget it. I did love him but eventually that love went when I saw that was going to be my future.

Having said that, we had a good relationship apart from that - I know it sounds mad but there was none of this shit about someone expecting you to do everything in the house, withholding money, speaking to you like you are dirt, not standing up for you, etc.

I think that was why I could stay all that time, because unless I found out something was going on, everything seemed fine.

I think the way I dealt with his infidelities were due to low self esteem and low self worth, but then that doesn't account for the fact that if he'd once hit me or been selfish with money or been plain nasty, I would have left. I don't know how to explain why I put up infidelity but wouldn't put up with someone who called me names. Any wise words would be welcome.

TwllBach Sat 11-May-13 13:49:26

*I was brought up with low level manipulation and insidious comments on a daily basis. So I assumed this was normal. It's like death by a thousand cuts. I did not realize how dysfunctional this was until my 30s.

This, exactly this. I am 25 now and it is only recently that I am starting to see how my life and childhood and my parents relationship was not how it should be.

It is so common and so glossed over at the same time.

hermioneweasley Sat 11-May-13 13:55:51

I completely agree with you OP and Cogito- I can't believe what people post thnking it's within the band of normal, or they are somehow responsible.

Also see there's a thread called "support for those in EA relationships" and I always think "well if you know your relationship is EA then why are you staying. I am completely baffled.

chillinwithmyyonis Sat 11-May-13 13:56:41

I think people put blame on the woman, 'oh she's so stupid to stay with him, why doesn't she just leave', LTB, saying its easy to leave, it is not. Even in the relationships threads, you see people using condescending language like 'hunny, sweetheart, darling', talking to them as if they're little girls, its ridiculous. The blame should be with the men first and then society for not making it easy to leave.

These women are not stupid, maybe they are thinking of continuing stability for their children, not going into temporary accomodation while they wait weeks for their benefits to be calculated meanwhile living hand to mouth or having to travel miles to a foodbank. At least if they stay, they might be financially abused, physically or emotionally abused but in their eyes the children are 'safe' and provided for.

Society needs to make it easier for women to leave, is David Cameron doing that, is he fuck, look at the benefit reformations and the removal of CB for higher earners.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 14:05:40

ImperialBlether I suspect it was because you were wise enough to realise that his infidelities weren't an attack on you personally or even your relationship. So you could see that this was his own personal flaw and it didn't have anything to do with you or the quality of the relationship.

Dahlen Sat 11-May-13 14:05:49

Charbon - that's a very insightful post.

Ledkr - I"m sorry you've been through everything you've described. That must have been so frightening and the powerlessness you must have felt is so, so wrong.

This comment: 'Like, who are these people? Oh my god they're everywhere! Is he one? Is he one? How can you tell?' I had to laugh at it. Once I left my own abusive relationship, this was me - for about 3 years! In my process of healing and learning I went too far the other way in seeing red flags in a bid to protect myself. It took a few years for me to achieve the right balance, which I now have. Sadly, I remain shocked at the number of men out there who are, while not abusive, obviously benefitting from privileges accorded to them purely because of their sex, which ultimately puts all women at a disadvantage and creates a world in which low level abuse can put in an appearance. From there, it's inevitable that some will progress to horrific levels.

DoingItForMyself Sat 11-May-13 14:10:13

Hermione a lot of the people on the EA thread are planning to leave but its not something that you can always do instantly so they support each other while planning their escape or while trying to find ways to cope with the situation if they have chosen to stay. It can be frustrating to read, but some people really don't feel that they have a choice.

When you have been emotionally abused for several years, your confidence in your own capabilities is at an all-time low. You don't believe that you could possibly survive on your own, that you are capable of finding a job or a home, or even of filling in the forms you need to be able to claim benefits.

When even making a phone call makes you feel sick with fear because you "know" that you will stammer and forget to ask the right questions and end up sounding like an idiot, making the leap to singledom seems like an unimaginable task.

Sometimes it takes an outsider or 10 (thanks MN!) to point out that you are strong and capable, that there is a better life out there and that, contrary to what you have been told, everyone else will NOT find you repugnant or avoid you because you are a divorced mum of 3, that you are not high maintenance or expecting too much, that this behaviour is not just "how men are", that there is hope of a normal relationship. But this turnaround doesn't happen overnight, any more than the gradual erosion of your entire being happens instantly, it is the product of prolonged and subtle abuse over years.

LetsGetGoing Sat 11-May-13 14:12:06

I read your post and its really touched me, I know I should leave my marriage but trying to get the strength to do it, is so hard. I'm 33, married 2 years, 10 month baby, not from England & no family here, some good friends though. I have forgiven him for so much (not an affair, just his behaviour) and believed him when he has said he is sorry, said it would be better, but its not been better, in fact it got really bad when I was pregnant and hasn't got much better than since our baby arrived. As you say, many things happened when I was at my most 'vunerable'. I dont want my baby to turn out like him, see the way he behaves and think its acceptable. Every time it turns bad (loud screaming, verbal abuse, not physical), I say I cant handle this and we need to end our marriage, he says he will not let me leave this country with our baby, threatens to take me to court. It just feels like its battle, after battle. Then he will turn around and say that he wants to make it work, it will all be okay, say we need to try, try harder. I work in a good profession, but feels so bloody stupid for getting myself into this situation and as Cog says I fear; I fear for being on my own; fear how am I meant to manage (I'm going back to work in 2 months, am I meant to stay in 'his' house, move out and rent, where would I rent); fear I will be stuck in England; fear how my life will be.

I think education at school is a good age, my parents have been married 39 years, never been in an abusive relationship, nor my friends, so perhaps if it formed part of education, I would have been able to recognise 'flags' much earlier on. I guess I was always blinded by love, but the love has chipped away.

TiredFeet Sat 11-May-13 14:13:14

this thread is interesting, why do we put up with it. my relationship with 'd'h was good until ds was born and then he changed. but I was so vulnerable I just believed himwhen he told me I was a 'shit mum' etc etc. luckily I had enough sense to go back to work part time so I can now afford to show him the door. but it took me a long time and several mumsnet threads to work out it wasn't normal/ ok

EternalRose Sat 11-May-13 14:19:46

Same for me twiibach

I have only even been abused, this includes my own mother and father and every relationship I have had...

