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Your abusive ex. Did anyone try to warn you?

(78 Posts)
WonderingHow Mon 01-Apr-13 14:53:12

When you first got together with your abusive ex, did anyone show reservations about him, or try to warn you?

If they did, what were you told - and what did you make of the warning?

If no-one said anything - do you wish they had? What did you need to hear, if anything. Or were you so in love you didn't care?

If this applies to you, I'd welcome any insights.

Wereonourway Mon 01-Apr-13 21:41:27

My mum kind of did.

Said she didn't get a very good feeling about him.

I'm 8 months down the line after leaving him, a really tough time in some ways, but fabulous in others. He has tried to make my life hell, said and done many hurtful things and my mum has been with me every step of the way. I'm getting stronger week by week and, money worries aside, I am extremely happy.

I feel awful for putting onto my family, especially my mum, who I suspect actually feels it the most. My dad is a do-er and very practical, amazingly supportive but my mum is emotional and has no doubt had many sleepless nights because of me.

If like to repay her somehow, her and my dad, and my fabulous aunty and best friends, I'm sure I will one day but have no idea how.

NutherChange Mon 01-Apr-13 21:47:26

All relationships of this nature follow a very similar pattern.

When they end, he moves on to the next victim, making her believe that you were unhinged.

One certain outcome is that, anybody who has been in a relationship like this is left very damaged for a long time, if not permanently.

More often than not, the victim cannot see this for herself no matter how many people tell her. All you can do is be there if needed and hope she sees through him sooner or later.

EggyFucker Mon 01-Apr-13 21:47:36

were I am sure the only "payment" your mum hopes for is for you to find a new life, without him in it

Wereonourway Mon 01-Apr-13 21:51:16

Eggy- I know, and I'm well on the way to showing her. New home, new job, ds is fabulous. I worry about the teary phone calls made to her when ex pisses me about yet again. Thankfully this is petering out and I'm getting tougher.

I'm determined to make my parents proud, and to find that pride in myself too.

SanctiMOMious Mon 01-Apr-13 21:52:09

Wonderinghow I'm not surprised you're worried. If they are having pre-marriage counselling, could you 'tip off' the priest or the minister. I'd have little faith that priests value a woman's right to be an equal in a relationship.

I'm thinking back now to the period just before I felt I was in too deep to walk away. Instead of criticism of her fiance, maybe dig out that list of what a healthy relationship is. What it is reasonable to expect. Funnily enough, it was having my nose pushed in other people's happiness that made me finally leave my x.

I think comments that might have made me think twice would have been comments that weren't criticisms of him, but questions such as "Do you think a girl should look forward to seeing her boyfriend?'" or, " do you feel more confident when you're with him?".

Is there a reason why she would accept being made to feel bad about herself? There was a reason (several reasons) why I accepted this. WHy, although it felt shit, it felt normal too.

EggyFucker Mon 01-Apr-13 21:53:56

Good on you were

You will get there

SanctiMOMious Mon 01-Apr-13 21:56:26

@ lavenderhoney, omg, at your mum setting you up with somebody 20 years older than you, and being annoyed with you that you didn't like him confused With a mum like that who needs enemies

Kernowgal Mon 01-Apr-13 22:07:10

I think the key question for me would have been: how do you feel when you know he'll be home/coming to pick you up soon, or you're on your way to meet him?

For me it was initially excitement, then mixed with a small bit of apprehension, as there had been a couple of occasions where I'd been really looking forward to seeing him and he'd turned up in a foul mood and taken it out on me. Then as time went on it steadily grew to generally apprehensive and then later a feeling of dread - how's he going to be today? What might have happened at work/on the way home that he'll take out on me? I never knew what kind of mood he'd be in and so I just learned to be on my best behaviour and never give him any excuse to have a go at me.

OP I would advise that now you've said you're not keen on him, your best move would to keep out of it but make it known that you're always available to chat, that you won't be judgmental or say "I told you so" (not that I'm saying you would) because when she does finally realise he's no good, she may have pushed everyone else away. Thankfully I split with my ex long before I got to that point.

Lavenderhoney Wed 03-Apr-13 04:34:44

Sanctimom, I have no idea. Certainly not someone to talk to and tell your problems to as teen or an adult. I think she liked him and thought as he had all the trappings of wealth it would be ideal. She was very poor herself and orphaned in a children's home, so I suppose she felt it was an option.

Op, have you had your question answered?

Nishky Wed 03-Apr-13 05:36:05

yes- very drunk on a train- the next day she apologised profusely and said it was none of her business. I wish I had listened.

SanctiMOMious Wed 03-Apr-13 20:48:47

yes, uncertainty and dread. that's what i felt when I knew he was due home. I didn't admit that to anybody else, but I could identify those feelings.

WonderingHow Thu 04-Apr-13 01:02:10

Chaos, this is the kind of man exactly
He was an accomplished charmer, fooling us all the majority of the time. It's only long experience, and the awful experiences of others, that makes me very alert when I see a charmer these days.

