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Support for those in Emotionally Abusive Relationships

(1001 Posts)
ViVee Fri 20-May-11 21:49:03

I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread, a place to vent, offer support, advice.

I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship but I'm trying to find the tools to fight back - I've recently started counselling & the Lundy Bancroft book (Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling Men) (recommended by mumsnetters) has become my bible.

Anyone else feel the same?

madonnawhore Fri 20-May-11 22:09:35

Yes, I read that book soon after I split with my narc, EA exP; it made soooo much sense and I found it very helpful.

This place (MN) is a lifeline too. I can honestly say that had I not discovered MN, my life would be very different (read: worse). There is so much great advice and so many wise and caring women on here. Before making decisions, etc, I often find myself thinking: 'what would MN say...?'.

WillIEverBeASizeTen Fri 20-May-11 22:23:55

Ladies...would you look at the thread I started, "Is this controlling behaviour?" I would appreciate some more feedback from people with first hand experience...

ViVee Fri 20-May-11 22:28:43

So it is possible to leave them, that's good to know, madonna.

Being in an EA relationship can be a lonely place at times. A lot of the advice I've been given through counselling has echoed the advice from mumsnet.

ViVee Fri 20-May-11 22:29:42

WillIEver - off to look now ...

parno Fri 20-May-11 22:31:17

I am currently in the process of disentangling myself and 2 kids 7 & 13 yo from an emotionally abusive relationship. We've had a nightmare for the past 3 years, verbal bullying, extreme mood swings, financial abuse, accusations of having an affair (like I've got time). To be honest I've got through it by having fantastically supportive friends, a sense of humour and being able to focus on what's the best outcome for DD and DS. I've tried to look at what's been going on from an outsiders point of view in order to stop myself being dragged down. It took a while but I finally plucked up the courage to phone the police during one particularly horrendous outburst. Explaining what was going on to an impartial professional and being classed as high risk really brought things home to me and was the big, fat kick up the arse I needed.

madonnawhore Fri 20-May-11 22:31:19

Yes it's possible to leave, and life is so much better on the other side of it.

I won't pretend it's easy though. It took me about a year to manage to finally leave.

WillIEver, off to find your thread now...

frantic51 Fri 20-May-11 22:32:37

Great idea! Marking my place. smile

ViVee Fri 20-May-11 22:39:31

parno sad, pleased you came through the other side.

parno Fri 20-May-11 22:52:48

Cheers ViVee. We are certainly getting there. I'm lucky I guess that I had support and haven't been afraid to let people know what's been going on. Still need to tell my family but am struggling to pluck up the courage. My Dad's not exactly judgemental but he's just a stereotypical 70 ish Yorkshire man......."If you're looking for sympathy, it's between shit and syphilis in the dictionary" kinda guy!

snaildoodle Sat 21-May-11 20:19:03

I think this thread is a great idea. I started a thread yesterday ('Feel like I need a reason to leave'). I'm just starting to make plans to get me and DCs out; any advice appreciated!

BarbieGrows Sat 21-May-11 23:12:59

I'm in! Not right now though...

nicecupatea Sun 22-May-11 00:34:51

<waves to Barbie>

Can I join? My H left/I kicked him out 8 days ago and its all very raw still. I am not sure he has really grasped that its all over as we have been here a hundred times before and in the past I always patched things up and asked him to come back. However, I read the Ludy book 5 months ago and have done some counselling and its really opened my eyes to how abusive the relationship is and I am feeling really strong about not asking him back this time. I am expecting a big backlash when he does work it out though. We have a 3 year old and also I am 4 months pregnant. Luckily house the house is all mine and we can just about get by financially without him, on the down side I live abroad and so have no family support and only 1 friend.

parno glad you got out, and that you still have a sense of humour. (mine got misplaced a long time ago sad)

snaildoodle and willIEverBeASize10 will have a read of your threads now.

TimeForMeIsFree Sun 22-May-11 13:06:33

Hi ladies, I just wanted to give you some hope, there is light at the end of the very long tunnel and life can be good again.

I left my abusive ex 15 months ago, after eleven years of it. After leaving I was the lowest I have ever been in my life, didn't think I would ever be myself or be happy again but here I am, happier than ever. It hasn't been easy but I have forced myself to stay strong and keep moving forward. It has been well worth it, life is great again. smile

nicecupatea Sun 22-May-11 15:53:21

Thanks TimeForMe that is exactly what i want to hear right now, over and over again as many times as possible. I keep telling myself that things will be so much better now I am out of the relationship, that nothing is worse than the misery it caused, it can be so hard to really believe it though, so thanks for your message of hope. xx

BarbieGrows Sun 22-May-11 16:25:04

Hi Vivee, thanks for starting this, it's just what I need. After 25 years together and 2 dcs, oldest 13, I have had the bombshell hit me that we are in an abusive relationship. I've been talking this through on here and 2 weeks ago went to see a counsellor.

What has really opened my eyes though is the book 'The Emotionally Abusive Relationship' by Beverly Engel. I have been on MN on and off for a few years and was put off by the 'leave him right now - he's a bully' mentality. It just wasn't as simple as that for me. This book covers how, particularly in a long relationship, we end up in patterns where we both become abusive and abused at the same time. It's very complex and I'm still reading it through. In addition, the book emphasises that it is rarely a conscious decision by abusers to abuse, it is normally a defence/survival mechanism that they/we have developed in the same as victims do. The victim and abuser find each other because they are fulfilling a need in each other to resolve 'unfinished business' with what they call their 'original abuser'.

