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Doing freedom Programme with H - want to share a hopefully happy outcome

(33 Posts)
writergal Fri 17-May-13 07:12:08

After many years of EA and it coming to a head in recent months, I decided to start the Freedom Programme online. My H is very receptive to changing his behaviour and has wholeheartedly apologised for much of what happened in the past (mostly shouting, swearing - but this was getting worse. he can also be controlling). he saw how much it affected me in terms of my anxiety and the fact i was falling out of love - not surprisingly.

Anyway - I told him about the FP men's online course and he agreed to do it himself. I am hugely impressed by this and feel that it finally shows some measure of acceptance of his behaviour. I really hope it will change some aspects of our relationship and improve those parts which are good.

Much of what is on this relationships board is negative about marriages. I am hoping to show that it can get better. I reached rock bottom and was close to leaving him and he knew that. Maybe I was hoovered and perhaps it won't last, but I would like to document the journey.

I hope the FP won't do any harm - he is nowhere near as bad as the examples in the Dominator book - but there are some areas where it describes him to a tee. Control of money, house discipline, explosions of rage out of the blue etc. Control of my body, insults (disguised as "caring") silent treatment and other manipulative techniques. Oh and ranting, raving and lecturing (it is this I hate the most).

So we will see. I am hopeful but still just a little cynical. I think that is the right approach...

I can't reply over the weekend - but will come back on Monday with an update.

Mondrian Fri 17-May-13 07:17:10

Look forward to following your journey, particularly how you manage to take control rather than relinquish it.

Offred Fri 17-May-13 07:19:28

Have to say I doubt this will work especially as you haven't split up and he is apparently doing it so you won't leave not because he believes he is abusive. Also, the part of the cycle where they are nice and try to please you can last for months or years, how long do you plan to give it before you will be convinced?

However, I shall keep an eye on this with interest.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-May-13 07:30:25

Sorry to be perhaps to you very cynical but I do think you are setting yourself up for a massive fall.

I doubt very much that he has changed because this type of behaviour is deeply rooted in his psyche and learnt in childhood. A male based online course won't change anything re him. I can only assume that you still get something out of this relationship so you still want to give this a go. He wants to give you the impression he has changed but it is still very early days for you. They all say they will change, they do not let go of their victims easily.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 17-May-13 09:17:44

"I am hugely impressed by this and feel that it finally shows some measure of acceptance of his behaviour."

Whilst I wish you well and admire your optimism, always bear in mind that a controlling bully will do and say anything to keep their victim close and their dominant status in place. Apologies and self-recriminations, a course here, some lip-service there, even a temporary improvement in behaviour.... until they are happy the dust has settled and then they revert to type.

Stay very, very cynical...

MadameBlavatsky Fri 17-May-13 09:45:20

I would bet my house on this being a temporary state of affairs. It's having the desired effect though in making you stay isn't it? And it WILL be used against you when he shows his true colours again.

I really hope I am wrong. Men like that rarely change. Sorry to be so negative, I don't mean to piss on your chips. Just seen it many, many times before. sad

TisILeclerc Fri 17-May-13 12:42:04

On Thursday next week it will be 8m since I successfully managed to get my ex to leave. He has since completed a face to face Respect course. It has spectacularly failed to teach him the meaning of the word - which is my own opinion but also is shared by the course workers.

Like the others, I truly hope that it will work. However, I would hope for the best and expect the worst.

As someone else said upthread, he is willing to change now, he is being nice now - the cycle is just that. A big circle which keeps going round and round until something stops it. My ex is telling all and sundry that he has changed (he hasn't) but even if he had, I am not willing to re-enter that circle again.

Might I also suggest that you obtain a copy of Lundy Bancroft's book 'Why does he do that?' available from Amazon and also that you join the Emotional Abuse support thread on here. Living with an abuser skews your perception of everything. It might help to work through things in a clear way if you have more support.