Today I look in the mirror and I don't even recognise myself.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 14:19:49

I agree that society needs to change and that the way it's constructed severely limits people's choices but given that we know that intellectually and can acknowledge that this government is making leaving harder not easier, it's depressing when women still give up good careers, lose their financial independence and fail to have a back-up plan if their romantic dreams go to ashes. Accepting that no choice is made in a vacuum, some choices that people make are a triumph of hope over experience and are therefore irrational and clouded by romantic nonsense.

ImperialBlether Sat 11-May-13 14:20:28

Charbon, you could be right, in that I know that the women concerned were fed up of him telling them how great I was. I think if there had been dislike for me, he would have just left. It still fucked me up, though.

BigBlockSingsong Sat 11-May-13 14:23:38

I agree its frustrating, I think argh"!

but also the thought of me going alone is very scary, where would I go? would my friends/family take his side?

these must be prominent thoughts to these people.

I also think people hold too much on a 'big event' like cheating,being hit etc to leave rather than , he has no respect I'm off!!

DoingItForMyself Sat 11-May-13 14:30:56

When the 'abuse' is things like criticising and 'joking' about your appearance it can be difficult to use that as justification for breaking up your family, as no-one else can possibly understand the impact those little digs every day can have on you.

Saying that you left your H because he joked about you looking like a fat unattractive TV character or insisted that you order Indian when you prefer Chinese sounds so petty, but when it is constant and unrelenting, when it is coupled with a hundred other tiny incidents (like restacking the dishwasher because obviously you are incapable of doing it properly, or not giving you passwords in case you lose them or mess something up, or not allowing you access to bank accounts because you might go overdrawn, so you have to ask for money) one day the final straw breaks the camel's back and then you say enough is enough.

TheRealFellatio Sat 11-May-13 14:34:16

No aggression at all, just a straightforward question! You still haven't said whether he was violent or abusive to you in any way before the beating at 6month PG that damaged your son though. Was that the first time? I'm going to hazard a guess that it wasn't, and that you stuck around and hoped he'd change for reasons best known to yourself.

I just thought that given that admission it was a little odd to be 'dismayed' at women who stay with men who leave them short of money or call them names!

I saw that you said this thread was not about DV, but I don't see how you can separate different kinds of ill treatment, find reason to justify/understand why some women stay in highly abusive relationships, or at least take a long time to leave them, and then on the other hand say 'he'd be out of my life' about any man who didn't pull his weight around the house or help with the children.

Cabrinha Sat 11-May-13 14:59:28

I'm an educated, strong willed, financially independent woman who has just dumped her husband for having sex with prostitutes.

Years ago, the indicators started: local escort sites in browser. Why did I stay?

The reasons are so many, some quite specific to me, some probably very common.

Here's two though:
- pornification of society: when he said he was just curious, I figured that was normal

- my upbringing: growing up, I was only ever valued and praised for being mature, sensible, calm... My response was "everyone had problems, you have to work at relationships, I should seek to understand, book counselling etc". I told a friend it was like I was striving for the brownie badge in dealing maturely with a relationship issue.

Someone without that upbringing might have said "fuck this! Laters!"

He wasn't abusive, controlling. But I just lacked the chip that says it's OK to say "this isn't my problem to fix - bye".

StillSeekingSpike Sat 11-May-13 15:03:44

'I am horrified about the things that go on around me. I try to say, but they just think I'm 'man hating' and 'off men at the moment'. '

YY to that. My abusive relationship was a continual stream of little digs and controlling behaviour - until I started standing up to him. At which point, he started the physical attacks. I so wish I had had Mumsnet at the time- because I actually felt ASHAMED that this was happening to me in my relationship. sad
The other week my work colleague was telling us a 'funny' story about how she had her hair done differently at the hairdressers. When she walked in her husband said 'You can just walk right back and get that changed'. So the hairdresser had to strip all the dye from her hair. I didn't find it a very funny story....

RunningWithSharpScissors Sat 11-May-13 15:09:12

I think it depends on how unhappy the 'abuse' makes you. I discovered that my H was on dating/affair websites, I tried to live with it for a few years but then decided to separate around 18 months ago.
Today, I've never been more miserable, unhappy or lonely, I was married for along time, I still miss him dreadfully, I cry nearly every morning when I wake up alone. I hate it.
I've tried everything, internet dating, social groups, evening classes. I have counselling and been prescribed anti depressants.
I'd rather be back where I was.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 15:21:03

Oh Running, I just want to give you a hug. Is it just that you feel lonely rather than missing him? Don't you feel glad that you don't have to worry about what he's up to?

I'm sorry you feel like that RunningWSS. I would rather be alone than with anybody who was behaving like that.

OP, I feel like I am possibly too intolerant but I am bitter that I wasted years in a toxic relationship. The older, wiser me would get out when she realised things weren't going to change for the better. Now I have a lovely DH who would never deliberately do anything unsupportive of me so I know it's possible to escape the EA and move onto something great. That's what makes me think LTB.

RunningWithSharpScissors Sat 11-May-13 15:31:09

It's both. I'm dreadfully lonely. I miss his companionship and his kindness, yes he was kind to me, despite what he was doing. There's just no-one there to talk stuff over with, no-one there to share something great you've seen, no-one to show your new clothes to, no-one there to give you a hug when you feel down. I feel like half a person.
I rarely come on here, because it seems full of people who think it's ridiculous that there are people who just 'need' a partner, people who are really miserable living by themselves. I think there's always some degree of compromise in a relationship and the level of compromise is a personal thing.
I realise that there are things that just shouldn't be tolerated (DV for instance), but apart from that, instead of shouting LTB I would urge people to think more than twice before taking that step. I would argue that there's no such thing as a 'perfect relationship'.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 15:31:16

Here's shameful. my eldest dd (19) heading blindly into a horrific relationship with a "boy" also 19 who when she fell pregnant last year, hot footed it on a skiing holiday (while her friend went with her for termination) also donated her a touch of clymidia, slept with soemone else on the holiday, verbally abused her, gossiped and badmouthed her all over uni.
They are back together.
She loves hime.
He said he was sorry and bought her a handbag.
I don't understand. He has changed.
God fucking help us all, what can I do? I want to break his legs or just get 5 mins in aroom with him and a big stick.
But she loves him. She is happy. Her friends hate him especially those that stood by her when he went AWOL.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 15:36:01

Running what is he up to now? Do you have good friends that can do all these things, i.e. chat, show stuff off to?

