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to think that the average MNetter has a pretty rosy view about life in the "average" relationship

(280 Posts)
livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 22:37:44

Have been lurking for a while now and have seen several threads from (usually) women who live with men who shout, swear at them or manipulate them. Replies are invariably "this is abuse so leave him".

I agree that it is abuse but am not sure about the advice or that it is as uncommon as some make out. I think that (sadly) many (usually) men (sometimes women) have real anger management issues or control issues and that the partner gets the brunt of it.

A quick poll of a friends - one with OH who frequently yells verbal abuse; one "has to have sex every day" (or OH "loses it") and one who has no access to money (just housekeeping) and has things like time to bed and to get up dictated by OH. All stay because they look at the alternative and decide to put up with it.

If someone has a career which pays enough to cover the childcare; or if they are so wealthy that they can come out of the relationship with enough to put down a reasonable deposit on a house; or alternatively if they could get social housing then maybe it is a real alternaitve but for a lot of women I do not think that the desicion is that clear cut. Life in a hostel or refuge is not something that they want for their children. In many areas getting social housing with no obvious bruises or proof of abuse isn't that easy.

"supprt from family or frends" assumes that your family agree that the relationship is abusive and that you have friends that can help. My family would not consider it abuse (note that I am not saying that it isn't abuse - I thnk that it is - but my parents would just say that women have put up with worse etc - ie would not help me (my sister was in this position and was not helped). Friends (as above) are in similar relationships and so cannot help (can't see their OHs allowing it smile ).

Am not complaining - just trying to point out what life is really like for many "normal" people. Am not sending this for some "dodgy estate" - my friends and I would be classed as "typically middle class" by most people's definitions. Life is simply not as rosy as all seem to think.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 13-Sep-11 22:39:35

No. I don't think anyone should have lower expectations in a relationship other than mutual respect. Sticking at it to maintain a certain lifestyle can ultimately be damaging both to the person who is unhappy and their children imho.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 13-Sep-11 22:40:10

..... I come to this as someone who ended an abusive first marriage by the way

Kayano Tue 13-Sep-11 22:43:44

My DH called me a dick all the time
I call him c**tfeatures

We have a perfectly normal relationship IMO but I know some people who would be mortified.

Each relationship, just as each person is different. It's trying to identify 'the line' that can be tricky. ESP on a forum IMO

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 13-Sep-11 22:44:36

Kayano, calling him cuntfeatures in a respectful way though, no? grin

lisad123 Tue 13-Sep-11 22:45:32

I remember once I posted name changed at the time, about dh slamming door and yelling once and scared dds. I was told it was abusive and I should leave too! I felt it was a little OTT tbh and of course didn't leave him, it was completely out of his normal behaviour and I'm sorry we all lose temper now and again, so yes OP I do agree that sometimes other posters are too quick to say leave BUT I always think it looks worse written down and they only reply out of concern and worry for OP.

livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 22:45:36

I'm not talking about expectations - just the reality of what many choose to live with as the alternative (life in a hostel, children having to move schools etc etc) is worse. Not easy to meet someone else if you have no baby sitter etc. Many people in verbally abusive or very controlling relationships do not have supportive families adn have not "been allowed" to make friends so do not have the kind of support network which facilitates their leaving very easily. (Obviously they can - it is just that it is so hard that staying is often better.)

Annpan88 Tue 13-Sep-11 22:46:42

sad I think its more a case of you having a pesimistic view than mumsnetters being 'rosey'. Agree about understanding how some women might put up with a lot when considering the alternative but I don't think any of the relationships you described are 'normal' or indeed 'typically middle class'

Feel sad for you though

livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 22:47:31

>....they only reply out of concern and worry for OP..

some clearly do but others (in particular the ones who insist that they are damaging thier children) do not obviously reply in a way designed to make the OP feel better smile

livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 22:49:34

.... I don't think any of the relationships you described are 'normal' or indeed 'typically middle class'
an not saying that they are "normal" - just that I know plenty of "typically MC" appearing women who have "MC and normal looking" OHs who verbally abuse/control them.

BertieBotts Tue 13-Sep-11 22:51:23

Sadly I know exactly what you mean and agree that abuse is massively more widespread than people would realise. But I would disagree with parts of your post - I don't think that posters are saying that it's uncommon, but more that it is abnormal in the sense of a healthy relationship shouldn't be like this. Normal doesn't necessarily mean conforming to the majority - it depends on the context. So posters in this sense are referring to the "norms" of a healthy relationships rather than a benchmark set by what most relationships are like.

I agree there can be barriers to leaving, though in my experience it's only the very most serious of threads where posters are imploring the OP to leave immediately and consider a refuge or hostel (which aren't that bad, BTW) - others are more focused on the OP making their own decision, but showing them that options are open to them.

CocoPopsAddict Tue 13-Sep-11 22:52:58

The things you describe aren't what I would call normal or average.