Good luck. You may well need it.

cestlavielife Fri 17-May-13 15:14:29

i thought you were going to say ...and a year on everything is great...

but all you are impressed with is his promise to start an online programm...that is hardly impressive is it?

wait until he has done the course, then another six months down the line...then see how impressed you are.

sorry but you need to be cynical and not be so easily impressed by small promises to do xx or yyy.

until he has done them AND shown massive change - only then can you talk about things turning...

any kind of therapy/freedom course/etc - it is going to take months not a weekend. to see where you are at the other side of it. for both of you.

one promise does not a changed man make....

stick to your boundaries and decide what is acceptable behviur - any sign of anything on your list and you have to say - leave until you have done your courses/shown change...

"Control of money, house discipline, explosions of rage out of the blue etc. Control of my body, insults (disguised as "caring") silent treatment and other manipulative techniques. Oh and ranting, raving and lecturing"

right now - he can say "oh sorry but I AM doing the course you know! that chapter isnt until next week...."

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 17-May-13 16:00:30

From your description, he sounds truly horrible.

I hope he can have a personality transplant through doing the course. It would be an amazing and wonderful thing to read - if it worked.

Good luck. I'm glad you're staying cynical. Be prepared to end the relationship. Don't let him hurt you or control you any more. And don't let him deigning to do the course mean that he continues to have the upper hand.

This worries me a bit from your OP:

Much of what is on this relationships board is negative about marriages. I am hoping to show that it can get better.

It's often negative on this board because posters have found a space to tell the truth about the very real negative things that are happening to them. Is not just a bad thing. It's a positive first step - acknowledging the negative. Be prepared to continue to acknowledge the negative stuff going on - this isn't about you being positive - it's about him changing practically all of his behaviours.

Really hope it works out for you.

Boomba Fri 17-May-13 18:24:48

Much of what is on this relationships board is negative about marriages. I am hoping to show that it can get better

please dont do this

you are wrong; what is on these boards, is what is negative about abusive relationships, not marriage

and it rarely 'gets better'

PetalsonTheWind Fri 17-May-13 18:45:16

What Boomba said. I have always taken my marriage very seriously but unfortunately it turns out my H has not. I held a positive view of relationships and marriage despite experiencing my own parents' toxic relationship and only recently realising my H is an abuser. I still believe there are lovely, kind hearted men out there and happy marriages. My H and my marriage are not either of them.

My H promised to do Respect (but cancelled the course because it was "too far") and actually I doubt it would change him anyway. Coming here and be able to finally say all the things I have been holding in for years has been a hugely positive experience for me. To finally not feel so ashamed that I had to keep it all inside has been like being set free. I am determined that my relationship will end and I have started to see myself in a whole new way - a positive way rather than a hateful way!

I sincerely do wish you the best but bare in mind how abusive partners will do ANYTHING to retain control.

Good luck xxx

PetalsonTheWind Fri 17-May-13 18:52:22

Just to add in the introduction of the FP the author explains that she will only allow abusive men on the RL course if the woman has completed the course first. I strongly suggest you follow this advice for the online course too. x

Hissy Fri 17-May-13 19:34:31

if you've read Why Does He Do That, you'll know what it takes for an abuser to change.

You 'supporting' him doing some course that YOU suggested isn't it.

I've seen the poster boy for a perp programme.

Minimisation, denial and blame. He was still an abuser, still had the same entitlement to hurt others, nothing's changed. HE was a dry-drunk in abuse terms.

Your h has to want to change. Its not your journey, you can't be involved.