What about family? I do a lot of that with my mum, aunties, sisters and cousins.

Playerpleeeese Sat 11-May-13 15:42:52

lolaflores I'm sorry your DD is going through that, what a wanker he is! It's so hard. Looking back, my mum has always been right about every guy I've ever been with, good or bad. I'm 24 and I've only just realised this!

But unfortunately they come back with there take In between there legs full of bullshit excuses. I heard them all from dad walked out when I was two, my mum is an alcoholic, my ex cheated on me, it's the way you are that makes me like this, I'm tired, if you were thinner, if you didn't have your DS I wouldn't be like this, it's your friends they wind me up, I'm just young that's why I'm like this, your boring, your too confident people think your a lesbian tone it down a bit it embarrasses me, your not girly enough.....blah blah blah

I now know that if they have to make excuses for there behaviour they aren't worth having around.

Print this thread out and show your daughter!

Lola, you poor things - both of you. I suspect all you can do is be there for her and gently point out that she shouldn't have to put up with such behaviour. Ultimately, she will only learn by her own mistakes though. I dread that kind of situation when my DDs grow up.

RunningWithSharpScissors Sat 11-May-13 15:44:07

lolaf sad but you say she is happy - she may be unhappy in the future, but at least she is happy now

CC he has a 'friend', he says they're not an item. I rarely see him, but I saw him a few days ago for coffee and a chat. I have a few good friends, but they are all married and busy with their families. I'm trying to make new friends, hence the social group etc., but it's just not the same as a partner.

I've just run out of things to try, the weekends are often just a big long empty space to get through til Monday morning.
Sorry to be so negative, I'd better sign off

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 15:44:56

player that is a spot on idea. If she won't listen to me, then perhaps the massed voices of The Sisterhood" can get her hearing sorted out.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 15:45:18

Running, I think most of us here do enjoy having that companionship.
The point is that if we need that relationship to be happy, we may easily head into a bad relationship because we fear the loneliness.
Some people need other people around more than others.
I don't constantly need people, but I still like to have someone to share my life with. It's normal.

Have you had counselling?
It feels like you may still be hanged up on your ex, perhaps comparing other men with him, or afraid of getting hurt again?

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 15:52:22

Running what do you actually enjoy doing? Don't sign off!

I think things I've learnt relatively recently is that you have to be prepared to live without anyone, as you don't know what's going to happen in life, and you have to maintain your independence and keep yourself busy.

I had quite a few close people die and spent YEARS in an unhealthy relationship, to my shame. I'm really looking forward to rebuilding my independence (though I'm slightly cynical about love at present).

Things can get better!

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 15:53:37

running all the above is true.

Playerpleeeese Sat 11-May-13 15:54:19

lola it took my auntie pulling me to one side and saying, ' the only times your uncle has ever made me cry is when he proposed and when we got married. We argue, but it's a two way street, we are both still respectful. He has never called me a name or raised his voice to me, that's how men behave'

Then I got it.

Who the hell is this guy to tell me how to be? If he doesn't like me for me, he can move on and find someone he does like! What makes him so perfect anyway???

My mum had been telling me similar for years, but I was like yeah yeah you don't understand mum, it's passion, your boring blush

What a twat I was!! grin

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 16:00:22

Something I don't think is acknowledged enough on Mumsnet and also the Emotional Abuse threads is when the victim turns abuser and so a couple are emotionally abusing eachother because neither has the courage to end the relationship. It's not uncommon for people who've suffered from emotional abuse to start affairs (often with married people who are in turn abusing their own spouses) to make life more bearable, to engage their children in supporting their 'victim' status or to get into a points-scoring war with the abusive partner. This is hellish for children and the couple's wider circle who are unwittingly drawn into the toxicity and crossfire of a couple who are co-dependent and mutually abusive.

I wish more posters would have the courage to challenge that behaviour instead of supporting it. Support groups/threads for people in damaging situations always have the potential for that fatal flaw though - any challenge is regarded as being 'unsupportive' and it's sometimes perceived as a threat to people who don't really want change but get some comfort from the sympathy. And as long as there is security in numbers and other people are in the same boat, there's a level of comfort with that. It can be quite frightening and challenging if one of them breaks for freedom, or starts examining her own behaviour and takes responsibility for it.

That's not to say that support groups and threads don't serve a very useful purpose and they can be a marvellous resource for people who feel isolated and quite alone. But sometimes there is more value in hearing from people who aren't putting up with bad behaviour, those who did but saw the light and there also needs to be recognition that support comes in many forms and not just a 'there, there, none of this is your fault' type of response, especially when people are now behaving extremely badly themselves.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 16:07:53

Charbon, yes, I'd agree with that.

ginslinger Sat 11-May-13 16:10:28

One of the things I struggle with is how many people in long term, established relationships with children have completely separate finances. I don't understand this at all although I do understand having separate bank accounts for that feeling of independence for both people but it should still all be from the same pot.

Running it's best to go no contact as much as possible when you leave - you are still keeping the wound open by seeing him again. Find some hobbies, exercise etc., that you like doing and use this time for getting to know/enjoying yourself.

You are used to being in a long running marriage so it feels very unfamiliar and strange to be on your own but you will adjust in time and have the potential to meet a much better partner. Really, your XH being on dating sites - so disrespectful - and you were putting up with it rather than being alone - and he knows it. He is not your friend.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 16:55:25

Player thank you. your auntie sounds like a good un.

Charbon it is so complicated isn't it. The grey areas. How things spill over.

A friend went back to an abusive partner. She had got out, got herself into a place with her DS, but somehow, somehow...nothing has changed. BUT, I think, she wanted another child (she is in her mid 40's) now and is prepared to put up with his shit so that she can achieve that. That is how it looks to me. I might be wrong, but why would you stay when you KNOW totally that it is unhealthy and that both boys you are raising are starting to act out like their dad. They both now hit her.

By the way, can I add that boys and self esteem as well as girls should be looked at.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 17:05:48

lola the boys now hit her...? Actually I was wondering about what you said about men earlier, if they don't have role models to emulate and have made mistakes then where would they go to/how would they improve their behaviour and decisions?

