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Dark days

(24 Posts)
SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 11:08:31

I have posted before about my abusive relationship under a different name. Just name changing because paranoid about him reading it all.

I managed to peacefully get my H to move out about 2 months ago. Initially I felt overwhelming relief and peace. It was so nice. Felt good. Felt free and happy that I managed to get safely out.

Almost immediately I wanted another man. I posted about having a NSA fling, which I did. At the time I just wanted to prove to myself that I didn't have a problem with sex as H used to tell me all the time I did, and was pretty abusive in that area too. Turns out I didn't have a problem with sex, and had a nice time with someone who was basically a stranger (never done that before).

But where I am now, is that I am so cross with myself for being reliant on a man for my feelings. I have had various attachments with men since we split - some sexual, all flirty. And I am so disappointed in myself. Why do I need a man? I met someone who is lovely kind and gorgeous, but I know I just come across as a twat with him because I am so needy.

I just feel like I need someone with a nice touch, a nice way to heal me. I look at other couples and see their lovely little touches and want it so badly too. Yet I know I appear like a needy loser to any man I meet. I don't want to be like this and am probably just starting to realise how fucked up I am by my 'marriage'. I have huge regrets.

And then there is the H. I am not a nasty person and never called the police, never stopped him seeing the DCs. And he is now taking the piss I think. He drops round more and more and even gave me a kiss goodbye the other day and called saying "how is my gorgeous estranged wife?". He is desperate for us to get back together and is, to be fair to him, doing the perpetatrors 30 week course and is not denying his abuse and trying to change the way he is. I am honest with him and say that I don't know whether him changing will be enough. I don't know whether he truly accepts this and thinks we have a connection that we have to work out.

So I just feel so desperately sad at the moment. I am chasing men but being needy. I have been too good with my H. And I am just left not knowing who the fuck I am. I am always fun to be with and thus my friends think I am handling everything well, but I am so sick of being strong cos I feel like crap.

notsorted Mon 08-Aug-11 11:31:14

Dear Squirrel,
I wish in some ways I was where you are at ... good things are that your H is doing what needs to be done. Do you have DCs? Good that you are unsure about him and I guess that lack of certainty in one area means you bring it into the other part of your life.
Have you gone to any counselling? Have you done anything else just for you ie something new, took up something old you once did? I can sympathise with the desire to try again with someone new, but perhaps take it a little more slowly so that you have a solid centre of confidence in yourself.
I also know that feeling of who am I, and don't always be strong, find someone among your friends you can be open and vulnerable with.

RabbitPie Mon 08-Aug-11 11:31:24

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 11:39:57

Thanks for your reply notsorted. Your name is exactly how I feel I am, but because I wish it wasn't the case, I have been living in some sort of denial.

A "I won't let him beat me" kind of state that means I haven't faced up to the atrocities that have happened to me.

I haven't sought counselling, I went to WA once and then never bothered again. Seems I am doing my own reckless therapy with other men. I so know I should be taking it slow, but my self control is zero.....I don't know what is wrong with me. I have 2 DCs. They don't even really know about the split. I can't bring myself to sit them down and fuck up their lives sad

BertieBotts Mon 08-Aug-11 11:43:56

"I look at other couples and see their lovely little touches and want it so badly too."

And you can have this, but you need to do some work on yourself first. You're right that coming across as needy will get you the opposite of what you really need. Two months is no time at all, especially after leaving a relationship where your ex was manipulative or you felt you had to suppress part of your personality.

Dating is okay, but I think you need keep it very strictly casual for now. I'd say stay away from men completely, but I know what that excitement is like, and it's very hard to avoid it when you're feeling that way! So what I would suggest is have the dating thing just as a sideline. Develop your hobbies, interests, explore things which make you happy. Get involved with some kind of training, take on more responsibility at work, get back into work, do some kind of evening class, do some volunteer work, get involved with an unofficial organisation. (Any of these, not all!) Chase friendships like you're currently chasing men - make a note to text, call or email one person every day and either just have a catch up or arrange to meet up and do something, even people you don't know that well. Do things which make you feel a sense of achievement, things which make you happy, without validation from one specific person. Keep yourself busy, so that you don't have time to a, dwell on being alone, and b, chase men wink Keep your relationship with your XH purely businesslike and about the DCs. Once you have a busy, fulfilling life, you will find that dating will start to seem less important, someone who messes you around will be much more obvious, and someone who treats you right will just fit right in with no effort.

