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Moving on from DV

(33 Posts)
BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 22:02:22

Just posted this and lost it due to dodgy internet connection so forgive me if I'm a little vague this time.

Basically around 4 weeks ago DH and I were arguing and he knocked over a canvas painting that I was working on. I called him an arsehole (I know I shouldn't have) and he hit me across the face with the back of his hand. I fell into the easel causing bruising across my ribs and back as well as a bruise across my cheekbone from his hand.
As soon as he'd done it he looked mortified and left the room. I was stunned and got up and eventually made my way upstairs and sat in the bedroom. About an hour later he came up and said he'd tidied away all the pain and mess and the canvas wasn't damaged. When I didn't respond he broke down and said he was sorry and he didn't know what came over him. He promised it would never happen again and tried to hug me. I moved away from him and he begged me not to leave him and said he'd do anything to make it up to me. The awkward thing about it all was that we were due to fly out the Mexico on a family holiday the week after. I couldn't cancel as the kids would have been distraught.
We didn't speak of it again. We went on the holiday but this incident seems to have morphed into the thing that never happened. He's been overly nice to me since but apart from that it seems neither of us dare mention it. We havn't had sex since and have barely touched each other since (if at all). Although it isn't being talked about I can't stop thinking about it. Everytime we disagree on anything I think about it. I feel we should have discussed it at the time but now its too late, I can't bring myself to bring it up, the thought of it makes me feel physically sick. How do you even start a conversation like that after leaving it unspoken about for so long? I have no appetite and feel constantly sick and down. I don't know what to do.

HerHissyness Tue 23-Aug-11 22:14:14

It's not too late to talk. Never too late to talk.

If he is genuinely contrite, and it was a total aberration, then chances are he may be thinking about it too.

I'd suggest relate. I think if he is making all this effort to put things right, then I think you both have a shot at getting past this and building something stronger, as long as you talk this through and carry on with communicating.

If you don't talk, the whole thing may come crashing around your ears.

garlicnutter Tue 23-Aug-11 22:30:02

Glad Hissy wrote that, because it's my suggestion too. I was inhibited by the fact that I almost always say "the one-off is the first attack". The way you wrote your post, though, makes me think there aren't any serious power imbalances in your relationship ... or are there?

Silence makes things fester. You absolutely need to start talking - a lot - and it's unlikely you'll be able to speak clearly enough to one another without the neutral, expert guidance of a counsellor. How come he hit you then, for example, but never before? What was different? How can you trust him not to lose it again, and should you? Lots to discuss. Hope it goes well.

HerHissyness Tue 23-Aug-11 22:42:05

garlic, you know me well enough by now that I would normally be of the give it up, write him off and move on, but I feel that in this instance, it looks as though this guy IS sorry, and it IS a one off.

Ok so we can say it's a FIRST, but Abusers do the 'It never Happened' business, but they go on to being the normal them, not usually the well-behaved versions, well, not for as long as 4 solid weeks, not when there have been interim 'discussions'. Normally the next argument would at the least be more intimidating, or he'd find a way to justify the hitting. I could be wrong, there is little to go on here, but I don't get the abusive vibe from this post. I do so hope I'm right.

OP is everything else OK?, how was he before this?, you say you disagree with him on some things (totally normal btw) are you usually able to express yourself without adverse reactions?

You say that you feel you can't discuss it after so long, but really love, it's only been a month. that's not very long if you compare it to your marriage, to your life, to the ages of the DC.

Why not talk to US first?

What would you like to say to him? perhaps if you express it here, it'll remove some of the emotion, it'll help you organise your thoughts, and perhaps we can help to alleviate some of the painful bits.

HerHissyness Tue 23-Aug-11 22:44:16

Oh, small print...

I hereby reserve the right to resume my usual Write the Abusive Bastard Off approach, should further information come to light to shatter my hopes that this IS a true one-off.


BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 22:50:09

Thanks for the replies. We have only been married just under two years. No major arguments in that time which is what is bothering me. Is the only reason he's never been violent before because we've never actually had a major argument before? We have had disagreements like anyone, in these circumstances he has to have the last word and tends to get angry very quickly and then leaves the room and refuses further dialogue. Now I'm left wondering if he does this as he knows he has a problem controlling himself?
Since it happened there has been no major disagreements but then we've hardly spoken to one another so it's not surprising really. The nearest we got was that he wanted to order a takeaway a few nights ago. I didn't. He said he was ordering one for himself and did I want anything. I said no and so he said "fine but don't start moaning when mine arrives that you're hungry." I replied with "why would I be hungry, we had dinner not long ago" he took this as a personal dig I think and threw the phone on the kitchen side and left the room again.
I don't even know what I want to say to him. I can tell he's waiting for it. I just don't know WHAT to say.

notsorted Tue 23-Aug-11 22:50:47

If you haven't argued since and the silence isn't loaded with threat, that is a good thing.
Was going to suggest that before you head to relate straight off, you do need to be able to at least begin the discussion otherwise you'd be going into it cold.
A family holiday is too loaded to allow discussion as no one can escape and the plane home is looming. Rather like people advise talking to unhappy teenagers in the car, can you find a space out of the house - a walk perhaps or meeting for a cup of coffee in your lunch hours to open the discussion so that you are not in the house, stuck with each other and the need to come to some definite conclusion? Sounds as if you are both quietly thinking, and talking will stop the brooding.
Best of luck

AnyFucker Tue 23-Aug-11 22:56:31

You are now second guessing yourself, taking too long to consider your responses to simple questions in the light of how it may be received and subconscioulsy walking on eggshells in fear of a repeat performance

I have bad news for you.

Domestic violence should be zero tolerance

No ifs, no buts


HerHissyness Tue 23-Aug-11 23:03:25

OK, so I am glad I added my small print sad

Have to confess to NOT liking the Gets Angry Very Quickly bit. The throwing the phone thing too. Not Happy with that one bit.

How long have you known him in total?

I'd still - at this stage - say that you need to talk to him, you need to start out saying that you are not coming to argue, to tell him off, to fight or to blame. It's pointless.

What you are interested in, is making sure that it never, ever, EVER happens again, and also tell him that you need to make sure he knows how it has made you feel, how upset you are over it and that you need to talk about it with him.

I'd also re-state that you are speaking about his to ensure it never happens again, and that if he so much as raises an eyebrow in your direction, he will have to leave.

This conversation would deal with the bits you need to get off your chest, and do it in a non-confrontational way, but identity the consequences.

If you still can't shake the bad feelings, then perhaps call Women's Aid or go and see your Doctor and ask for a referral for counselling.

Again, I would only advocate this sticking with it if everything else is OK. If he is verbally or emotionally abusive, then GAME OVER, seriously.

How equal is your relationship?

garlicnutter Tue 23-Aug-11 23:07:21

Argh sad Throwing the phone is not good. Neither is making assumptions about whether you're hungry, whether you'll 'moan' later, and reading the wrong meaning into a simple refusal of a takeaway.

Leaving the room is correct anger-management behaviour. It seems likely he's had cause to address his temper control in the past.

I'm now feeling nervous about your relationship, but I have reasons to be hyper-cautious about such things. Perhaps you do need to be discussing this with a counsellor.

Have you noticed any signs of boundary issues with him? Did he call round unexpectedly when you were dating, read your diary or letters without asking, stuff like that? Would you say you're starting to second-guess yourself, so as not to irritate him?

BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 23:14:10

I don't know how I'd start the conversation. I don't know if it's because I'm scared of his reaction to me bringing it up again or because I simply don't want to face it.
In other areas of the relationship I would say we are equal. We both earn similar salaries, both work similar hours, both have a say in what we buy, have joint bank accounts as well as individual accounts etc
Boundary issues have been a problem however, in the early days he checked my phone messages and questioned me on certain male friends (disguised as a joke such as saying things like "ah Dave, is that your other boyfriend? haha" but of course this has to be followed by me explaining who Dave is. The argument in which he hit me was actually to do with me going out which he wasn't happy with.

HerHissyness Tue 23-Aug-11 23:23:54

Am liking this less and less tbh.

You say the early days.. how soon after meeting him did you get married?

garlicnutter Tue 23-Aug-11 23:25:30

Sweetheart, this worries me. I'm sorry.

You have to explain your male friends.
He's not happy with your going out on your own account.
So not-happy, in fact, he hit you.
He hit you in such a way as to damage your artwork, which presumably means a lot to you personally.
He's not happy if you don't fancy a takeaway when he does.
So not-happy, he slams something in th house to remind you what he can do when displeased.

He's looking quite a lot like the sort of person who can't see their partner as a separate individual, and gets very cross when their partner fails to 'be' exactly like them. Patricia Evans calls this the Teddy illusion (you can google it if you're up to it.)

BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 23:27:32

His ex wife had an affair which caused him to be overly paranoid whenever I got a text. I did tell him though at the time that I wouldn't tolerate being checked up on and followed around. He stopped doing it after that and as far as I know he hasn't done it since.
I met him 2 years before we married. We moved in together after a year.

garlicnutter Tue 23-Aug-11 23:36:54

Have you met his ex at all?

If he was possessively checking your texts right at the beginning of your relationship, does this not suggest he considered you his property (with no right to her own friendships) from the outset?

Even if his past experience made him nervy, isn't it peculiar to be so afraid of you cheating on him that he'd trample over your boundaries without thinking? Is that being understandably vulnerable, or weirdly mistrustful?

AnyFucker Tue 23-Aug-11 23:41:32

There is a script

he is following it

if you overlook this first incident of violence (and I would disagree here, I reckon there have been others...throwing things is a violent act) then he will escalate

they always do

so many red flags here

garlicnutter Tue 23-Aug-11 23:57:38

Yes, AF, it is the script sad

Controlling Bingo if:

He's made it clear what he likes you to wear / do with your hair /etc
Double points if he prefers you dressed differently when alone than when you're with him
He uses violent language when he's angry (not swearing, but mentioning specific violent acts)
He has broken something that was special to you
He jokingly puts you down or insults you
Double points if he does this in front of friends
Triple points in front of your friends
He's already told you which of your circle he doesn't like
Double points if he's managed to alienate them by being rude socially
He tries to make you jealous
He's accidentally pushed you when it could have been avoided (ie, not on a crowded train)
He's ever blocked your path because he felt you weren't listening

You don't want a full house in this game, you really don't.

cestlavielife Wed 24-Aug-11 00:05:21

Whose are the kids?
Do you have any together?
Do you know of his back story (his ex,s affair) only from his point of view?
Has he acknowledged you are not his ex?
The anger stuff is worrying

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Wed 24-Aug-11 00:07:25

I'll leave the advice to the much more knowledgeable posters. I just wanted to respond to part of what you said.

'I called him an arsehole (I know I shouldn't have)'

I have called my DH much worse over the years in the heat of an argument. He has never, ever raised a hand to touch me in anger. Whatever this is, it is nothing to do with what you said.

HerHissyness Wed 24-Aug-11 00:12:03

eek. sad

PerryCombover Wed 24-Aug-11 00:21:51

Can I say honestly that I have done some of the things on the controlling bingo in the past
I also tried to strangle my h one morning. Suddenly my hands were around his throat.

That was 3 years ago and I am really different now. I've had extensive therapy and I now understand myself.

He can change but it will be very difficult and painful for him to do so.

I think it's a very slippery slope and you have gone over the edge.
He needs to do a great deal of personal work and then you both need to work together as a couple..maybe also with the aid of some counselling.
Please be careful

garlicnutter Wed 24-Aug-11 00:30:50

Blimey, Perry, that was a brave post. Congratulations on all the work you've done, it must have been tough going.

I guess it's a fair test of a controller - are they ready to acknowledge the depth & importance of the issue; are they prepared to put in years of soul-wrenching therapeutic work; do they actually want to change themselves? My feeling is you're a rare and special person, Perry. Not many of you to the pound.

PerryCombover Wed 24-Aug-11 00:49:36

I'm an old timer with nothing to hide tbh

I was the messed up product of a really terrible childhood who thought that a big dose of book learning and rationalising sweeping it under the carpet would be enough. For me it wasn't.

My father was desperately physically and emotionally abusive. I was devastated to see that despite all my vehement intentions I was doing the same.
I was simply still stuck in a terrible childhood and needed to get over that and learn the skills to being a normal adult
V hard though...but I'm so massively glad that I have

BrightSkye Wed 24-Aug-11 08:13:05

Thanks for the advice. We were in bed last night and he started coming on to me for the first time since it happened. I didn't respond and he gave up pretty quickly sad before we went to sleep he asked me if I loved him. I said I did and he put his arm around me. I said then that we needed to talk about what happened, he just said "I know" but again nothing came of it.

I'm going to bring it up again today. The kids are mine and he is brilliant with them and they like him. I've never met his ex.

garlicnutter Wed 24-Aug-11 09:41:17

Good luck, Skye, I hope it goes well.

It's really hard to 'give no quarter' with somebody you love when you want everything to work out. There are some genuinely worrying signs here, though. If you can get to the bottom of why he hit you (and it doesn't involve putting any blame on you!), the surliness and possessiveness - then maybe it will make the kind of sense you can take into counselling.

Nobody deserves to live under the shadow of someone else's temper - please remember you don't have to.

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