SgtTJCalhoun Sat 11-May-13 17:29:58

I agree that you just don't realise. My parents were violent and emotionally abusive so when the same things happened with ex H I just felt that this was how relationships are. Combined with the constant message that relationships are Hard Work and you have to keep on trying.

I posted on here about him back in 2007. I told of a really small incident (I thought) where ex H and I were arguing at a low level while carrying ds in his buggy down the stairs at a train station. Ex H at the top end began barging forward, essentially pushing me down the stairs with the buggy. I also said he would deliberately stand in my way when I was coming in with heavy loads or shopping eg bending down to talk to ds in his buggy for ages but it felt deliberate iyswim? He would be positioned so I couldn't get past and I would be stood there not able to move. If I complained WW3 would kick off and he would look at me in disgust and say "I am talking to my son! Who are you to stop me?"

Someone actually said "this is abusive" on the thread. I did not know that I really didn't. And of course as I carried on posting more stuff came out. The withholding money, the refusal to do any Childcare or domestic work in the house, ever. He was violent and unfaithful to but that came later when I started to stand up to him.

People just don't KNOW they are being abused. They are so used to it. Mumsnet taught me. I was clueless till I came on here. Now I am an expert. I see it so often. I think I will be single forever though. Just can't be arsed trying to have relationships. Just too many out there like that.

PoppyField Sat 11-May-13 17:36:49

With you Cabrinha - I was brought up in a family where non-confrontation was highly prized, alongside being sensible, logical, calm, rational etc.

I also thought I would get the prize for dealing with my marriage problems in a calm, rational, textbook manner. And that my commitment, dedication and determination would mend us. Hmmm.

Giving up career is dangerous, in retrospect. And I wonder if we neglect the way some men see it as well. Once you give up work it's as if they think you've changed into a servant. A proper humble one at that.

Not only does dropping the job give us no financial independence and no escape route when bad things happen, but I totaly underestimated what it meant for him. I think my STBXH saw it as a green light to assert control. He started trying to dominate me and saw nothing wrong in it. It was as if I could suddenly be overruled and countermanded and I couldn't understand where this was coming from. And then when I indignantly tried to point out his huge double standards using logic, reasoned argument etc etc... OMG he would just hit the roof. And so began my journey to being terrified of the man I loved...

My mum was a housewife. So despite my parents' marriage ending in divorce a long time after I left home, I still saw financial dependence (for a while with young children, I wanted to go back to career) as ok because of course I trusted my STBXH. So I gave up a demanding, rewarding, competitive job with people I really liked because I wanted babies... and trusted that all was equal. I never doubted my 'equalness'. I never saw the idea of him earning money and me looking after the babies as equivalent to me taking a subordinate role and giving up my right to an opinion. Trouble is, he DID.

Unfortunately STBXH seemed to have no recognition of my equalness at all. Therein lies the problem.

arthriticfingers Sat 11-May-13 17:50:04

Charbon what you are saying amounts to victim blaming.
Abuse has nothing to do with bad behaviour; it is about entitlement and control.
Violence is only one of form of abuse.
If violence is used, it is used with the single aim of control,
but all abuse is just horses for courses to abusers - they will use whatever works to reduce their partner and children to objects they own and, therefore, can use and abuse.
Abusers are never wrong and never responsible or accountable.
I say this after 30 years in abusive relationship.
I would pass your test because I never raised my voice or behaved in any way that could have been considered abusive; I was too busy crouching in a pathetic heap - and no, that was not any better for the children than throwing objects; it was just another distorted, reduced vision of life, which is what you are reduced to if you live with an abuser.
However oddly and wrongly we behave in an abusive relationship, if our main object is not the reduction and annihilation of the other person's very being, which we feel we are entitled to carry out, we are not abusers

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 17:55:20

arthritic I think she was talking about when mutually unhealthy relationships develop, which is what happened to me. In response to aggression/gaslighting I became a nastier person.

It's not the same as your situation where he terrified you, I'm sorry to hear that. How are you doing now?

arthriticfingers Sat 11-May-13 18:03:14

I still stand by what I say - abuse is qualitatively different from bad behaviour.
If you did not consciously choose to behave in a way that reduced your partner's humanity, you might have behaved badly, but the very fact that you recognize your behavior, disapprove of it and take full responsibility means that you are not abusive. Abusers do none of those things.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 18:12:32

I'm not decided as yet about what I think on abuse as distinctive from bad behaviour - and I did get into a state of terror last year for a few months, and I look back now and think 'why? WHY?!'

If you're mistreated it DOES have a psychological effect which might be hard for outsiders to understand, because from the outside it seems so logical.

But I'd still like to just work on my own behaviour because that's all I can do, I'm pretty sure he won't smile

It would be nice to hear how you're getting on as well.

LessMissAbs Sat 11-May-13 18:15:52

I agree OP. I'm also shocked by just how badly a lot of men seem to behave - I'd never dream of going out with someone with the behavioural traits described.

But I cannot help noticing, both on here and in real life, that so many women don't earn their money. Surely they don't stay with awful men because they don't want to get a job and work for a living? Or is it that men like this deliberately seek out women prepared to give up the opportunity to be independent? Chicken or egg?

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 18:20:39

LessMissAbs how do you think men's behaviour might improve? Do you think it is just down to women's tolerance? (Which might suggest something innate about women/men behaviour, like Dawkin suggesting that sex gametes developed differently because females behaved too honorably.)

arthriticfingers Sat 11-May-13 18:23:15

currently Don't know how I am, but you can find us here:
lessmiss you could check out the blog at the top of the relationships page

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:28:17

Poppy a friend and I had a conversation about "entrusting" your OH with what you have sacraficed, that they understand how things have changed and how easy it would be for them to "turn on you". Once you are in the position of the at home person.....then you are less powerful. The handle on the door is alot higher to reach. You are infantalized in a way. The rules change.
I cchanged my life once leaving an abusive relationship. Went back to uni, clawed my way back up. Met my now DH. He realises what I have WILLINGLY forgone to stay home with OUR daughter. Doesn't mean he wonm't try his luck with a bit of "who pays the mortgage". but so far he has tried it only once. But, tis like a dog that bites, once they get the taste for blood. Hard habit to break. For them. Not for me to keep my eyes open

LessMissAbs Sat 11-May-13 18:34:01

currentlyconfused LessMissAbs how do you think men's behaviour might improve? Do you think it is just down to women's tolerance? (Which might suggest something innate about women/men behaviour, like Dawkin suggesting that sex gametes developed differently because females behaved too honourably

That's really beyond me to suggest. I do think so many women prepared to put up with it, run around after such men, chasing them in the first place, and pandering to their every whim has something to do with it. But I suspect its more to do with the way they are brought up in the first place.

