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I am such an idiot (sorry long)

(20 Posts)
xshalimarx Mon 10-Oct-11 14:09:29

I'm posting this here and as a long time lurker, I know I'm going to get flamed for this. Right then, I have been with my partner for nearly 10 years now, We have two very young children. Our relationship has been violent (not since ds1 was born) It is also riddled with infidelity.

We spent time apart whilst still together before ds1 was born and during this time dp had an affair, I'm sure there was other women but can't prove it, He has also used prostitutes and spent a substantial amount of money on strippers and he would arrange to come home but obviously not arrive and he would turn his phone off.

For a long time I saw this as my problem, trying to justify his choices because I wasn't feminine enough, or my boobs weren't big enough, I thought that I must have been pretty vile for Him to do those things including the violence. I honestly thought it was my fault.

Now I'm older and wiser (was a very naive 17 year old when we first started a relationship) and I resent myself for staying. The worst thing is we had our dc's after all of this. I know I initially stayed through insecurity and I didn't Find out about some of the issues until quite recently. My parents had a dysfunctional relationship, we were hit and verbally abused a lot so I suppose I thought it was the norm due to my upbringing.

Im finding it very hard to cope tbh, I'm a crabby bitch all the time. I have been diagnosed with ptsd as a result of some of the things that have happened in this relationship. When I found out he had been frequenting lap dancing clubs I decided to train up and started working as a "dancer"(hate that term)to spite him, Didn't work because he didn't give a toss and it killed even more of my self worth.

I'm at my wits end really. I have days when I just want to leave or commit suicide and because its on my mind all the time it ruins my day. Triggers are everywhere and I'm a social recluse just to avoid Things that might cause triggers, but I'm on edge all the time anyway. I cannot find the words to say how unhappy I am, My kids love their dad, he has been beyond a shit and I don't know if I have the strength to leave. I know I couldn't cope with a reflux baby and a toddler on my own and I have no support.

Please advise me wonderful mners, sorry its so long but I missed bits out and tried to keep it breif.

oldwomaninashoe Mon 10-Oct-11 14:25:53

You would be surprised how you would be able to manage on your own, a lot better than you imagine . Taking the step to go it alone would no doubt empower you and might give you some self confidence.

You sound like you have loads of issues going on here. Have you had any help/counselling to deal with the PTSD?

WoeIsMeAgain Mon 10-Oct-11 14:36:45

why, if your relationship is riddled with infidelity & violence would you even consider dragging two innocent babies into it

you have a choice, they dont.

tigermoll Mon 10-Oct-11 15:06:44

OK, you say you have been an idiot in the past; let your partner treat you badly, blamed yourself, stayed with him through insecurity, etc.

There's nothing you can do about the past, and beating yourself up won't help.

But you CAN do something about the future. You can be strong and brave and wise, and place a higher value on yourself, so that in another ten years time, you don't look back to this time and think 'I've been so stupid'.

You need RL help and support; - have you thought about where you might get this from? Friends, family, Women's support groups, your GP for instance? You need to start assembling your team to get you through this.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 10-Oct-11 15:22:06

That's not helpful WoeIsMeAgain is it? We can all be wise with hindsight but, from your name, it sounds as if maybe you struggle with learning lessons from your experiences too so please don't rush to judge or condemn others.

xshalimarx What is the current state of play between you and your partner? Do you truly love this man? Do you want to stay with him? Has he changed his ways? Can you confidently say that he will never be violent or cheat on you again?

It's probable that your feelings fluctuate from day to day and that you don't really know what you want, or that you can't see how to bring about any positive changes in your life. If this is the case, you would be ill-advised to make any final decisions until you have sought counselling to work through the issues from your childhood that have caused you to have such a huge lack of self-esteem and lack of self-worth.

If your childhood had been nurturing and had encouraged you to value yourself, love yourself, and hold yourself in high esteem, you may have still become involved with an abusive male at the age of 17 - but you wouldn't have put up with it for very long as, no matter how much he was able to cow you into submission or convince you that you couldn't manage without him and that no-one else could love you, your ego would have re-asserted itself and you would have told him to get lost.

Your first step is to make an appointment with your GP and tell him/her that you are finding it difficult to cope and that you sometimes have thoughts of suicide - please be honest because if medics/professionals don't know what's going on inside your head, they can't help or prescribe appropriate treatment for your condition.

Ask for a referral for counselling so that you can begin to work through all of the issues that are causing your current unhappiness and to understand why you are blaming yourself for things that you didn't have the insight to prevent.

That said, what is especially on your mind that is causing you to be a social recluse? Is becoming a 'dancer' to spite him a euphemism for prostitution? Did you/do you feel additionally demeaned (over and above your already low opinion of yourself) by your experiences in the sex industry?

xshalimarx Mon 10-Oct-11 15:33:38

Thank you for responding, I was having sessions of EDMR during pregnancy, I found it very difficult to re live past experiences, Have tried other things also but no luck there.

Woeismeagain, You are right I know. Don't know really how else to respond to that.

