DP and I have been together 6 years, with a break of 6 months from Nov last year.
We split up in a really horrible way, it was all very dramatic and it was all my fault. I had been very depressed and unwell in the years before (I had PTSD which made me a nightmare to live with, I have had EMDR therapy which has done wonders for me), which was probably the catalyst to it all. He did get physical, but I do believe he put up with so much (me threatening to go and kill myself etc, that he was pushed to the edge of what anyone could reasonably cope with. I did behave appallingly. I lied about lots of things, mostly as a coping mechanism to avoid confrontational or difficult situations. He now lives with his mum, and we spend a lot of time together doing things with my DC as a family, he spends 2 or 3 nights a week here.
We've been in couples counselling for a couple of months now, and I've noticed that all the little things that bug me, that I feel that I can't say because they'll set off an argument the counsellor is noticing. She's noticed that we have a dynamic whereby he's the "good guy" and I'm the "bad guy". It's just expected that I will put up with the things that bother me to keep the peace. I feel like I'm being punished for being unwell, though that's not quite what I mean.
I'm finding it really hard to articulate all this, but I feel like I'm being manipulated. I've been told to look up signs of emotional abuse, while I can see similarities in some of it I just don't know what to think.
No, the DC are mine from a previous relationship. They're 11 and 12. They don't see their biological father who was very, very violent towards me and they think of DP as dad, and call him dad. We left ExP when they were very young and moved into a refuge.
It's all a bit non-specific. I think maybe I need to get my head round this a bit more before I can talk about it properly.
I'm not ill any more, but he says that because I was ill, and my illness made our life difficult I have to expect that I don't get so much of a say in things, and I have to be prepared to put up with him not trusting me, and needing to get more out of life and do more than me. I'm sorry, I know this all sounds a bit vague but counselling was earlier this evening and I'm still kind of putting all the bits together myself. I just don't have anyone I can talk this through with while I work out what's going on.
Yes, he was violent the night we split but I do think it was because he was terrified of what I'd do if I left as I was threatening suicide at the time and he didn't know what to do.
She emailed me after our session this evening. I don't know if she's got the wrong end of the stick somewhere or if there is something and I just can't see it because I do feel guilty about the last few years. Maybe I need to sleep on it.
I have already said that we won't be having sex any more, until things are better between us, and he won't be staying her overnight any more. He does see my DC 3 times a week, and parks outside when he goes to the gym over the road most days so pops in to say goodnight to the kids on his way there. It's my birthday this weekend too, and I have friends over and he'll be around for that as well.
I think after this weekend I may suggest that he just rings the kids on the days he's not seeing them so i get some space to think.
You will get better a lot quicker with less contact with this man., He is abusive. He is getting off on the idea that he is the Good Guy and you are the villain - he wants power over you as well as the ego-stroking he gets from other people seeing him as 'caring'. He is actively trying to make you weak, powerless, grateful and obedient. Sadly, because your previous partner was violent, this current one, who is also abusive, was able to move in and mess with your head: he chose a woman who was in a bad state due to previous abuse and vulnerable. If the counsellor has spotted abuse she is good at her job. Minimize contact with him for a while. If there is any aggression or harassment from him, contact the police.