I didn't grow up in the UK, and I do find a lot of the men here to be shockingly badly behaved. I cannot believe the abusive, sexist comments some of the more educated ones come out with, or some of the things they do. Or on a different note, some of the comments made about politics and the total intolerance of opposing, but mainstream, political views. But I do also notice that a lot of women seem to dream about being a SAHM and, like it or not, making yourself financially dependent on someone from a very young age takes away many of your choices.

I'm in Scotland.

SundaysGirl Sat 11-May-13 18:37:25

Hmm....well to myself perhaps! Thing is when you are in the thick of it it often creeps up slowly and things get normalised. Looking back you can get a WTF moment. A friend of mine and myself both went through extraordinarily weird situations with romance stuff last year.

We spoke the other night and were both howling with laughter about the outrageous things these guys was sort of a gallows humour but we were killing ourselves laughing. I guess mixed up with that was the dismay we had tolerated so much..but thats the rub..sometimes you just don't see the wood for the trees when you are in the thick of it.

So no..I dont feel dismayed because I understand how complex these situations can become (or appear, they are usually actually fairly simple when it comes down to it, but our minds refuse to see it as it is).

LessMissAbs Sat 11-May-13 18:38:31

Which might suggest something innate about women/men behaviour, like Dawkin suggesting that sex gametes developed differently because females behaved too honourably

Or possibly because the Y chromosome contains so little genetic information yet men are more likely to inherit genetic diseases?! Actually, I think its more to do with upbringing, ingrained over the generations.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:40:53

Oh, my exdp (father of my eldest) is Spanish. Where family is everything and so on. Respect your mother, etc. Don't look at my sister like that yada yada yada. A housewife is called "ama de casa" soul of the house.
TIll you decide you want to threaten her with a knife, cheat, run away and disappear for 9 years and not pay a penny in costs for your child whom you love soooo much.
Not a problem once the door is closed.
Male attitudes are universal. An absolute given. Maybe men here are just a bit more upfront about their appalling views.
Not sure which is better.
Don;t get me started on Irish men....ffs

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:43:00

Society has changed only at a surface level. Why would men willingly give up their status as top of the heap? Why? In evolutionary terms it would be an act of total madness. They are free to move about, procreate, shag, earn money, bascially run fucking rings round the other half of the population. Why should they change?

perfectstorm Sat 11-May-13 18:44:32

Abuse is often insidious and it usually happens when women are at their most vulnerable.

This. Isn't about half of all physical abuse initiated during pregnancy? And nobody can believe that their seemingly loving partner is capable of it, so they accept the excuses the first time and hope it's a one-off. Which makes it far harder to leave thereafter. It's not as simple as someone walking after infidelity the first time it happens, which is (relatively) clearcut. Staying is a gamble, but one that can pay off if the marriage recovers. But if the partner is a serial philanderer the person is on a downward spiral and leaving gets harder all the time, as self respect plummets. I also think it's easy to underestimate how effective gaslighting is. Nobody spends their life suspicious of the person they love lying to them, undermining them and manipulating them, so a decent and normal person will question their own reality rather than think the other side capable of such brutal selfishness. Cognitive dissonence is soul destroying, but it's also entirely understandable.

The threads I find it hard to summon up an ounce of understanding over are the abusive step-parent ones. I understand how people can value themselves so little after a frog-in-the-bathtub incline, but their kids? How the hell can anyone enter a relationship and allow their kids to be treated like filth by anyone? Low self-esteem may mean you don't know you're worth more, but you sure as hell should know your children are. I'm afraid I see people who stay when the kids are the ones on the receiving end as selfish. They want a relationship more than they value their children's entire future life chances and happiness, and I can't fathom that.

SgtTJCalhoun Sat 11-May-13 18:46:03

I agree with everything you say lola. Please do tell about Irish Men grin. I have always found their attitudes um interesting. I, myself find Welshmen extremely defensive of their role as Head Of The Family which actually means, I come first and screw everyone else. Disclaimer in KNOW not all Welshmen are like this but I do find the gender divide very strenuous in all those I have known.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:46:52

Watched The Policitans Husband the other night. He raped her out of rage at his helplessness and yet....she stayed. An intelligent woman with a career who got back into bed with a man who raped her, despite him being an intelligent man who said he supported her career. What the fuck was that about? was it about both of them or just her. I canot for the life of me work it out

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:48:36

Irish men marry virgins, idolise their mothers but will shag anything with a heart beat. IF you cannot levitate directly to heaven or conceive in an immaculate fashion, you are a whore. End Of.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:49:28

Heads up here people. I am now officially half way down a bottle of wine. The last drink I took was in is going to get bumpy

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 18:50:48

LessMissAbs, not sure - but I do think that the ultimate goal has to be care of the children, if they are involved, and self independence. Or self dependence. Or maybe self independence is a daft oxymoron confuses self

Forums like this one are good for encouraging women to take control again.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 11-May-13 18:51:18

lola you are on a roll smile

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 18:55:18

currently chin chin my love. do join in if you feel the urge.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 18:57:59

I did indeed make it clear that I was not abused physically in any way apart from hair pulling and threats before I was 6 months pg.
Even so why can a victim if previous mistreatment not be dismayed to see women still tolerating it 27 yrs later? I made no judgment I merely said it made me sad to see no changes.
I'm not sure what your beef is with me to be honest.
I am training to be an IDVA and most of my fellow trainees have at some point suffered dv, should they not be doing their job either?
Many people have horrific experiences in life it doesn't render them unable to be sorry when others do too.

