To ask, Is this emotional abuse?(20 Posts)
You say to your partner that you are upset because of x, y, z.
Your partner tells you that you are wrong and then starts blaming you for making them feel upset.
On trying to explain, your partner minimises, dismisses and ridicules your reason for being upset. They make comments about all of the things that you do wrong, twist your words, bring up past issues, all of the while minimising how you feel. They start point scoring. Wrap you up in hypotheticals. Change the word in a sentence to change its meaning all hen you point out what they have said. Storm off and leave you not knowing where they have gone or if they will be back. Make it do that you feel like you can only feel the way they want your to feel, if you say that you are upset then they turn it around and say that you are upset in them by being upset and you aren't considering their feelings. Bring up conversations that you have had about work where they have supported you, and then say how wrong you were and that it proves that you are wrong in all aspects of your life. Is it? Sorry, this is garbled.
Either way this isn't a healthy relationship.
Partner = someone who loves you and listens to you and supports you and helps you.
YANBU to expect help and support.
You are in an abusive relationship, there is lots going on by the sound of it.
I've been with this man for 14 years. In many other ways he is a lovely person and a loving father and husband. We don't argue much, but when we do, it's like this. I've just told him that it is abuse. He can't see it. I can't say how I feel without him telling me that my feelings are wrong because they upset him. Then he says we never discuss his feelings but we always do. If I'm upset he expects me to snap out of it quickly or I'm ruining his evening. I've had enough. He hadn't always been like this. Thanks for listening.
I wouldn't put up with this from a partner. You should be able to tell them what upsets you without it being put to you and having the past thrown in your face.
I should point out, I hold my own in the relationship. He has never hit me or stopped me from doing things. It is just this emotional aspect when we argue.
I think you already know the answer to this. It seems that you have a partner who, although he has his good points, is not capable for whatever reason in supporting you emotionally. It sounds like he's fine when things are going right, but not so when there are problems. How does he deal with the dc(s) problems or does he leave them to you?
From a Mans point of view... I think it probably is borderline emotional abuse. When he storms out, ignore it and respond when he is back as if it had never happened, its a childish attention/power thing. However from what you have said I don't think it is all intentional. You have an absolute right to say, that you are upset by him, by something he has said and done or not done and it is important you do. However, we men want to fix things, it took me years and one divorce to learn that sometimes we need to shut up and not find explanations and reasons why, and to just accept somethings just "feel", whether right or wrong, rational or not (i'm still not very good at it btw). It also took me years to realise complaining about the other going on, simply prolonged how long they feel upset for and actually made the situation worse. With my ex, I felt that she only wanted to have her say and moan and my feelings were ignored, secondary or unimportant. I am not saying you are doing this, but it may be worth stepping back and saying - do I do that or how would I react to me saying what I want to say. Try asking each other to work on "I'm sure you didn't mean it too, but it came across like xyz" rather than get into the more accusational tones "of you never...". One final thought, quietly for a few days ask him "What did I do that made you happy today?" and "What one thing could I do that would make you happy tomorrow" don't expect it back immediately but it will come. Its too easy to get caught in the down spiral and you both need to make the effort to climb back out. HTH
Thanks to all. He is a great dad. I tend to discipline dc but we are both into gentle discipline. He pulls his weight with all aspects of parenthood but is much softer with dc than I am. He has always been single minded. Can't see anyone's point view except his own. He is completely fine when things are going right, but if I get upset or disagree with him he gets like the above. He came back, started the above cycle again and I refused to engage. I've told him he is being emotionally abusive. I've sat and pointed out blow by blow of how he is doing it. For once, he has no answer. I'm leaving him to his thoughts. He hasn't always been like this. I should have challenged it before now. Perhaps we can get some help through this. Thanks again
Sounds just like my abusive ex. I had 16 years of it. I am still recovering 3 years on.
It's good you have some clarity on this, but will add (even though I went through it myself and didn't realise it at the time), if one partner is playing good cop / bad cop with children, it's really not healthy for any of you.
So sorry you are going experiencing such pain.
No point in telling an abusive man he is abusive. I went through this too and for a time thought that 'if he only knew' how upset he made me, then he would stop.
This does not happen. Of course he is fine when things are going well. He only brings out the big guns when you dare to stand up to him. You are not allowed to disagree with him. You are not allowed to stand up to him or express an opinion different to his. That is when he signals that you will be punished. Or just punishes without signal.
Yes, you are being punished for stepping out of line. This is his method for getting everything his way. His way does not include you being happy. He does not care about your happiness if it gets in the way of his. Ruthless isn't it?
Non-engagement is a temporary measure. It's like wearing a tin-hat - ok for crisis moments, but you don't want to have to wear one for the rest of your life and it is no recipe for an actual relationship.
He doesn't want you to 'hold your own' in the relationship. He wants you to put up and shut up, and the threat that he will punish you emotionally is always there.
The question you need to answer for yourself is 'What kind of bastard would heartlessly seek to undermine the emotional wellbeing of the person he is supposed to love most in the world? What kind of person does this?
You know what he is doing - minimising, dismissing you, ridiculing you - all punishments. There is a constant threat level with something like this: he is not doing it all the time, but the threat is there. He doesn't have to be like this all the time - mostly all you need is the threat to keep you in line.
This is probably not the person you want to be. I have been there. It is a shock to realise the the person you love is more prepared to see you unhappy than to change their behaviour or compromise. 'How can someone who loves me do this?' you ask yourself, and in the end I realised that someone who loves their partner does NOT do this.
I had a husband that I thought - underneath his angry or grumpy exterior - was essentially a decent and kind man. The fact that he was terrorising me emotionally meant that my firmly held belief could not be true. These were two mutually exclusive concepts. Once you've excluded all the other options, what's left, no matter how unlikely, must be true.
OP - A question if I may? Does he make decisions? or does he fudge and answer and leave it you - only to then criticise you after you make the decision?
Do you hear "well thats just typical you, always..." or to that affect
Does he goad you into arguments, to be able to fire at you or is it only when you say something has upset you?
This sounds awful for you and possibly complex/deep-rooted. Would you consider marriage counseling? If that's not an option then perhaps the following are worth thinking about (although some read a bit like toddler taming - which in itself speaks volumes):
Are there themes to his behaviour that upset you most, can he see this?
Can you both avoid situations that result in this upsetting behaviour?
Is he depressed/suffering from anxiety and/or does he have poor self-esteem? If this might be the case, he needs to get some professional help via his GP.
Are there some incidents that you could 'let ride' more than you already do? (in a choosing your battles sort of way).
Does he get upset about your behaviour (other than in response to your initial upset) - and if so how does that conversation go?
Is the relationship worth the effort?
Have been in situations that sounded like this, if you havent heard of it look up the term gaslighting, it made me realise what was going on.
He isn't a great dad if he treats their mother like shit.
He does do the fudging an answer then blames me afterwards thing. I feel like he turns me disagreeing into an argument. We can't ever agree to disagree. He pushes it and when I don't back down I get the 'your perfect and I'm always wrong and you never consider how your pov hurts my feelings....' spiel. I told him yesterday I've had enough. Today I'm getting lots of kind gestures and heartfelt hugs. It is proof enough that he knows he is wrong. He never used to be like this. Half the problem is his parents interfering and backing him to the hilt. I still feel like an outsider with them. I'm going to ask him to go to councilling. If he says no, I'm going to need to leave. From the outside looking in, everyone thinks I wear the trousers and he adores me. But, I can't live with being made to feel like I don't matter any more. Thanks to all. Really appreciate the comments.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.