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Just what is emotional abuse?

(19 Posts)
cleanteeth Sun 21-Aug-11 08:13:11

I read a lot of posts on here about people saying they are in an emotionally abusive relationship and i know this sounds a bit daft do you know if your in one?
DP often makes me feel very put down and stupid when arguing, or even sometimes in general conversation. This morning I asked a question and didnt quite get what he meant when he answered, he then said "let me put this in a way even your brain can understand..."
I'm not the smartest of people I'll admit but I feel like he is always putting my intellect down and to be honest I'm sick of it.

I sometimes like to be a bit silly and have a dance around with DS or sometimes just on my own if I'm in a happy mood, he hates me doing this and gives me such a look of disdain and says some pretty nasty stuff, he basically hates me being myself and having a bit of harmless fun. I feel so pushed down by him but I dont know if this is my fault for being annoying. Everything I do/say seems to annoy him sad

We're meant to be going on holiday tomorrow but I'm really not sure if I want to go now. I know what I've said so far doesn't sound like much but I'm fed up of being made to feel like shit and worthless, it doesnt feel like a happy relationship any more.

Not really sure what I'm hoping to get from posting this, just needed somewhere to vent a bit

cleanteeth Sun 21-Aug-11 08:22:14

Just wanted to add he is very controlling. He's not asked me to stop but he doesnt like me wearing shorts or skirts in hot weather, I can see the look of dissaproval on his face when I leave the house. He has asked me to stop wearing a bikini swimming cos he doesnt like other people getting to look at my body. Everything has to be done his way.
Whenever we argue (which isnt too often, i like to hold my tongue when he annoys me so as not to start an argument) he turns it all around so its my fault. I'm sure it cant be my fault all the time? I can be quite annoying but he's no angel

RabbitPie Sun 21-Aug-11 08:32:28

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RabbitPie Sun 21-Aug-11 08:33:11

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BertieBotts Sun 21-Aug-11 08:33:47

It sounds like he is emotionally abusive to me. It's harder to define as there is no concrete physical sign like "he hit me" but certainly things like attempting to control what you wear (and it sounds as though he is doing this very overtly), making you out to be stupid, putting you down, generally making you feel bad for being yourself, which is the opposite to how a loving and caring relationship should be, where your partner should make you feel wanted and loved just for being you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 21-Aug-11 08:40:06


What are you getting out of this relationship now?

How long have you been together?.

You don't just need to vent, you need to get him out of your lives before he ends up destroying any sense of self worth and esteem that you have left.

It likely has never been a truly happy relationship in the first place. Abuse like you're describing is very insidious in its onset; he probably could not do enough for you initially (maybe offered to take you to and from work all the time) but the signs were there even back then.

Why are you together in the first place; he is trying to drag you down and by turn your DS down with him. Controlling behaviour as he is showing towards you is abusive behaviour. All of his behaviour towards you is abusive, he is treating you like a possession which to him you are. You are modifying your own behaviour now to suit him and that is also a very worrying development. You sound like you're walking on eggshells i.e living in fear.

You need to read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft. This person is within those pages. You need to free yourself of the millstone i.e him that is around your neck and now before he drags you down further.

He does and will not bring anything positive into your lives.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 21-Aug-11 08:55:46

Sounds like one to me. I bet if you called him on it you'd be "imagining things", "too sensitive", "paranoid" etc, but it's there and you know it is. He doesn't admire you, but nobody else should be given a chance to (in case you discover you are actually a worthwhile person?). You are not stupid, but if you come to believe you are then his word will carry more weight than yours. You should not be happy unless your source of happiness comes from him. He is always faintly annoyed even when not openly angry, so you are always trying that little bit harder to be pleasing or at least not annoying. It's known as "walking on eggshells".

Explain to me the logic whereby you're not all that attractive so you should be humbly grateful to have his attention, but all the same you should cover up your body in case anyone else sees it being, er, nothing special hmm. You can't explain it? Ah, that's because you are a silly little thing; it's obvious to anyone with brains, like him. You wouldn't understand if he explained it anyway, so he isn't going to waste his time.

It couldn't be because it's really bollocks, could it?

cleanteeth Sun 21-Aug-11 09:08:56

Thankyou rabbit, very useful link. He's not like this all the time though, he is a nice normal person, he just doesnt realise how controlling he is at times. He pays me a lot of compliments about my body but over the past couple of years he has come to see it as more his body (as in he feels like he can grab me and start playing with me anytime he likes, gropes me.) makes me feel frigid for not wanting sex every morning and night. I will admit I have been put off sex recently but only cos I feel so much pressure to have it all the time.

I dont really want to leave him, I'd rather find a way of becoming a stronger character to balance the relationship out. However, I do want to be able to be myself without being made to feel stupid. argh, I just dont know what to do, so confused! sorry if I'm rambling

BertieBotts Sun 21-Aug-11 09:26:34

The problem is that emotional abuse is different to having any other kind of imbalance in a relationship. It's not really possible to become a stronger character to balance things out, because someone who is capable of emotional abuse just won't react to things in the way that a reasonable person would. ALL abusive partners, whether emotional, financial, physical, sexual, are nice the rest of the time when they are not being like this - it's easy to think from the descriptions of abusers that they are complete monsters, and that your DP or DH couldn't possibly be one, because they sound awful, but the truth is that they are normal, nice people. Your boss could be one, or your brother in law, or your hairdresser, or a teacher at your child's school. It's difficult to spot them unless you know the specific red flags, not all of which are obvious (most of which are so subtle you'd feel silly or mean for paying them attention).