Lola you are so spot on about Irish men I may steal that.

perfectstorm Sat 11-May-13 19:12:15

Ledkr if that was me (? sorry not sure) I didn't mean to judge or be angry with you at all, sorry if I posted ineptly on that front. I was more trying to stress that I absolutely understand the DA situation, but women who enter relationships after having kids, and allow those kids to be abused (emotionally or otherwise) most especially when they aren't themselves - those people upset me. And that I cannot understand at all.

I agree it's heartbreaking and frustrating to see how much people will tolerate. I wish there were an easier answer. Support is obviously a large part of an answer but sadly in many cases I don't think people are aware how awful things are, or how different to the norm, and that's a core problem in and of itself as several comments illustrate.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 19:16:04

freddie feel free. None of my material is my own. However, in this case, it is. Fucking arsehole Irishmen. I am qualified to say that as I am Irish and have witnessed it real close up.
They are in a leaghe of their own.
That is irish for league of course. As gaelige

Playerpleeeese Sat 11-May-13 19:19:52

In teenagers - early 20's disrespect to women is worn as a badge of honour in my experience. Porn is so widely available, being watched by age 11+. It's shows women as some sort of sub class only there for men's pleasure, and it seems to make them think that is how women should behave in a normal relationship. It's shocking how degrading some porn young boys are watching is. Obviously the majority of men turn out ok, but I've seen a few get so obsessed with it they can't have normal loving sexual relationships, they think they know what women want as they've seen women scream in ecstasy on a porn film doing xyz so if you don't like xyz there is something wrong with you iykwim. It's frightening.

Sorry if this makes no sense/not explained properly typing out quickly at work!

I have made it clear to mine that porn is the same as any other film they watch - made up and not real.

But because so many parents are afraid of how much porn is around today and don't want to tackle it, it becomes a taboo subject.

Mind you, I am known for my bluntness. grin the night I accidentally did a "periods and other things you should know" talk to the school First XV rugby team was apparently a "classic" hmm

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 19:26:38

Accidentally? Bet they were shell shocked. But the rugby team sound as though they were a receptive audience. No harm done I am sure.

HighBrows Sat 11-May-13 19:27:19

Ledkr I absolutely see where you are coming from, I read threads here and on other fora and am always surprised what people put up with.

I've never experienced DV and am glad that your past experience is being used for good and to help others.

I don't think you need to justify this thread at all, especially answering people here about your DV. At the end of the day most normal and sane people read threads here and elsewhere and I'm sure they are as stunned as me with what shit people put up with.

I also believe that DV is getting worse, or is it that people just talk about it now?

I hope your DS gets a transplant soon.

The myths they believed were staggering. Like women couldn't swim if they were on their period and sanitary towels were not made of sponges. Well, not usually. And that women could get pregnant if you shagged them standing up which was an utter shocker.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 19:31:53

I think women (and men) are feeling more able to express their hurt and the violence they live with. There is less of the taboo around it to a degree, but there is still shame felt.
I mean. Look at the amount of victims of abuse coming forward simply because of Jimmy Savile? Do you think that in a million years those people would have breathed a word outside of those they trusted with the details of what they exprienced without the knowledge that they would not have been blamed, stigmatised or so on?
It is my sincerest hope that this wave of speaking up continues. It can only mean freedom for thousands.
Only a matter of decades ago a woman couldn't get a mortgage without her husband! We ahve come so far, but yet...

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 19:32:56

No perfect not to you I'm sorry if you thought that. It was to fellatio who seems to have a bee in her bonnet about me not being able to be dismayed at what some people put up with because I'd suffered dv 27 years ago as a teenage girl.
Nit sure why.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 19:35:05

Thank-you highbrows what a kind post.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 19:47:49

Even so why can a victim if previous mistreatment not be dismayed to see women still tolerating it 27 yrs later? I made no judgment I merely said it made me sad to see no changes.

Sadly, each person starts from zero.
Our own experiences count for nothing, and even improvements in society, count for little.

That is why I have to admit I was (still am) a bit hmm about your OP and title.
It's like saying, I have stopped doing drugs because I have realised they are not good for me and I am dismayed that young people still get hooked up.

HighBrows Sat 11-May-13 20:11:51

Lweji most ex-users I know would and do express dismay that kids are still using drugs.

Honestly once someone has gotten out of a bad situation be it drug use or DV they do try to help those that are stuck in bad situations.

I have an ex husband, he's a lovely bloke but after almost 10 years of marriage we drifted apart, there was no DV, no underlying issue, no other woman or man.

We broke up civilly. He is a wonderful ex husband and great father. So when I read threads on boards like this I am dismayed that people put up with a plethora of shit. It actually breaks my heart the situations people are in and sometimes I'm ashamed to say I stop reading for a while.

So I get what the OP is saying and I get what others are saying on this thread. What I don't get is how horrible people can be and insist on questioning the OP on something that happened almost 30 years ago.

sarahseashell Sat 11-May-13 20:21:50

very interesting thread. I believe things are currently getting worse in terms of the media and the way women are treated in it, the lack of recognition of the job done by single mothers, the lack of recognition of the difficulties of two partners in a relationship holding down careers and the expectation that childcare roles fall to women, the myth that women need to be in a relationship, should be scared of 'ageing' and of being alone and so on.

Thank goodness for MN I only wish I'd discovered it sooner and not spent years in an EA relationship. Fortunately for me the exh left after an affair. My self esteem at that point was so low it did take a good few years to build back up but I'm a lot happier now. I did give up a career to be a SAHM - there was plenty of money coming in on one salary and I trusted exh it seemed right at the time. My financial/career position ain't great now obviously but I feel lucky to have spent time with dcs, can manage and have retrained. Childcare is a constant issue. When I read newspaper articles such as divorcees having a meal ticket for life and so on I feel angry

The other day there was a study which showed it wasn't advantageous for either gender to be with someone more than 10 years older or younger, apparently. The headline was along the lines of 'bad news for cougars' when it could just as easily have been 'bad news for midlife men' or whatever. It's these little things drip drip drip women always one down, particularly older women IMO

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 20:24:11

Ex users make some of the best drug workers too.
To be fair though when I posted it really wasn't about dv. It was on response to so many threads I read on here and of rl friends experiences.
Men (predominantly) who openly go on dating/sex sites, don't help with children or house, spend weeks away on lads holidays, call their do names, have shed loads if money to themselves and afford their wives a meagre allowance. Of course all these things can be cited as abuse however I wasn't talking about sustained dv which of course is not easy to end due to many deciding factors.
I'm sad that I had to justify this as I said I was "dismayed" not annoyed or angry or that I thought they were weak or even said they should leave.
I merely felt saddened to see what some people will actually tolerate without taking action even if that action is simply not putting up with it.
I'm sure someone will come along and pick to peices what I have said so I shall jolly off to watch the voice now and leave it there.
Night all.

