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Don't judge people for not realising they are in abusive relationships or struggling to leave - we are not weak and it is not simple!

(8 Posts)
AllThatJazzAgain Wed 15-May-13 14:17:01

I have read quite a few posts recently which seem critical of the OP for not realising that they are in an abusive relationship and/or assumes the OP is weak.

I just wanted to share my story. I grew in a fabulous family, warm, loving and perfect. I went to university, have a degree, a MA and run a very successful company. I am and have always been a strong, capable and independent woman. In 2005 I came out of a long term relationship and very quickly met another man. He was dashingly good looking, charming, loving and perfect. He was a bit older than me. Our relationship started and went from strength to strength very quickly. About a year in I discovered he was in fact married and had grown up children. He was 8 years older than he said. I found this out by him turning up on my door step saying he had left his wife, etc all for me (all lies she found about affair and kicked him out as I later discovered). And this is where it really started to get nasty, I never invited him to live with me, he just moved in. He subtly and very cleverly put the fact he was homeless, abandoned by children all on me. I wanted to run but I felt fully responsible for him and his decisions. Slowly he chipped away at my confidence without me really realising it, I became increasingly reliant on him, on his opinions, on his decision making being better than mine. He would tell me people would make comments about the way I looked, what I wore, how I spoke, etc - then would help me 'improve'. He even convinced me I had totally ruined my best friends wedding (total lies). He convinced me all my friends/ family didn't understand me, they only used me - he was the only one who really looked after me. He would cook me meals with dairy in them (I am lactose intolerant) without me knowing and then tend to me whilst I was sick. I thought I needed him and though I wanted to walk away each time he made me believe I had ruined his life and I was responsible. when I did try and leave shortly after all the lies about wife etc came out, he attempted suicide. I went back and felt trapped, no friends, no family and like a prisoner in my own home. I couldn't say he hit me and I didn't really recognise the emotional abuse. I paid for everything.

towards the end of the relationship I started to stand up for myself, would argue back etc. That was when I realised the situation wasn't normal. He would trap me in a room, block my exits, pin me down until I listened/ obeyed him. He even started spitting on me. If I really fought back he would move onto the next tactic and curl up into a ball and start rocking/ crying threatening to kill himself until I was beside myself with panic. If I upset him at all he would cause a scene wherever I happened to be i.e. turning up at work, gym, etc. I leapt from moment to moment trying to keep situations calm and collected. I never thought about the bigger picture because I couldn't put it all together.

when one day I discovered he was cheating again (suspected numerous occasions throughout the relationship) something inside me snapped. I suddenly saw him as a coward and a bully and realised the only way out was to expose him as his most important thing in the world was that everyone thought he was a lovely, nice guy! I managed to log into his email account (how I found out he was cheating!) and contacted all his friends, family, girlfriends etc, etc and told them how it was, what was happening. From that day I haven't heard hide nor hair of him. I dropped off all things at his friends and made it very clear I would contact the police if he ever came near me again. This was all in early 2007.

Looking back my family and friends all tried to help me, all saw what was happening but I couldn't see it, and prompted by him pushed them further and further away. they helped as much as I would allow and as soon as I clocked onto the reality of the situation they surrounded me like wildfire.

At the end of 2007 I met the most wonderful man, I am now very happily married to him with our second child on the way but I often reflect back on my escape and past relationship. I am only sharing this to try and reality to the situations some people find themselves in! And to say until you have been there it is so hard to really understand how strong, capable happy individuals end up in these situations.

parabelle Wed 15-May-13 14:33:48

Amazing post allthatjazz and it demonstrates exactly how abuse starts and turns into something awful. You're right, it's not simple and people should remember that when they're posting. I think if you've never been in that position or seen it happening, it can be hard to understand.
But I hope someone reading your post today is helped by what you've written.

thekidsrule Wed 15-May-13 14:44:37

totally agree op

somebody once said to me if on th first date your abuser said "your a useless ugly bitch" you would walk away and never have a second date,BUT abusers are clever and it dosent (rarely) happen straight away,it's a waiting game for them

some of the strongest women i know have been in abussive relationships be it physical,emotional or both

will be watching this with intrest

well done op for finding the courage to leave and stay away

FrebbieMisaGREATshag Wed 15-May-13 14:46:06

Agree totally AllThatJazz

BerylStreep Wed 15-May-13 16:50:35

Glad you had the strength to kick him out. He sounds really manipulative and insidious.

My twat radar was a bit wonky when I was younger. Went out with an older guy when I was 18, and he was incredibly controlling. He isolated me from friends, and engineered a split from my family (although tbh, it was already a strained relationship, but he maximised it). Because he was 10 years older, he knew best about everything, and wouldn't let me make any decisions of my own. He would even make me stand in front of the TV before I left the house so he could ensure my skirt wasn't see through. He would go on and bloody on about the dangers of going to the dentist, because of the risk of being drugged and sexually assaulted. He made me discuss every sexual encounter I had ever had before, and he tried to make out he was somehow rescuing a fallen woman. He would humiliate me in front of others by telling me not to be so bloody stupid. I always had lots of doubts about him cheating (am pretty sure he was), and one day I suddenly realised that it didn't matter if I could prove it or not, the most important thing was that I didn't trust him, and didn't like the way he behaved towards me. It was like a light bulb moment, and I finished it, although we had been together for 3 years. Remembering it now, he was furious that he could no longer control me, and he begged and begged to get back together.

I am glad I am older and wiser now. I wouldn't exchange the current me for the younger me for the world, although I wish I could go back in time and speak to myself. Looking back on it though, I wonder how it happened, and how I can prevent something like that from happening to my DD? I had had a very turbulent period from the age of 11 (Dad walked out, no money, lots of siblings, Mum trying to cope, extreme violence towards me, taken into care, me pushing teenager boundaries) - all of those things I suppose meant I didn't have a stable emotional framework and made me vulnerable. Also in my younger days I had always been raised to be polite, not to argue etc, so it meant I wasn't very assertive when alarm bells should have been blaring.

Unfortunately he wasn't the only twat I went out with - I too have had the experience of coming home from work to find my bf had moved in without telling me, and again when I look back, I was too timid and not assertive enough to tell him to sling his hook. I did after a while, and then was bombarded with years of harassment. Apparently I couldn't see that he was the best thing that had ever happened to me, we were meant to be together etc etc.

Thankfully, years and years later, I met and married my lovely DH. Yes he drives me mad at times, but deep down I think he is a good bloke who loves me. Without wanting to sound smug, I should remember to count my blessings every day.

FWIW, I don't think many people on here judge. Lots of posters have been through similar, and it is so easy to wake up one day and find yourself in an abusive relationship. I think MN is wonderful that there are so many wise posters who provide advice.


Windingdown Wed 15-May-13 16:51:27

Abusers have spent a lifetime learning how to manipulate their way into situations where they can abuse. They are damn good at it and only the smug or ignorant would think themself immune to the manipulation of a skilled abuser.

Brave of you AllthatJazz. Brave to get out and not just survive but thrive and share your story to help and inspire others.

kittybiscuits Wed 15-May-13 16:58:37

Great post allthatjazz well done for kicking him to the kerb, and I ahare your sentiments about recent threads. Thanks for this thread x

AllThatJazzAgain Thu 16-May-13 09:01:06

I do agree Beryl majority of people on MN are lovely just been reading a few comments recently which seem to really not understand how abuse can creep up, and a lot of women are like me, they just don't recognise it until it is well established!

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