I mean sure, everyone has their ups and downs and it annoys me too when people screech LEAVE HIM just because he got pissed off and shouted once. I mean, we are all human, and it is ridiculous to dress that up as 'abuse'.

BUT... having to have sex, having no money, putting up with regular verbal assaults? I wouldn't live like that, and pity anyone who does.

BertieBotts Tue 13-Sep-11 22:54:15

It is a complete myth though that abuse doesn't happen in middle class families - nobody is disputing that.

CailinDana Tue 13-Sep-11 22:55:50

If what you say is true living I find it very sad. I don't know anyone in the position you're describing but then again perhaps I do and they haven't told me. I do believe that no one should ever put up with being verbally abused, ever. If it happens as often as you believe then that doesn't make it any better, it just reflects very very badly on men in general and makes me wonder firstly why so many men believe they can treat women like that, and secondly why women get so far into such a bad relationship that they can't leave, why don't they see the signs earlier? I'm wondering if relationship education in schools should be improved to teach women how to establish boundaries and to make them aware of warning signs so that they don't end up stuck with men like these.

cory Tue 13-Sep-11 22:56:43

Then again, OP, a poll among your friends is not more valid than a poll among my friends, and my friends and family would consider it shocking to imagine that a woman should have put up with being controlled and abused (whyyy would be the response of my mother and my brothers and my SILs).

I fully understand why some women lose heart after years of being undermined and find it difficult to break away. But it still doesn't make it right.

lisad123 Tue 13-Sep-11 22:57:42

But they don't reply to make you feel better BUT concern for another woman's safety and that of their children. You don't have to like their reply to know they are saying what they are, because they care!

Spero Tue 13-Sep-11 22:58:01

I don't see these kind of threads as an exercise in 'making the op feel better'.

No one should post on an anonymous internet forum in order 'to feel better'.

You are going to get replies from people who don't know you, don't care about you and only read the brief history you post.

But if I read a post asking for my opinion about the impact of an abusive relationship then I will give my opinion because sadly I know a lot about it.

Abusive relationships damage children because they teach them this is the way to live, to treat other people, or that this is what they deserve. It is really, really damaging and I do think some women have to think HARD about the choice they make to stay. I appreciate it can be tough on your own, but sometimes the price to pay for familiarity and some material comfort is just too high a price.

Stay in an abusive relationship if you have honestly and seriously debated with yourself the pros and cons, but don't kid yourself yourself your children won't be hurt and don't ask for advice about abusive relationships on the Internet if your real aim is to be 'cheered up'. Find a friend in real life for that.

livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 22:58:43

BBs - there are several posters on here saying that they wouldn't live like that - many do not seem to appriciate that life is about choices and that sometimes the choices are not that great.
Am not saying that life is not ok in a refuge (assuming that there is one that has spaces) - just that maybe some decide that life in a verbally abusive or controlling relationship is better for them and their children

CailinDana Tue 13-Sep-11 22:58:58

Living, is your husband abusive?

AuntiePickleBottom Tue 13-Sep-11 23:00:39

"has to have sex every day" to me that is consensual rape as the person has no control over having sex, but agrees to keep a quiet life

CailinDana Tue 13-Sep-11 23:02:07

Consensual rape? Surely that's an oxymoron. It's rape - being coerced into sex for whatever reason is rape.

livingonthedge Tue 13-Sep-11 23:02:18

Then again, OP, a poll among your friends is not more valid than a poll among my friends, and my friends and family would consider it shocking to imagine that a woman should have put up with being controlled and abused

I'm not saying that it is and am not saying that everyone lives like this - just that I suspect that it is way more common that many realise and that if you are isolated from it then it is easy to see it as far rarer than it is.

I guess that I am sort of saying that there are not enough gentlemen (in the original sense of the word) to go around

CailinDana Tue 13-Sep-11 23:04:55

I'm not sure what your point is really living. Perhaps it is more common than a lot of people realise, that doesn't mean it's in any way acceptable. I would always always maintain that in the long run a person's life will be better away from an abusive person than with them.

CocoPopsAddict Tue 13-Sep-11 23:07:44

I do appreciate that some people have very limited options.

But your thread title is about MNetters having rosy views of average relationships, and I don't think what you have described is 'average', and that to expect better is a 'rosy' view.

There is always a way out if you are determined enough. Obviously women can choose to put up with it and I acknowledge that some do, I just fail to understand why. There are always other options, hard as they might be.

AnnieLobeseder Tue 13-Sep-11 23:09:06

Those relationships all sound terrible, and I pity those poor women.

But I don't understand the point of your post.

Are you saying that we should stop telling women to leave their abusive partners just because, in your experience, there are lots of women who live in abusive relationships?

Doesn't make sense to me. Am I missing something.

If anything, the stories on here and those of your friends highlight the importance of making sure you are never fully dependent on a man. Keep half the finances in your name, have your own savings and own pension, make sure your name is on the deeds to the house. And if your DH objects to any of this, run like the wind.

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