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leaving verbally abusive relationships/controlling men - where did you draw the line?

(30 Posts)
livingonthedge Sun 25-Sep-11 17:59:59

I can't decide what I need to do and cannot decide where to draw my lines. I wondered where others who haveleft, or who haven't, draw lines and what they take into account - ie it isn't black and white - it is all grey and I wondered how people made sense of the greyness.

beatenbyayellowteacup Sun 25-Sep-11 18:00:37

You're going to have to give more information before people can post, I think.

livingonthedge Sun 25-Sep-11 19:18:17

All couples (I assume) row occasionally. Everyone says things that they don't mean. Most people can behave in an unreasonable fashion occasionally, especially in a relationship. I suspect that in most abusive (any kind of abuse) relationships itdoes not start out as instant full-on abuse. Also that kind of relationship tends to make you feel that it is your fault. So I am wondering how people decide where to draw the line. oh shouts a lot. When is "a lot" too much? He has never clearly hit me but has made physical contact recently during an artgument - I wouldn't say "hit" - more violently pushed my hand away - so did he "hit" me? That sort of thing.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 25-Sep-11 19:34:47

Regardless of whether I'd call it a hit or not, it certainly sounds like an escalation. Bit of a red flag, IMO.

You say your OH shouts "a lot". In 18 years together, my DH has never shouted at me. Not once. Does that put your OH's behaviour in perspective?

notsorted Sun 25-Sep-11 19:35:43

I didn't draw lines because I was vulnerable ie pregnant. Ex started on c***. I said I didn't like it and kept trying to say I didn't like it. It was fuel to the flames as he knew what hurt me and used it as a weapon. Ditto b****, w****.
In another post I made an analogy: if you know the rules of your relationship ie that you both argue, or are happy for an open relationship or indulge in some potentially dangerous kinky sex then as long as no one oversteps the rules then no one gets hurt. Or if one of you does you can sit down and talk about it calmly and say you won't do x or y again then it might seem a bit ott to others it's ok. But if it doesn't feel ok to one half and the other continues to do it and you can't say ok we/I/you went too far and apologise then it is probably ok. But if you are tense waiting for the infringement on the relationship to happen again, on eggshells trying to avoid it by agreeing to things that you find uncomfortable then it is not ok. Also would say that at certain times of huge stress - new baby, bereavement, job loss, moving house then you can chalk it up to that situation on occasion. But the big thing is how you both deal with what has happened and whether you can discuss how to deal with things differently. Hope that helps.

livingonthedge Sun 25-Sep-11 19:49:59

>>>if it doesn't feel ok to one half and the other continues to do it

the problem is that he isn't in control when cross - he calls me many things (eg f*cking b*tch) but sometimes even denies it afterwards. He also will do it under his breath a lot - not sure why. Anyway he appologises, says that he will try to stop, then loses it again.
He does seem to be getting worse though. We are both constantly tired. I think tat it is because i have gone back to work but do not yet really earn that much but am having to break back into the job market, work my way back up etc and so I'm working long hours. This means that more of the HW falls to him or doesn't get done (his job is very up and down - late hours one week, very quiet the next). This makes him cross so he is stressed and so is harder to live with.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 25-Sep-11 20:00:53

"the problem is that he isn't in control when cross" - I think you'll find that he is. Because if he wasn't, he'd probably have found himself sacked at some point, for getting 'cross' at work. I bet he has no trouble being in control there. DO NOT FALL FOR THE 'NOT BEING IN CONTROL' SHITE. It is always a lie. If he loses it, it is because he CHOOSES to do so.

"This means that more of the HW falls to him " - ah! And that would be something he sees as beneath him, would it? He's pissed because his servant has been redeployed?

livingonthedge Sun 25-Sep-11 20:10:37

>>>probably have found himself sacked at some point, for getting 'cross' at work<<<

he works from home a lot but in a high pressure environment - he gets calls from his boss at all hours etc. Also they do shout at one another at work - I've heard them on the phone (he once got to the stage of asking someone if they wanted to "go outside and discuss this" - didn't get sacked for that - it appears normal). I know that "he doesn't lose it at work argument" but it just isn't like that. He has always worked in (top 250 company, he is in finance) very macho environments (has been to lap dancing clubs with work etc - he doesn't actually like that aspect but they all go on work nights out). So he does get cross at work and they all swear at one another. (I hate this - very sexist - but that is the way it is.)

I think that he feels that, rather than HW being beneath him, I should somehow arrange life so that it doesn't need to be done (ie I should somehow be more organised, that clothes shouldn't get dirty etc. When dishes need doing it is always because i have cooked somethign too complicated (if I cook somethign simple then it is "boring" etc).

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:19:22

I wonder if he spends an equal amount of energy and time concerning himself with why you may be stressed or finding things hard and the reasons for your general attitude?

Its probably not even occured to him

If the relationship is shit and your partner takes the piss and treats you like shit, you should spend time concentrating on what you require, boundries etc to make you content.

Give up thinking about why hes a twat; he just is

madonnawhore Sun 25-Sep-11 20:19:57

Does he make you happy? Do you feel safe with him? Does this relationship bring positive things to your life?

For me, there were lots of mini wake up calls IYSWIM. But the main thing that made me know it was the end of the road for me was when I realised that if I'd gone on a first date with my ex now, I would have thought he was a prick and not bothered with a second date.