Engel does admit though that when behaviour patterns have been so entrenched people can develop personality disorders and then it is very difficult for the abuser to change.

I bravely broached the subject of looking at the book and outlined the subject with him this morning. His immediate reaction was hostile but I have already learned from the book not to rise to this - this change alone has made my life so much better.

This will be a difficult thread Vivee - we are all in our own very different situations but it's a great idea to bring us together so we don't feel like we are hijacking each others threads. <waves to nicecup> wink

dizietsma Sun 22-May-11 17:06:28

Oh dear Barbie, it seems like you're trying to change him. Do you sincerely think that will work? Seems pretty deluded in my experience, sorry. Perhaps you just need to exhaust this option before realizing that things will never change. Sad that you live this way and your kids have to witness it though.

nicecupatea Sun 22-May-11 17:21:03

Hi Barbie Nobody can force you to leave him before you are ready. I have left H several times before and always gone back, each time because something gave me some hope that he would change. I feel really differently now though. I accept that there is no hope and that spending my life waiting for HIM to fix HIS problems is a dangerous waste of me and my DC's life and sanity. I think its good that you are evaluating your relationship in light of the abuse. I have just spent 5 months doing the same thing, with counselling, the Lundy book and taking a good look at the dynamics from this abuse point of view. I needed that in order to be able to get to where I am now. I think you need to go through all the stages at your own pace, you will only be ready to leave when you feel like you have tried everything/disproved all other theories. I hope that you are able to stay strong in the meantime. I will offer you all the support I can from here xx

merrywidow Sun 22-May-11 17:22:56

nobody has the right to impose their will on another

sadly, my late H didn't realise this

I'm so very glad I am free of him, it has been like a massive weight lifted from my shoulders

TimeForMeIsFree Sun 22-May-11 19:57:13

Nicecupatea trust me, it will get better. You will wake up one morning and feel slightly different, a bit lighter and you will feel like smiling because you want to not because you have to. You will have the odd day where you go for a few hours without having thought about the ex and the abuse, then there will be the really good days where you feel on top of the World, almost manically happy. Prepare yourself for the days when you feel you have hit rock bottom again, when it feels you have gone right back to square one but don't worry, just allow yourself to 'feel' and to wallow because once that period of gloom is over you will have turned yet another corner. You can expect this roller coaster of emotions to last a good while but the day will come when there are more up days than down days.

It's all work in progress, every emotion you feel, every tear you cry, it's all leading you to a brighter and happier future. Don't try to block it out, don't try to escape it, just allow yourself to go through it, it's all a part of the healing process. Like I said in my previous post, I am 15 months on and feel like a totally different person. I never ever thought life would be this good again.

TimeForMeIsFree Sun 22-May-11 20:03:50

It took me three years to leave. I accepted I couldn't change him so I changed myself, I adapted to fit the situation. That's when I totally lost myself. I was nothing, a nobody. By the time I left I was totally exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. I felt as though I was dying, I literally felt as though all the life had been sucked out of me, I had nothing left to give. I made a call to Women's Aid and they got me out of there immediately. They saved my life.

Every night when I go to bed I fall asleep thanking God for giving me the strength and the sense to make that call.

PeepToes Sun 22-May-11 22:55:09

I would like to join in too! I left my H and went back and am realising that things haven't changed really. I have read the Lundy book, and drawn strength from posting and reading posts on MN.
My H has modified his drinking behaviour, but still has anger/control issues.
I had PND and am on medication, and still seeing a psychiatrist, but I wouldn't say I'm depressed as such now.
We have just started going to marriage counselling. My H has depression, and has been referred to a psychiatrist. I spend my time in marriage counselling thinking it's a waste of time. I resent what he did to me, and can't forgive or forget some of the things he put me through. Typically for an abuser, he mocks my opinions that he abused me, and has tried to minimise the physical abuse too.
I have 3 DCs (aged 5, 2, and 1 years). Both my H and I are in the caring professions, and I have left my well paying job to allow me the flexibiltiy to leave when i want. I can do sessions to pay the bills, so am fine financially.

I feel I owe it to myself and my DCs to leave and be happy. For me it is the easy option, and he knows this and says I'm a coward but i'm not - what's wrong with wanting to be happy? He says I'm selfish putting myself before my family - blah! Blah! You've heard it too, right?

Anyhow, It's good to have a forum for reflection, and I hope we all do what's right for us, whatever that is.

TimeForMeIsFree Sun 22-May-11 23:03:06

Oh yes PeepToes, I've heard that too, I think these guys read from the same script. My ex accused me of running away, being a coward because I left without telling him, being mental and not right in the head. All water of a ducks back to me now. It's plain to see who the one not right in the head is and it certainly isn't me.

Stay strong and don't get drawn into an argument or debate. Just detach from it all as much as possible. There is a life free of abuse and drama awaiting you smile

PeepToes Sun 22-May-11 23:15:51

Thanks TimeForMe. I will try to stay strong and detach.

It's funny because mine did the same - when I left I didn't tell him, but I realise I can't reason with him. And all my family and friends keep reassuring me that it's him who's the mad one - I really hope that I can leave again. My kids and I deserve a happy life.

Thinking of you all.

TimeForMeIsFree Mon 23-May-11 08:01:08

I found mine to be so convincing, he was so sure it was me who was mad that I did wonder if I was. It's only after breaking away and other people having no problem with me that I am assured I am as sane as the next person. I suppose if they didn't try to prove us to be mad they would have to admit it was them who had the problem. And that will never happen.

I really hope that you can leave again too PeeToes. Life on the other side is so much nicer.

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