I have to go now so I don't have time to read that through, I hope it isn't too garbled. Good luck! smile

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 11:46:36

'how is my gorgeous estranged wife' is a flippant remark. He abused you and now he is being casual and friendly, while you're probably traumatised - this is another way of disregarding your feelings or the impact of his abuse. He may be desperate to get back with you - having someone to abuse is very convenient and abusers don't like to lose them. If he were respectful and humble, keeping his distance, that would indicate the course he is on could be making an impact, but from the info you have given it doesn't look like it has yet. Though it is very hard to tell from what you say tbh. The statistics are that abusers very rarely change. But then, abusers usually don't go on courses like that...

As for why you need a man - it's a biological and emotional need apart from anything, despite fish/bicycle stories. I know I do (need a man that is). As a victim of an abusive ex-husband, I needed reassurance that I was desirable, that I was sane, that I was not an evil bitch and that the world could stay in its upright position without endless tilting.

You sound very distressed and disturbed, squirrel - traumatised. You have alluded to sexual abuse and that can be deeply wounding. Allow yourself the time to heal from the abuse - you need it. Let it roll. Are you seeing a counsellor? I think it would be a good idea, to explore all the feelings you are having, to support you through your recovery. It is probably destablising to be seeing ex - let alone him trying to lean in for a kiss - and maybe you could cut contact for a year at least while. It sounds like he is forcing you to pretend that the past is water under the bridge but it isn't.

I was going to say I loved your post but that sounds weird so I'll say I loved the honesty of your post. You sound great (hug)

EightiesChick Mon 08-Aug-11 11:47:26

Don't feel bad because you haven't made your life all shiny and happy overnight. It's going to take time to re-evaluate and think about hwho you are and what kind of relationship you're looking for, so I'm not at all surprised that you aren't at that point yet.

Make sure you keep yourself safe above all else. That means not taking silly risks with men you don't know (not saying you can't have NSA encounters, just be careful). Also protect yourself from your soon to be ex. You need to tell him that he must only come round when invited / already arranged.

I would recommend going to counselling to talk all this through, and also reading Anne Dickson's A Woman In Your Own Right to get some help with being assertive.

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 11:48:21

ps don't fall into the trap of feeling sorry for him eh? Abusers are masters at getting you to feel sorry for them, disregarding your feelings in favour of 'poor' them. It's time for you now.

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 11:53:38

Thanks all.
I just can't stop crying today. For some reason, the enormity of what has happened to me has hit me. I feel so bad for the DC. I have made such bad choices for them, and even now, it's the summer holidays and I am upstairs on my laptop in tears. I will take them out shortly but I am so frightened of fucking them up with all this. It's kind of unavoidable though and makes me so sad. And my pathetic little diversions with men make me even more cross with myself. God I am a mess today.

EightiesChick Mon 08-Aug-11 11:59:36

Like we've said, don't be too hard on yourself. You are trying to do your best for your DC and that really counts. Kids are resilient. Take them out somewhere, that's a good idea.

When do you think you will be ready to tell them about the split? Can you get a friend/relative to help you with this or be there when you do it? What kind of support do you have around you IRL?

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 12:07:08

A friend has just come round to call for them and they have gone there for their lunch so they are fine for the next hour, I will gather myself and get out in a bit.

I just don't know what to say to them about the split.......I don't want to say "Mummy and daddy were arguing and so decided it was best to live apart" because to me that tells them that any arguing might bring this on........arguing is part of life. And I don't want to say what really happened. I just don't know what to say.
My eldest had woken up in the night the last time there was violence. He will have heard the shouting and smashing. THat horrifies me to my core and for someone who generally faces things head on, the fact I have not addressed that with him makes me so ashamed.
I have friends who will do anything for me and my mum who is one of the best people on the planet. All of whom will support me til the ends, but I don't / can't ask. Again, don't know what is wrong with me.