Please erase the word "frigid" from your vocabulary. There is NOTHING WRONG with not wanting sex, and why would you, if he thinks it's acceptable to treat you and your body like that??

I think the only way you will be able to be yourself is either on your own or with someone who actually likes you for being you. I expect at the moment you're thinking some crap about being too annoying, or too weird, or too stupid, or too immature for anyone to like you. Stop thinking those things - you know, if you want to be weird, be weird! If you find it fun to run around with your DD and be silly and childish, do it - what's the point of having children if you can't be a bit childish? grin (Next time you walk through a park and see a crazy woman on the swings, that's probably me...) What if your DP is wrong? What if it's him sucking all the fun out of life, being boring, grumpy, always bringing the mood down?

Anniegetyourgun Sun 21-Aug-11 09:26:53

Oh, he doesn't do the putting down of your looks, that's something I suppose. Only it isn't, if he thinks it's nice because it's his body rather than yours; he's effectively complimenting himself!

Of course he's not like it all the time. There's always something to hope for, otherwise you wouldn't put up with it.

HerHissyness Sun 21-Aug-11 10:03:15

" I'd rather find a way of becoming a stronger character to balance the relationship out."

Good idea, but he will not allow you to get that strong. he isn't insulting your appearance now, but I'm pretty sure he will if you start speaking up for yourself, not obeying his disdainful looks.

All abusive men are lovely sometimes, it's that lovely that caught us in the first place, and that lovely that keeps us where they want us. That lovely sadly is not really them, it's an act and gets less and less over time.

By all means stand up for yourself, you really DO need to, don't take his control, his demands of you, his ownership of your body, reject all of that, as it's the thin end of the slippery slope. You might be able to turn this around, but it has to be sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be.

We're always here if you need to sound stuff off against, want to sanity check anything etc. Either post here on your thread, or come find the

babyhammock Sun 21-Aug-11 10:46:19

Also if/when you do start standing up for yourself more, you may well notice that the abuse gets a lot worse.

thisishowifeel Sun 21-Aug-11 11:41:48

Hello CLEAN,

Google "Patricia Evens teddy bear".

It's scary. They are ALL the same. It is SOOOOO tough to accept where you are. We all know how that feels. Take your time, inform yourself.

Yes my xh is the most wonderful person on the planet, when he's not biting, scratching, punching, kicking me, telling me what a bully I am, telling the kids how miserable I am, not allowing me to have a social life and trashing my career. No really, he is! Confused? Yup. Out of it....YUP!

Everything they do is to manipulate you into being controlled by them. You become their teddy bear and cease to exist as the human being you once were.

Mouseface Sun 21-Aug-11 11:49:06

Hello Clean

My emotional abuser was very subtle to start. Little digs, about my ideas, my looks, my feelings. I was over sensitive, over reacting, projecting and the like.

It took a long time for me to realise just what he was doing because my abuse was accompanied by physical and sexual abuse.

Each abuser is different. Don't always assume that is only men who abuse women. I have a close family relative that emotionally abuses her partner. It's very unpleasant to witness.

Some people are extremely obvious, as in doing it in front of others. Some wait until you are at your highest or even lowest ebb and then start to chip away at you. Or even your friends and family.

You become cocooned into their world. You become totally reliant upon them. But the scariest thing is, you don't actually know it at the time.

Each abuser works slightly differently, but it does sound like that's what you are experiencing.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 21-Aug-11 11:53:38


re your comment:-

"He's not like this all the time though, he is a nice normal person, he just doesnt realise how controlling he is at times".

Of course he ishmm, have heard it all before and these men never change; they just up the control ante even more and you're allowing him to do this to you as well. You are in an absuive relationship and the person I feel the most for in that apart from you is your child.

Abusive men are not all nasty all the time; if they were no woman would go near them let alone have any sort of relationship with them. They can do nice but their nice/nasty cycle is a continuous one.

A lot of women who are in the thrall of controlling men say the very same things as you are. He is not a nice and normal person at all (he does not know the meaning of those words) and he does realise how controlling he is being towards you. He enjoys the power it brings him so he will not desist. This is about power and control; abuse is about power and control and he wants absolute over you. You are nothing but an object to him; this is why he paws you and pesters you for sex all the time. The fact you don't want it is irrelevant to him, he cares not for your feelings on the matter because you to him are unimportant and are there only to serve him.

You will not be able to become a stronger character with the likes of him being in your life. This is because he will not allow it, he likes keeping you like you are. You are or at the very least will become a shadow of your own self; you're already adapting your behaviour to suit his every changing mood.

And you did not answer the question as to what you are getting out of this relationship now. Why don't you really want to leave him?. Are you scared of being on your own?. You'd be far better off alone than to be badly accompanied. Hd will never let you be your own person; he will do everything within his control to not allow you to be your own person.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 21-Aug-11 11:57:30

Abusers as well are very plausible to those in the outside world. It is only behind closed doors that their true nature emerges.

If you do not get away from him, he will systematically go onto destroy every ounce of self worth and esteem you still possess. He will also drag your child down too; this young person is learning from the two of you about relationships and currently he is learning damaging lessons.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 21-Aug-11 11:59:29

It is a very hard message to accept because you go onto think it also casts doubt over your ability to choose someone who is actually decent and caring. But its not you, its them.

Mouseface Sun 21-Aug-11 12:12:24

Great posts Attila smile

HerHissyness Sun 21-Aug-11 14:59:41

hear hear.

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