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 20:37:53

Some very interesting posts to absorb but for now wanted to come back to arthritic's accusation of 'victim-blaming'. I was referencing some very specific behaviours that I've observed happening in abusive relationships, which frankly are no less excusable especially when children suffer the fall-out. I mentioned three - having affairs, points-scoring wars of attrition in front of children, friends and family - and trying to get children to side with one parent over another. These behaviours are damaging and shouldn't be condoned in my view. If you think that is 'victim-blaming' I can live with that, but there's no way I can condone children living in those atmospheres and so yes, I blame both parents very much for that and make no apology for it.

SmileyEyez Sat 11-May-13 21:50:19

That is one of my dilemmas, taking my kids away from their father, who has repeatedly been unfaithful,

By leaving my husband and taking the kids with me, I am giving them a life without a real family!

That is why we put up with things that as a single person we would NEVER let any one treat us without respect.

But for the family, we sit quietly on what we know of the other parent .

We put on a smile and keep things going, no one the wiser.

Then we break! ;)

SmileyEyez Sat 11-May-13 21:51:54

I don't want my kids to side, but how do I explained why I have destroyed their family life to a one parent family( no disrespect to one parent families) ;) ;)

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 21:58:08

You see I think this myth about children being 'none the wiser' needs exposing for all it's worth. Just like the one about separated parents not being able to provide a 'real family'.

Children pick up on far more than adults think they do and will often thrive in atmospheres that are suddenly devoid of marital tension. They are also able to adapt to all sorts of family contexts as long as they feel safe, loved and there is calm and peace in their homes.

Darkesteyes Sat 11-May-13 22:02:50

lola i would describe Italian men in the same way you have described Irish ones. i have experience of the Italian patriarchy because i have one Italian parent. Entitled and very mysogynistic culture.

SmileyEyez Sat 11-May-13 22:05:01

I understand that completely Charbon,

But as the parent who has been poo,d on so to speak , I have to ruin my kids lives because of something their dad did,

That's why people tolerate situations in their relationship, their children , dammed if we stay, dammed if we leave!

My kids are my life, I brought them into this world, I chose to bring them into this world.

What ever their dad does should never effect their life, but it does, and that breaks my heart, more than his fathers affairs!

It's boat called DIGNITY!smile night xx

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 22:06:42

The other thing to think about Smiley is that people often say they are staying in unhappy relationships 'because of the children' but that is rarely the whole picture. People stay in relationships because of their own self-interests as well - and that needs to be acknowledged. I agree with what perfect storm said upthread. Some parents put their need for a relationship or the gains they accrue from it before their children's rights to have a safe and peaceful existence. This is a general point by the way and is not directed at your personal circumstances, having seen your thread. It's an observation I've made on several threads though where that sort of selfishness is going unchallenged, but it's an unpopular view sometimes.

SmileyEyez Sat 11-May-13 22:11:05

I agree, just putting another case across.

My kids well fair is more important than my own and separating my kids from their dad isn't something I feel justified to do but something I have to do for myself, hence feeling selfish , but I digress from this thread ;)

Charbon Sat 11-May-13 22:11:57

Cross posted.

Your kids' lives don't have to be 'ruined' if the relationship ends. But the responsibility for their lives being disrupted isn't yours to take. That's their father's domain. I'd really urge you not to take responsibility for your husband's behaviour or your inability to put up with it. Your instincts to get away from this relationship are absolutely sound and no child wants their parents to martyr themselves on their behalf. They'd rather their parents were happy, actually.

SmileyEyez Sat 11-May-13 22:24:17

Thank you I appreciate that, though this thread is about why people tolerate their situations,just wanted to put m side xx

I do think children torn between spending time with their parent seperately is an issue,,,,,,but that's another thread smile

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 22:49:48

Lweji most ex-users I know would and do express dismay that kids are still using drugs.

My point still stands:

"Sadly, each person starts from zero.
Our own experiences count for nothing, and even improvements in society, count for little."

People who express dismay that the younger generation is "still" putting up with X or using Y, understand very little about how growing up works.
What transpires from quite a few posters here, including the OP is that we learnt from experience.
Sadly some have lower standards and self esteem than others, or just happened to have met a clever, devious manipulator.

And I don't think anyone is disputing that those who went through the issues (DV, drugs, whatever) make the best counsellors or advisers.

Lweji Sat 11-May-13 22:52:20

Regarding children, it's curious that people feel that they are the ones who break up the family because of something that their partner did.
So, they stay because they feel responsible for the unity of the family.
When, in fact, it's their partner who has broken (usually) their vows.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 23:08:10

Ex drug users make the best counsellers?
Beg to differ
Seen several of them lose their jobs and behave in deeply unprofessional ways that have also led to jeopordy for their clients.
Not a given.

TheRealFellatio Sun 12-May-13 07:30:27

Apologies Ledkr I missed your post explaining about the hair pulling and threats. However, my point still stands - he was behaving in a way that was unacceptable; certainly emotionally abusive and bordering on becoming physically abusive, and he clearly enjoyed making you frightened. And had a second child with him.

I don't have a bee in my bonnet at all - I've only made a couple of short posts on this thread. I realise that with the benefit of 27 years worth of hindsight you can are able to speak as a woman who takes no shit now, but you've had to go through a lot to arrive at this point. And being attacked and raped will kind of polarise your position pretty clearly I imagine.

Clearly there was a here was a point where you were not that strong woman. The point were you didn't walk out with your DS1 under your arm the very first time his father pulled your hair and threatened you.

For other women, the level of ill-treatment may be very minor in comparison, and as someone else pointed out, the fear of being alone is a very big deal. Most women are not prepared to walk out on a home and a marriage and all that that represents for them, because their H is crap at helping with the washing up, or makes unpleasant jibes about the size of their thighs, or had a one night stand once. They may hate it, but they look at everything in the round and they choose not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And that is their prerogative, all the while they are not in fear of their lives or their sanity.