EightiesChick Mon 08-Aug-11 12:36:28

Well then, you need to do whatever it takes to be able to ask for help. Don't mean to sound preachy but you are lucky if you have good people around you and it will be better for you and your DC if you let them into your lives for support and don't shut them out.

There must be 'scripts' around about how to explain this stuff to your kids. I haven't been through it but people on here will have been and hopefully can advise. They will already know there have been problems, as you said. I think IMO I would say that you and their dad tried hard to get on but you are not happy together and need to separate, and that will be better for everyone as you both love them and will be there for them, just in a different way. Again, people with the right experience will probably know how best to discuss the violence.

Don't feel you have to be perfect. There isn't going to be an ideal way of doing any of this. Just do the best you can in any given moment.

garlicbutter Mon 08-Aug-11 12:56:58

If you minimise it to your kids, you'll be giving them the message that the kind of fights you had are okay, just a normal argument. You don't need to tell them all the horrific details of course, but to find age-appropriate ways to say "Daddy was horrible to Mummy and he scared me. It's not right for people to hurt one another, so he can't live with us."

You probably do need to tell another adult about the horror, though. It helps you process it. Could you find out whether Women's Aid has a Freedom Programme near you?

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 13:06:44

Sounds like you are having a Bad Day - sorry to state the obvious, but they do pass. It is actually good that you're falling apart (though doesn't feel like it!) because what has happened to you has been enormous. while you're going through it you cope, you survive, but when it's over you fall apart. It's over now, you're safe. YOu're beginning to heal but the trauma of it has got to surface iyswim. These horrible days really do pass. It's hard having the kids with you when you're going through it because there's nothing for it but to go through it, you can't shelve it for a more convenient time. Please squirrel, make use of the support you have. Do it for your DC if you can't do it for yourself.

I would also suggest the Freedom Programme - one near you. This is an excellent course - about abusers, abusive relationships - and the material is excellent. You will also meet other women who are or have been in your position - and there's nothing quite like meeting others who know what it's like so you don't have to explain. It's not a heavy group - though of course the material is hard to face sometimes - and is very supportive and 'light'. The facilitators are well trained.

You could also call Womens Aid 0808 2000 247. Oh, did you say you did before and 'never again'? I have also had some dreadful experiences with domestic abuse support lines - you just dial again to get someone better. In the main, the WA support lines are fantastic but sometimes you get somebody crap. When I got better I made complaints about the poor experiences I had - the orgs heard what I said, took it on board and made changes.

I really do understand the not knowing what to say. Some hard-liners suggest you say "Daddy hurt mummy and so mummy can't be with him anymore". It's up to you but this could be a benchmark - because it's true, isn't it? (HUG)

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 13:09:38

I wish I hadn't said 'hard-liners' though. Can I just delete that word?

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 13:31:57

I know its just a bad day and it will pass but I just feel paralysed. I need to just get through today I know. My mum is coming over - I've told her I'm having a bad day. Think she was a bit shocked grin

Thanks for talking to me today. What a mess

thisishowifeel Mon 08-Aug-11 13:44:13

I found that inner child therapy, which is tough, but ultimately worth it, was excellent at re writing my life script, finding out why I have had two abusive marriages, and why I was attracted to those men in the first place. Followed by a few CBT sessions to deal with the PTSD.

I read every book on the planet to do with abuse and inner child work, did the Freedom Programme and listened to AnyFucker.

My current h was in therapy, and showed some improvement for a few months. Unfortunately he attacked my physically last week, and so we are back beyond square one.

My reaction is quite different. I KNOW that it is him. I KNOW that he is wronger than a wrong thing from wrong world, and he is not my problem. I went straight to the GP and spoke to the police and have just had a visit from ss. That would not have happened before.

He has already begun "hoovering", but I know what it is, so it can't work.

I feel awful for my kids. This morning though I thought about my first ever boyfriend. I remember when we split up, how terrible I felt. Now when I think about him, I feel nothing in particular, ditto, first husband. I don't care at all. That's time....the greatest of healers.