Sariah Fri 17-May-13 20:42:50

I also believe people can change destructive abusive behavior and patterns. Myself and my dh both have up alcohol, cigarettes, hash about 8 years ago. We did this to improve the quality of our life together and for our 5 children. Our relationship is great in many ways but there was a cycle of abuse present in it. It went something like this. I would feel hurt by something he said or did. I wouldnt say anything for fear of a row. It would come out in the end anyway and he would get defensive, verbally abusive etc to avoid taking responsibility or to allow me have my say. I would get upset and angry as he would avoid, stonewall, gas light etc...Then he would emotionally withdraw and I would go into panic mode until he came back and then we would make up, lick our wounds and carry on until the next time. I attend regular psychotherapy as I believe in working on myself and trying to overcome those beliefs and habits I have that are standing in the way of my happiness and my ability to be a good wife, mother, person. It came to a head in November last year. We had gone away for a couple of days and ended up having a row that was verbally and emotionally abusive. I issued dh with an ultimatum either sort out his shit or I was leaving him. He got himself a counsellor and attended for a few months but I felt he wasnt really engaging fully with the process. We ended up having another row and I left. I stayed with a friend for 2 nights and then we swapped and he stayed with the friend while I went back to the kids. I realised fairly quickly that I didnt want to end my marriage but I wasnt prepared to stay in it the way it was. We agreed to go to a marriage counsellor and also continue with our own personal therapy. We have attended about 6 sessions and the counsellor is very good and also very postive about our future and our relationship. He is engaging with the programme. I know he is because now when I tell him I want to talk about something he has started hearing me and listening to me and how I am feeling and what I am saying. Our relationship has not perfected over night and I see the therapy as a long term thing that we can perhaps taper off but keep active even once a month until we have learned new coping strategies. My dh can be emotionally abusive but the main reason he is is because he leaves himself he detaches and this is something he has done since childhood. He is starting to understand this and also starting to understand the effect it has on me and so is really trying not to do it. I find we are resolving things much better and have a better awareness of how our behavior affects each other. I know there will be bumps and I know there will be times where he will hurt me but I have decided it worth seeing it through..We may never be able to overcome this side of our relationship but I believe both of us want to and that people can and do change.

Sariah Fri 17-May-13 20:43:28

*gave up

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Fri 17-May-13 21:18:48

I felt I could write a similar post about six weeks ago, OP. My H has been EA throughout our 12-year marriage and I ended it this year - which lasted for three weeks. I took him back and thought he sounded like he'd really changed. I didn't know how I could relate what was happening to me with what I read constantly on MN.

I think it's a great idea to post on here about what happens now, as long as you are strong enough to read and think about the more negative posts like those that have already been posted. I'll stick around; looking forward to updates.

writergal Mon 20-May-13 09:34:38

thank you for all your sobering responses. don't worry I am taking everything with a pinch of salt right now and a hefty dose of realism. it is good to hear of at least a couple of people who have had some success with abuse programs and hopefully I will be one of those - however right now I feel a little disillusioned (didn't take long...)

My H is yet to make a start on the course (as far as I know). I really didn't want to do any more than just point him in the right direction and I am expecting him to just get on with it himself. So we will see.

However I have been told that he thinks it is a great idea that I am doing it because it will help me to get over past relationship problems. he seemed to gloss over the current ones. I may have made the mistake of telling him that not all of the FP is relevant to us and perhaps he thinks it is just for him to support me.

I have had a few issues with anxiety this weekend. Sundays are always bad because he just always seems distant, irritated and generally in a mood on a Sunday. I was pushed a little bit (not literally) on issues such as my weight loss (I lost four stone a while back and struggle to keep it off. I am currently about 3-4 pounds over my target...), my earnings (I am self employed) and housework. All just minor comments, but I can't help but feel enormous amounts of pressure.

So nothing to report just yet. I can say he is trying hard to keep his tone even and light (even if his eyes and face say something else) and he is clearly not saying some of the things he would like to. he is holding his tongue. I am being my usual compliant self. I really need to change that.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 09:40:07

The way you are living sounds horrible, OP

I feel very sorry for you. To see the contempt in his eyes and know the commentary even if he doesn't verbalise it must be battering your self esteem.

You are compliant because you fear his response if you are not.

This is not a good relationship, this is a controlling one. You are second guessing yourself and micro-managing your own behaviour in tune with his.