Wereonourway, I've got to echo Eggy/AnyF, and say your Mum will be happy that you're safe and OK, in a life without your ex. That's all she'll want..

NutherChange this is so true: anybody who has been in a relationship like this is left very damaged for a long time, if not permanently.

People have said to me, quite rightly, it's her life not mine, she has to decide. And I respect that. But it's awful knowing what she's walking into. I've seen a friend through it and this guy looks much worse than he was.

I will be there for her. But just now I'm not popular at all.

In fairness, the young woman is coping very well with my reservations, because she is a lovely caring girl who sees good in everybody (so an ideal target for an abuser). It's her mother who is furious with my reaction. She is very excited and enthusiastic about this man. He is much closer to her age than her daughter's. Perhaps that plays a part.

SanctiMOMious that's good advice….to keep it circumspect and try to talk about relationships generally. Ask how she feels when she's with him.

Kernowgal I saw her response when he called her to pick him up. She just sagged slightly in front of me. I see her very seldom though, even less now the boyfriend is always with her.

The latest thing I was told is that his last ex wife drinks and he's trying to get custody of her children, by calling out social services (yes, that old chestnut). Oh, and she's mentally unstable and he's tried to have her detained under the MH act. There was more that, again, I can't talk about; it's all too familiar from these boards.

Thank you for your help and insights, everybody. I'll pick my way forward carefully.

newname2007 Thu 04-Apr-13 01:09:12

my grandmother - she saidnshe hoped i was strong enough to be with him. how i wish I had listened,

SirBoobAlot Thu 04-Apr-13 01:14:51

Mumsnet tried to warn me <wry smile> I should have listened.

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 01:18:00

Astute grandmother.

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 01:21:46

and, save this question for later. "what is it you love about him?". I remember somebody (cleverer than I gave them credit for at the time) asked me that when I was very unhappy and would have left if it were easier, but I was still at the point of being defensive. Anyway, somebody said to me with a smile, seemingly without any guile or agenda "what is it you love about him?". And I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. I couldn't breath. I knew in that instant that there was precisely nothing I loved about him. But I still hadn't got the strength to leave him at that point. There was a gap, between acknowledging it, to myself, and to others, where I had to pretend I saw some good in him and man that was hard to fake.

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 01:22:51

when i say 'later' i mean, when it's clear that there is no redeeming feature about him, and clear that she's controlled and all infatuation or excitement has gone.

BrittaPie Thu 04-Apr-13 01:23:28

He did, with the words "my ex tried to say I was abusive! How ridiculous!"

BrittaPie Thu 04-Apr-13 01:24:48

Oh, and Mumsnet also.

I think it was Reality who basically begged me not to marry him. I still did.

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 01:24:49

oh dear, the mtoher of his chidlren is mentally ill chesnut! he's a classic narc.

get 'why does he do that?' by lundy bankcroft and it will help you help this young woman. She is lucky to have you. She may not know it yet.

springyhappychick Thu 04-Apr-13 01:33:40

yes, people warned me. No I didn't listen. Well, I heard them but I didn't understand what they were saying. I thought some of them were jealous.

It stood me in very good stead n years down the line when I was totally off my head and fighting for my life (not literally but mentally/emotionally). I was so grateful they'd had the courage to say it.

If I come up against this sort of thing I gauge who's around for the person. If there are plenty of people then I am generally clear and direct about the type of person they are with. It may stand them in good stead, too, n years down the line. If there aren't many, or no, people around I tread more carefully, though I couldn't possibly pretend entirely. Facial expressions can say more than words sometimes. The implication is clear. I am especially vigilant if the victim has children. I really do tread carefully then - to keep in their orbit if no-one else is around who is concerned about what is going on.

And I pray my head off.

Erebus Thu 04-Apr-13 10:47:04

I am always a bit confused about the use of the term 'jealous'. You see it a lot on MN, usually if someone is sounding off about their DC's private school, and someone else bags the school, then there's a team-cry of 'You're only saying that because you're jealous!'.

We seem to see jealously in everyone who doesn't agree with us, don't we? And we can be eye-wateringly delusional, can't we?! It's because we have strong egos, we assume we know best and that anyone who can see further or challenges our certainty can only be envious, rather that prescient!

ladyjadie Thu 04-Apr-13 13:22:14

A lot of my friends, used to say 'you can do better'.

I just assumed they were jealous sad

My reply was always 'But I don't want to do better!'

Says it all really. And it took ages to get over him but then it was so so great.

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 13:22:21

Is this post on the right thread?

SanctiMOMious Thu 04-Apr-13 13:24:28

that was to erebus. but scrap my comment.

wonderinghow maybe you should keep it breezy but say 'hey, if things get a bit expensive or you need a change of scene, you can always stay with me for as long as you want to'. That offer will be considered SO much more seriously in an hour of need than "if your boyfriend ever threatens you , you can seek refuge with me". dykwim?

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