Time, and therapy, and putting all that co-dependent energy inot YOU no one else. Not easy, but can be done.

Stand naked infront of a mirror, and tell yourself you are a goddess, until it starts to go in!!!!!!!!

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 14:02:46

what a truly fantastic post from thisishowifeel! you fucking GO girl.

I've had many many Bad Days. YOu take it an hour at a time, even 5 minutes at a time. The sun comes up and it goes down and thank goodness you don't hve to push it, it does it all on its own. Tomorrow is another day.

I used to make a list on Bad Days. Clean teeth ('go upstairs' was before that). I felt some level of achievement.

I agree with the inner child work, mostly because I think you may be having an attack of shame today Squirrel. ah, shame - belongs to the abuser yet the abused soaks it up. when it doesn't belong to you. Trauma is also horrible, a natural consequence of having been mashed up by an abuser. Be kind, kind and kinder to yourself squirrel, for as long as it takes. (HUG)

I'm glad your mum is coming over xx

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 16:37:08

You are such good ladies smile

Co-dependence - is this why I'm so desperate for another man in my life?

funny that your list initially included 'go upstairs' because mine today was pretty much that, but 'go downstairs'.

I've never been kind to myself. Always been "fine" and "good". Despite what horrors may be going on. I don't want to be someone who always has problems though, because people do tend to avoid them. But somehow I have to get all this shit out of me.

Have texted my WA contact about the Freedom Programme. And called a counsellor a friend recommended about 3 months ago blush. Maybe they are good starts.

Thisishowifeel - I am so sad your h did it to you again. I fear wasting more time on H if I ever gave him a second chance, you show that is so very possible. I fear these men cannot change long term.

PMSL @ I KNOW that he is wronger than a wrong thing from wrong world....

HerHissyness Mon 08-Aug-11 17:19:46

You didn't choose this life, your H chose to be abusive.

Please understand this? Get yourself a copy of Why Does He Do That, by Lundy Bancroft and understand the juggernaught that is an abusive partner.

I personally prefer to tell DS the truth about why I told Daddy to leave (DS is 5) He knew that Daddy shouted at Mummy, but I told him that Daddy was not a very happy person, that he like to make me do what he wanted me to do, even though it made me very unhappy. I told him that life is not good like this, that life is supposed to be so much better, and that without him here, our home is more relaxed, calm and happy.

I will never take the blame for the abuse, I will never trot out with a non-committal we just didn't love each other BS, because it's not true. X will for sure try to tell DS all manner of lies, to hurt me, and to make him look good, but I'm giving DS the truth so he can hold onto it.

These men don't change. As much as you know in the very core of your being that how he treats you is wrong, he believes it is right, HIS right to treat you like this and no amount of begging, pleading or asking will ever make him relinquish his entitlement to control, belittle, harm and abuse you.

No second chances, not ever. No point. Really.

SquirrelTrap Mon 08-Aug-11 18:26:32

Thanks HerHiss.
I have read Lundy Bancroft. In a night. It was like he had installed cameras in my house and based the book on my life. It helped me in a way I cannot describe to be able to put into words all the little apparently innocuous things that happen in an abusive relationship, but more importantly helped me understand that it was not my fault and why I didn't leave earlier.

What I think has hit home at the moment is how utterly destroyed I am by it all. I have been putting on a brave face for the last few months - maybe because life has been so much better already. But still, I am left a shell of the person I thought I was. I am unable to have a relationship because I am so needy, yet at the same time am desperate for one. That is what is killing me at the moment - that he HAS succeeded in bringing me down. I thought he hadn't and have been pretending he hasn't, but he has. I don't know who I am.