Do you think it a good sign that he is simply pretending to be a good person at the moment, and that if you put one foot wrong it will all fall down like a house of cards ?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Mon 20-May-13 09:50:45

yy to keeping the tone light to hide the unchanged attitudes beneath! My H is also doing that, I feel. He doesn't understand how I can be unhappy when he is "doing nothing wrong." Of course, I'm not going to explain to him about the cycle of abuse...

LemonPeculiarJones Mon 20-May-13 10:00:58

It's not working, OP.

You know it isn't. And if this is him doing his best, having apparently had his moment of realisation - delaying doing the course and suggesting actually it's really your problem - then it will just go downhill from here sad

Please start thinking about building a life away from him. If he suddenly becomes angelic, then fine, you don't have to put those plans in place.

But somehow I doubt it.

Good luck.

writergal Mon 20-May-13 11:30:36

I have certainly had my eyes opened over the last year and I think it has terrified him. All that I put up with for years is now very apparent to me. I still wonder why it took him so long to see the damage he was doing - why did i have to point it out.

I do have plans - not set in stone. I have told him that I am not packing my bags - yet. But he knows it is on the cards.

What I don't understand is why it takes that kind of wake up call to make changes. Why couldn't he see it before? I must have made it too easy.

Lemon - I can't give up just yet. I am wary, watching, taking it all in and seeing what positives there are. it may not be working right now - but I can't walk away without knowing we both did all we could.

I know he is expecting me to be all sweetness and light with him because he is being soooo nice. But I just don't feel it right now. Mostly I am just angry at the wasted years. I feel like I am dragging myself through mud.

Charlotte - yep there is a cycle alright. H say to me that my actions bring about the cycle - I am the one who starts the nasty phase because I can't see the good in him. he also thinks i have a cycle because of my monthly moodiness. truthfully, I am irritable around my period, but I recognise it. I asked him what his excuse was and he had no answer.

One incident worth recounting: we went out for a meal together last week. After a lovely morning walk. we were getting on, talking etc. he took exception to something a waitress did. I explained to him that he misunderstood what she meant. he said something like "well that how i understood it" I said "Well it isn't how I saw it".

Cue the silent, staring off into space attitude. I asked did i say something wrong and he said " I didn't appreciate your last comment - how would you feel if I said that to you". he objected to me having my own opinion...

I was just trying to prevent him from having a go at the poor waitress.

I apologised and he was back to normal - I wasn't.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Mon 20-May-13 11:41:52

It's all so unimportant to him, isn't it? There's a cycle... but it's your fault and anyway you do it too. You apologise and he's back to normal immediately. He expects it to be "sweetness and light" because he's being nice at this precise moment.

You say you wonder why it took so much for him to see the damage he was doing - but do you really think he is seeing it?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-May-13 12:19:08


What did you learn about relationships when growing up?. Was your parents marriage similar to what yours is now?.

This apparent mindset:-
"I can't walk away without knowing we both did all we could" is damaging to you and keeps you within this dysfunction even longer. Where is "both" in this?. What has he actually done to repair this - zero sum, not that this can be repaired anyway. He still though wants you on that string he yanks at his leisure and he won't let go of you easily.

This is clearly not working and staying within this just damages you further thus taking you more time to recover from same (and that process can take years).

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 12:27:54

What is your line in the sand ?

have you communicated that, or even worked it out for yourself ?

this all sounds very vague, and him expecting you to be sweetness and light in the face of his Mr Nice (when you can see Mr Nasty still lurking underneath) is all a complete piss take

you will drift along, watching and waiting for what exactly ?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 20-May-13 12:30:19

"I still wonder why it took him so long to see the damage he was doing - why did i have to point it out."

Because bullies are solely motivated by getting what they want. If there's any 'damage' caused as a result this is quite irrelevant. The ends justifies the means.

The waitress incident is significant. He definitely takes the view that if you're not with him you're against him. Other opinions are not allowed. Imagine how useless the Freedom Programme is going to be with someone who does not acknowledge that there may any other perspective than their own.

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