I don't think people can completely change personality, so once a cheat always a cheat imo, feel the same about violence to a certain degree. I do feel fairly demeaned through the choices I have made and shit is an understatement when It comes to describing the guilt I feel Irt bringing two gorgeous innocent little people into this.

GypsyMoth Mon 10-Oct-11 15:36:10

It sounds like my marriage, but we had 4 dc.

CactusRash Mon 10-Oct-11 15:38:26

Well I for one wil not say you are an idiot.
You've had a harsh upbringing, a husband that abused you, destroyed yur self esteem, then also had some 'experience' in the sex industry. You don't say what caused the pstd but it must have been big for you to react in this way. That's a lot to cope with for one single person.

Izzy was very wise in her advice. You need to find help for yourself, regardless of the relationship. Ask for some counselling to help you deal with the ptsd and all the rest that has happened. This could be the way in to get some help if you don't want, yet, to bring all the other stuff.

Finally, remember it's easy to say afterwards I was such an idiot. Very easy indeed. But what is great about it is that it means you are starting to getsome insights of what is going on and that therefore you are getting ready to get some help. The best you can do, anyone can do, is to learn from what has happened to them and from their mistakes. Go and see your GP and ask for help.
If your H is stll violent and/or abusive in any way, contact the WA and ask for help on that side too.

CactusRash Mon 10-Oct-11 15:42:12

xpost xshalimarx.

You can't change what has happened in the past. And from what you say, you have been trying your best to put things right by asking for therapies and trying to keep your marriage afloat (albeit perhaps not the 'best' way). So don't feel guilty about it.

Bt you ca still change the present and the future and give yourself and your dcs a better life. smile

garlicScaresVampires Mon 10-Oct-11 15:54:35

Hello, xshalimarx. I'm sad to hear you feel so down on yourself. I'm sure you're aware this is almost inevitable after an abusive upbringing (which taught you to put yourself down, thus saving your elders the trouble angry ) You also realise that an oppressive upbringing lays you wide open to oppressive partners - who, again, are jolly pleased to find all the groundwork's been done for them by your family! If thinking about this makes you feel angry, go ahead. You've every right to anger on your own behalf.

I'm not surprised you took up sex work in response to your partner's obsession. There's a name for this - sorry, I've forgotten it - it's a really common response to something you feel threatened by. Almost as if you're trying to "own" the problem by becoming part of it. Think about how many women bleach their hair, shave their pubes, etc, etc, in response to their partner's drooling over pictures of women with those characteristics. And there's always some story in the news about a woman having extensive plastic surgery to try and be like their husband's mistress (never works, of course.) Soldiers returning with PTSD can become uncharacteristically violent - again, over-identifying with the very thing that traumatised them and becoming 'part' of it.

Who diagnosed you with PTSD? Was it your GP? If so, you've got a very smart doctor there, and should go back to him sharpish with a written-out description of your symptoms and problems. Ask for help.

You are unlikely to be able to effect a full recovery whilst you're still in a traumatic relationship. Starting therapy and self-healing now, though, can very much help you to gain a degree of influence over your own life and get some detachment from the emotional melodramas in your home life.

Here are a few links, you might have already seen them.
"Stately Homes", a very long-running Mumsnet thread by and for adults from abusive families.
"Emotional Abuse", another long-running thread, this one for current and past partner relationships.
Mind's page on PTSD.
Lancashire NHS, pioneers in PTSD treatment.
Pete Walker's site about Complex PTSD, lots of useful guidelines for self-help.

garlicScaresVampires Mon 10-Oct-11 15:58:46

Here's the Womens Aid website. Their helpline number is 0808 2000 247.

lolaflores Mon 10-Oct-11 16:22:05

In all honesty? This OP needs serious help and I find myself deeply worried at what she has said and what she is thinking. In my opinion she is beyond self help. Xshalimarx please my darling, make an appointment for your GP tomorrow morning! There are so many things going on that need immediate attention, the suicidal feelings are not to be ignored. I think this is a crisis rather than just feeling low. I feel like I am being an alarmist but I have found it all so worrying.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 10-Oct-11 16:32:16

There's absolutely NO need to add to the considerable load of guilt you've already stored up by beating yourself up for bringing 'two gorgeous innocent little people' into your life.

Please look at them for what they truly represent for you; which is the two best things you've ever done.

Having proved to yourself that you have been capable of doing something right twice, you now need to make sure that your two precious dc are in no danger whatsoever of experiencing abusive childhoods such as your own.

You say you couldn't manage on your own with a reflux baby and a toddler? After all you've been through, you'll have no problem being a single parent.

As for your dc loving their df - at their age that's an instinctive reaction to anyone who treats them with kindness but, if you've learned anything from all of the negative experiences you've had in your life, you'll know that their chances of having a happy childhood with him in it are doubtful to say the least.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 10-Oct-11 16:54:27

IMO you are being alarmist lolaflores. The experiences that the OP has had are not uncommon and the way she feels is the way that many women who have been, and are, in her situation feel about themselves and their lives.