In my head I say all the right things, "right, throw yourself into work", but when I sit down to do it I can't concentrate. "Right, take the kids out and have a great day out" but I can't stop examining the way men treat their wives and kids and end up neglecting the fun I should be having with the DCs. "Look after yourself and take up something new" I take up running and lose weight and everyone becomes immediately concerned that I am not well etc. Oh I don't know, I just want a different life. And wish I had never met him.

neuroticmumof3 Mon 08-Aug-11 18:39:52

Oh Squirrel, my heart goes out to you, it really does. It takes such a long time to heal from abuse and the journey can be so tough that at times it feels impossible. But you can do it and you will get to a better place. I'd vote for telling DC the truth in a simple way, and the sooner the better really otherwise they will be trying to come up with their own explanations of why daddy's not around and could well end up blaming themselves. As others have said be kind to yourself.

HerHissyness Mon 08-Aug-11 23:23:16

you can't have a loving relationship until you have learnt to love yourself. You are not 'needy'!

Needy is a word used by others who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. Truth be told, we are ALL 'needy' somehow, so calling someone needy as a kind of insult is a cheap and mis-guided shot. All of us need human contact, compassion, love and the feeling of being accepted, loved and cherished, that we matter to someone.

After the shock of them finally leaving our life has gone, the euphoria of freedom sets in, it's heady and exciting. That, like adrenaline, the stuff we've been living on for years, fades with time as we become accustomed to our new safe, warm environment and we are left feeling empty.

Now is the time to reflect, to congratulate ourselves on still being here, on getting this far, and willing ourself to keep going on our path to a safe and happy future.

Of course you don't know who you are, you have no manipulative voice telling you who you are, what to do, think and say. You need to find that person. Dunno how you do it, cos I'm still at that place myself, I feel kind of 'on hold' which I know is not right, but I'm hopeful I'll find the next path soon. I'm just taking my time, observing, questioning and enjoying NOT having to worry what I'd done wrong, or what he'd catch me on.

I wish I never met him. I wish he were dead. I wish I could be brave enough to start caring for myself, lose weight and perhaps be brave enough to break into a jog.

Love he has not broken you, if he had, you'd still be there. You just have to look up, realise it's OK to smile, to laugh, and to feel again.

Have you contacted WA about the Freedom Programme? I'm hopefully getting signed up for a course in September.

springydaffs Mon 08-Aug-11 23:35:46

Ah see? the sun has gone down and you didn't push it. Great - another day tomorrow.

This is something different, but I can relate to what you are saying about how you are feeling. Apart from that I was also married to a terrifying abuser (sad), I also miscarried my first pregnancy. I swear I got pg on my honeymoon - but anyways, I was determined I was going to rise like a phoenix. It hurt unbelievably but I wasn't going to hang around. I painted my nails RED (cliche), put on my power suit (this was the 80s, I was allowed), flung back my head and strode back to work. The strangest thing happened - it was as if the undertow of that grief refused to let me go and dragged me back. I knew - as you 'know' these things at the time - that I had to deal with it, I couldn't scamper off. I did deal with it and I can honestly say it doesn't hurt me now at all. I don't think that would be the case if I'd strode off and left it.

By the same token, you have to live through the grief and trauma of this squirrel (as I had to, and countless others have had to - you are not alone in this). You think (I thought) it was bad enough that it happened, I wasn't going to suffer for another moment: it was over, thank GOD, and the rest of my life beckoned, free of the bastard. But that's not how it pans out. Infuriatingly, it leaves a trail which you have to mop up. Most of it is just time, plus of course care and kindness and information and support and Normal Life (Without The Fear) and being loved as much as possible, from the inside and the outside. But in the end it is really a matter of time.

You get some seriously wobbly days, particularly at the beginning. i went through what I can only describe as withdrawals, as though I was coming off a class A drug. I couldn't undertand it - I was overjoyed to have got shot of him, what was this?? I even shook. I also couldn't think straight, couldn't do the simplest thing. I swung all over the place, cocked up a lot of things and relationships. I also craved my marriage - all that hope and promise! the incredible highs of our marriage, the incredible lows - the rollercoaster of it. Life seemed very bland without it and him. I now believe that there is a strongly addictive element to abusive relationships - it all makes sense to me now but it didn't at the time.

Try not to take these days seriously squirrel, let them roll through. They'll reach their own conclusion iyswim, you just will get there in the end.

Sorry for long post though blush

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