I thought your OP did come across as a little smug to be honest. You've found a relationship where you feel like a true equal, and that's great, but if your ex hadn't half killed you and forced you to leave for fear of your life, then perhaps you'd still be with him, and still be forever that vulnerable 16 year old in your head, putting up with the threats and the hairpulling as an occasional way of life, because, you know - 'it's just the way he is sometimes, but mostly he is lovely, and he's a great dad.' and all that other stuff we hear all the time on here.

We all have to decide what we will and and will not tolerate and how much is too much, in our own time and in our own way. Personally if I had a man who was fabulous in every possible way except that he refused to do any housework whatsoever, then sure, I might grumble on MN about it from time to time, but I'd not be in any hurry to get him out of my life. In the grand scheme of things I think I'd be prepared to tolerate it.

I think sometimes when people have been through serious, serious shit with men they become so evangelical about standing up for themselves that they lose the plot a little bit about how other people manage to tick along nicely with flawed, annoying, but basically decent, and good enough partners, rather than risk being alone.

BigBlockSingsong Sun 12-May-13 08:10:27

Charbon makes a great point, some people enjoy the drama forgetting children are absorbing their environment like a sponge.

One of my relatives works with CP cases and the mothers often find after leaving/recovery etc is that the children are angry at them for not protecting them as well as the abuser.

The comment about one parent making themselves out as the 'victim' and bring you into it to reinforce how badly done to they are, both of mine do this.its headdoing' I'm quite intolerant now, I just think;

you chose to marry,
you chose to have kids,
you chose to mistreat,
you chose to argue in front of the kids,
you chose to whinge but do nothing about,
you chose to keep/stay
you then chose to are not a victim, the children are victims.

MatureUniStudent Sun 12-May-13 08:48:00

I think the problem of how men think they are entitled to behave to their partners must stem from how they learn to be men. Even if their household is kind, respectful once they mix with other boys at school, they are called weak, geeks etc if the do not make the other boys laugh by being mean or making horrid jokes at the expense of another person. My son plays a sport and each weekend I sit on the sidelines listening to the men. They all parry for the biggest laugh and it is always at another persons expense. Women don't naturally behave in that way, looking to be the top dog by running another person into the ground.

I think this is the fundamental problem, how boys, men interact. My son knows that we respect each other at home, but to "fit in" or at least keep his head under the radar so HE isn't picked on, he (whilst not actively taking part) has to laugh and agree so it isn't him picked on.

If we could break how men act with each other, they may well return back to those sweet and charming children they were before the world got hold of them.

MorrisZapp Sun 12-May-13 09:10:08

Fellatio, great post. I see your point. I think there's a danger on here of 'telling off' younger or apparently weaker women for putting up with crap, because us clever big girls don't do that any more. I for one have put up with plenty in my youth, I'm older now and wouldn't put up with it.

But I don't always like some of the advice on here which can sound as if they are saying 'I've found a wonderful man now, so you're an idiot if you haven't too'. I've probably done it myself tbh but reading it back, sometimes it can come across as smug rather than supportive or helpful.

Ledkr Sun 12-May-13 09:36:02

Thanks for a good response fellatio I do see your point now.
Obviously didn't mean to be smug it was more if a thoughts out loud thing after if read yet another thread.
At risk of over disclosing though I did end up with someone for 18 yrs who was amazing and a great dad. He ended up cheating just after I'd had cancer and our dd was only 8 months so I do know about making a difficult decision to go it alone and it is truly terrifying.
So yes I'm sorry if I came across as smug as I honestly didn't mean to
I guess on mn you get to hear the very extremes of poor treatment and it shocks me.
I think in my two examples it was pretty cut and dry.
I'm in danger-I need to leave.
He's cheated-he needs to bugger off.
The simmering undercurrent of control and entitlement to do what you like regardless of your partners feelings, would be less easy I accept.

Ledkr Sun 12-May-13 09:39:05

Also after my two experiences of men I really am far from smug and expect my lovely dh to fuck up at anytime, which is hard for me and even more for him.
Let's hope its not a self fulfilling prophecy hmm

GiveMeSomeSpace Sun 12-May-13 09:51:30

Fantastic post fellatio

One of the hardest things iswhen that grey area is moving - of that boundary of what is and what is not tolerable moves with the ebb and flow (or maybe just ebb) of a relationship. That perspective is then blurred and sometimes lost so at one extreme one can get get caught up in the petty things and at the other extreme, one can find themselves putting up with horryfing situations.

simplesusan Sun 12-May-13 11:20:01

Some very interesting posts.

I do agree that some (women mainly) are selfish and use their children as an excuse.
I don't want to hurt the kids by leaving my abusive, adulterous, demeaning husband is often really, I am prepared to put up with all this so as to have more money and a good lifestyle. Fuck the fact that it is better to set my children a good example, I want the lifestyle so will whore myself and kids to get it.

In many ways my mil was like this and I have zero respect for her after seeing what it has done to her children.
She was prepared to put up with abuse. She was prepared to let my dh be with a violent, abusive father.
the bottom line was that it was all favourable than being , God forbid, a single mother.
She is so demeaning towards "unmarried mothers," yet her son is a whore who has fathered several children to different mothers, but of course that is different because he is male.

I regularly pull her up when she is citing the usual "It's the woman's vault" shit.

Far from being smug about having a healthy relationship after an abusive one, I think most women are trying to say 'you can have better than this, there are good, positive relationships to be had.'

Charbon Sun 12-May-13 13:28:36

I don't think Ledkr was being smug at all, nor do I think posts pointing out that women really don't have to have relationships with men who do little domestic work and make jibes about their weight, are smug either. The worst posts IMO are those from people who are putting up with those behaviours in their relationships and which urge other women to suck it up because they do. Or those that reinforce the cultural default for women to keep families together, regardless of how they are personally treated by their partners.

OhLori Sun 12-May-13 13:47:14

I believe things are currently getting worse in terms of the media and the way women are treated in it, the lack of recognition of the job done by single mothers ... the myth that women need to be in a relationship, should be scared of 'ageing' and of being alone and so on Seashell said.

Interestingly, my mother said to me the other day she thought women were being treated worse now by men (and society?) than anytime she could remember.

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