Suddenly I saw him as the kind of twat my friends and I would take the piss out of if he came on to one of us in a bar. Pretentious, flash, greedy, sexist, rude to taxi drivers and waitresses, etc...

But ultimately I think if you can't honestly answer yes to the above questions without any caveats at all, then the line needs to be drawn.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 25-Sep-11 20:21:45

"I think that he feels that, rather than HW being beneath him, I should somehow arrange life so that it doesn't need to be done" - in other words, HW is your responsibility? How does this make it not beneath him? And the complicated/boring - whatever you do it's your fault, you cannot win?

How many red flags do you need OP? Your OH has crossed many of my lines.

To go back to your first post, you said "I can't decide what I need to do and cannot decide where to draw my lines.". Now, most people don't consciously draw lines ahead of time, someone else just does something that they find unacceptable. So it's like you are saying you don't know what is unacceptable. Which suggests to me that you know something is wrong but it's been there so long it has become normalised, and you don't feel you know right from wrong any more.

As a general rule, if you're not sure what is unacceptable to you, there's a good chance that it would be unacceptable to everyone else. sad

CactusRash Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:28

This makes him cross so he is stressed and so is harder to live with.
So he is using you an emotional punching ball. He is stressed so it's OK to have a go at you just because you are there...... TBH, whatever work evirinment he is in, the has no right to behave like this. The first thing that should be in a relationship is respect and he doesn't seem to show a lot of that.

For your question, when do you draw the line? When suddenly it gets too much. It varies a lot from one person to the next. And it will be something different for every single person. No right or wrong answer. Just something that comes from within. Suddenly, you 'know'.

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:23:20

My DP wouldn't dream of shouting at me, nor I at him; its the mutual respect we have for each other. If there is an issue it is discussed, apology where due and no blame thrown about..

My late H on the other hand, he was the abusive/control type...

epeems Sun 25-Sep-11 20:25:40

It's hard because not only do you have to weigh up/consider whether the relationship is right, then you've got to think about the effect of the split on children, how you get thru' the interim stage of splitting, who lives where while house sold, having less money etc etc. In fact I'd be very interested to know step by step how some people have split and come thru' the other side.

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:29:19

When you have worked out in your head if hes a good decent man or a nasty twat, you will know its time to draw the line.

IME if you are posting about it on this board, you have already made your mind up - I got here looking up abusive relationships in Google; just wanted to check that my radar was right at the time

CactusRash Sun 25-Sep-11 20:34:13

The other thng is that you might actually draw the line on an 'intellectual level' (and say he is a twat because of X and Y) but take a bit more time to be really mentally/emotionally.

As you've said, abuse is something that is quite often creeping up, yu don't notice it (and you think you haven't) and it can be hard to trust yourself again.

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:38:52

I've read threads on this board where women who have been in abusive relationships were in agreement that they realised quite early on that it wasn't quite right and carried on regardless. I know I did all the while trying to convince myself that somehow we would find a way. In reality it was a shite relationship

CactusRash Sun 25-Sep-11 20:39:54

Yep, that's where counselling can be very helpful.

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:41:22

counsellings great with the right counsellor, helps you sort out your head and concentrate on you

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:46:25

I used to look at couples in the street/ at school functions/in restaurants and wonder if the man treated his woman like shit; wondered what their relationship was like

CactusRash Sun 25-Sep-11 20:49:01

Also, hearing from some one 'neutral' that your H behavior is appauling is a nice confirmation that you are not making a fuss.

livingonthedge Sun 25-Sep-11 20:49:43

>..Does he make you happy? not really at the moment - hasn't for the last 6 months but that isn't really that long (been together for a longtime)

>.>Do you feel safe with him?
not entirely but that is only recent

>... Does this relationship bring positive things to your life?
some things yes but at the moment they are mainly the practical things (help with kids so that I can work, money (am still very financially dependant on him) etc.

>>>In fact I'd be very interested to know step by step how some people have split and come thru' the other side.

so would I.

I take the points about "if you have to ask if it is unacceptable then it is" etc but I don't think that it actually is that clear cut. Maybe my expectations are unreasonable? I think his are (when he does leave the house to work he has to get up early and apparently "everyone else's wife gets up and makes them breakfast" (at 5.30am) - I don't and don't think that I should but he thinks that I should (and I suspect that some of his workmates wives do) so he sees my staying in bed as my being unreasonable.)

Also he has got loads worse recently - sometimes I wonder if he is on teh verge of some kind of breakdown/male menopause/etc.

CactusRash Sun 25-Sep-11 20:52:44

You are looking for excuses for his behaviors. sad

Do you think he is respectful of your wishes? (And btw, I would not get up on a regular basis at 5.30am just because my H is getting up either!)

SirSugar Sun 25-Sep-11 20:55:14

you are not his servant

Ihavenotgotmyspecswithyme Sun 25-Sep-11 20:56:15

I was in an abusive relationship. At the time I tended to blame myself and so did he. I needed to see a cousellor to talk through my legitiamte doubts and fears about going it alone. Much happier now. X not changed. still controlling. He is very good at it though. Manages to appear to be Superdad to others, which is the most annoying thing of all now.
The reason why you are in a state of indecision could be all part of what he does to you. If you were happy and confident you would have more direction. The focus of your life has been avoiding trouble with him and not clarifying what you need. Of course you don't know what you want- you've had no room to decide. my x was always complaining that I was indecisive, now I just like to take my time to make my mind up about stuff and I enjoy exploring options. what a difference

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