We've all had times when we need help and encouragement to bring about positive change for ourselves and I urge you to pease be honest with your GP and other professionals xshalimarx - you won't be sectioned for revealing your darkest thoughts about suicide or anything else for that matter, nor will you be considered unstable or as 'bad' as you believe you are.

In fact, your ability to articulate your thoughts in such a considered manner is evidence that you are already beginning the process of coming to terms with past events - and I don't think it will take much for you to turn your negative thoughts into positive ones about yourself and the future.

lolaflores Mon 10-Oct-11 17:16:17

When I hear suicide and with the background of pain and hurt this person has endured, there is no time for processing. There should be as much professional support as possible right now. Not sectioning, but getting linked into the services she needs to help her.

garlicScaresVampires Mon 10-Oct-11 17:36:58

If my post seemed to emphasise self-help, I wrote it badly. I agree a hundred percent, xshalimarx, ther's help and support available to you and you definitely are worth it! Your GP and HV are the usual routes to start mobilising backup services - try them both smile Good luck.

garlicScaresVampires Mon 10-Oct-11 17:38:29

.. and Womens Aid. Good for a general chat, and will be able to point you towards more resources.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Oct-11 18:35:42

I can't begin to tell you how many strong, intelligent, independent women have done some really stupid things for love - not always with as much excuse as you have, of a seriously dysfunctional childhood. We all feel really stupid when we start to break out and get perspective on the things we were doing and the things we were consenting to having done to us. Often we are not stupid people, we just got caught in that stupefying fog, and when it cleared, oh my god, what was I thinking? Don't worry, you're far from alone!

You did what you thought was right, ok, in hindsight it wasn't (although there are also far worse things you could have done). You put others before yourself. Unfortunately they were the wrong others so they wanted you to do the wrong things. Now it's time to put the right people first, that is your babies; and that also means being kind to yourself - their mummy. Because however much they love their arse of a daddy, you know them and love them best and you can make sure they're properly looked after. He really doesn't sound like the type who you could trust to do that, however much fun they have in the park or whatever. He will teach them some very skewed values if nothing else...

You sound like a sweet person and I do hope you soon start to feel better about yourself. I second those who say don't be embarrassed about going to your GP and getting some support - ADs, counselling, whatever you need. You've struggled on alone quite long enough.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 10-Oct-11 18:56:15

The reason I formed the opinion that you were being alarmist lola is that while there 'should be as much professional support as possible right now' available to the OP, the reality is somewhat different as it will take time for her to see her GP and/or HV, time for any ADs that may be prescribed to kick in, and time for referrals to be made for appropriate therapy.

In the meantime, the OP needs to be encouraged to think positively about herself as, when it comes to mental health, telling someone who is struggling to come to terms with experiences and feelings that are NOT uncommon to many others that they need help right now can lead them to believe the worst about themselves and their mental wellbeing.

I'm concerned that you underwent EDMR while you were pregnant xhalimar. EDMR has been successful in cases of PTSD but it was created specifically as a trauma therapy and, as it focuses on intensely stressful subjects/past events, anyone who is pregnant or has an eye disorder or heart condition etc requires clinical evaluation prior to commencing treatment.

Further, as a relatively new therapy, some clinicians may not have received appropriate training in EDMR and, in addition, the jury is out on its effectiveness.

While I am convinced that therapy will help help you to resolve some of the longstanding issues that have conflicted your past and are impacting on your present, I am not convinced that what you are suffering is PSTD in anything other than the most general terms - a catch-all diagnosis, as it were, quite possibly made solely on the basis of the time you spent in the sex industry.

In connection with your experience of EDMR you've said ^I found it very difficult to re live past experiences' which, again, leads me to conclude that it was not an appropriate therapy for you and I also have some concern that you are finding 'triggers' everywhere.

I am confident that in the long term you will benefit from a talking therapy which can help you revisit rather than re-live the past from a safe place so that you can confront and process as much or as little of your negative experiences as you can comfortably cope with at any one time.

However, you've also said Have tried other things also but no luck there and this begs the question as to what other therapies you have tried and found lacking?

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 10-Oct-11 19:18:38

Had you emphasised 'self-help' in your first response (which, FTR, I don't believe you did) garlic, it wouldn't have been inappropriate as, regardless of whether we are suffering from a mental or physical ailment, it is incumbent on each of us to take the first steps to wellness as no-one else can do it for us.

This may be simply be joining internet forums such as this one, comparing our state of mind/condition with others who have, or are, experiencing similar feelings/symptoms, or taking ourselves to a GP or other professional and seeking a medical diagnosis.

ADs can help alleviate our feelings despite ourselves, but in order for us to derive any long-lasting benefit from 'therapy' we have to want to help ourselves because no-one else has a magic wand that can erase the past events and experiences that may be the cause of hurt, pain, regret, self-disgust, self-hatred, etc, in our present and future lives.

The harsh fact is that we can only alter our perspectives if we are willing to accept that it is in our power to do so.

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