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Support for those in Emotionally Abusive relationships: 23

(1000 Posts)
CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 12-Jun-13 23:32:03

Am I being abused?

Verbal Abuse A wonderfully non-hysterical summary. If you're unsure, read the whole page and see if you're on it.
Emotional abuse from the same site as above
Emotional abuse a more heartfelt description
A check list Use this site for some concise diagnostic lists and support
Signs of Abuse & Control Useful check list
Why financial abuse is domestic violence Are you a free ride for a cocklodger, or supposed to act grateful for every penny you get for running the home?
Women's Aid: "What is Domestic Violence?" This is also, broadly, the Police definition.
Warning signs you?re dating a loser Exactly what it says on the tin

Books :

"Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft - The eye-opener. Read this if you read nothing else.
"The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans - He wants power OVER you and gets angry when you prove not to be the dream woman who lives only in his head.
"The Verbally Abusive Man, Can He Change?" by Patricia Evans - Answer: Perhaps - ONLY IF he recognises HIS issues, and if you can be arsed to work through it. She gives explicit guidelines.
"Men who hate women and the women who love them" by Susan Forward. The author is a psychotherapist who realised her own marriage was abusive, so she's invested in helping you understand yourself just as much as helping you understand your abusive partner.
"The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing" by Beverley Engels - The principle is sound, if your partner isn't basically an arse, or disordered.
"Codependent No More : How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself" by Melody Beattie - If you a rescuer, you're a co-dependent. It's a form of addiction! This book will help you.
But whatever you do, don't blame yourself for being Co-dependent!

Websites :

So, you're in love with a narcissist - Snarky, witty, angry, but also highly intelligent: very good for catharsis
Dr Irene's verbal abuse site - motherly advice to readers' write-ins from a caring psychotherapist; can be a pain to navigate but very validating stuff
Out of the fog - and now for the science bit! Clinical, dispassionate, and very informative website on the various forms of personality disorders and how they impact on family and intimate relationships.
Get your angries out - You may not realise it yet, but you ARE angry. Find out in what unhealthy ways your anger is expressing itself. It has probably led you to staying in an unhealthy relationship.
Melanie Tonia Evans is a woman who turned her recovery from abuse into a business. A little bit "woo" and product placement-tastic, but does contain a lot of useful articles.
Love fraud - another site by one woman burned by an abusive marriage
You are not crazy - one woman's experience. She actually has recordings of her and her abusive partner having an argument, so you can hear what verbal abuse sounds like. A pain to navigate, but well worth it.
Baggage reclaim - Part advice column, part blog on the many forms of shitty relationships.
Heart to heart a wealth of information and personal experiences drawn together in one place

What couples' therapy does for abusers

If you find that he really wants to change:
Should I Stay or Should I Go bonus materials This is a site containing material for men who want to change - please don’t give him the link - print out the content for him to work through.

The Bill of Rights
What you should expect as a starting point for your treatment in a relationship, as you will of course be treating others!!

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 22:30:38

Bounty your Xmas decorations with meaning aren't stupid, they're precious and probably more valuable to you than actual valuables. They signify hope and looking forward to a fw free Xmas this year by which time you will be spreading your wings! Sad about the lady at your mum's Church, but also great that she didn't live all her life with EA, that she will have a chance to blossom now.

I was having some pretty dark thoughts earlier - that this world is too horrible to live in - but of course it's not and I am feeling somewhat better now. I think the thought that I have lost the patience and support of one of my main rocks (can't say more as too identifying) has knocked me for six somewhat, but at the same time I am not going to get pulled under by it.

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 22:31:33

Good point, mink smile and good analogy with car crash.

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 22:34:02

sweetpea I am glad you made the decision to look for a second one, and that things seem to be going ok at the moment. But so sad that DS has been through horribleness from FW. How is DS at the moment? I am sorry I don't know much about your back story.

My current stance is that lawyers are necessary evils in most cases. The court itself have been very good and seen sense so far in my case and it is in them I hold my trust....
The lawyers have IMO used the child's right to a relationship with both parents to ensure more cases come to court and they get more clients.

On the divorce side it is different and to be fair to my sol. they deal mainly in divorce which deals with a lot more paperwork which she is very good at. I have no experience here though really as I was not married. Child welfare is a whole other ball game and it is not just about legal things in contact cases and I think that is where the problem lies with some lawyers. DV specialist lawyers are IMO rare but better at discussing things with cafcass for example. Oh how I wish I had known what I know now when this all started.

I wish we had read Lundy in english lit and instead of RE classes I wish we had done family law smile

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 22:42:18

bounty you have put that so clearly. yes to taking the Christmas things that mean something to you and No to being that poor old lady from your Mum's church. It is such a massive thing you are doing, no one would just do it and not feel pain and you still don't like just leaving that note because you are a very, very nice person.

breathe so glad you are feeling better after a good cry and have positivity on the financial front. Enjoy wine

bountyicecream Wed 19-Jun-13 22:49:48

breathe sorry to hear that you've lost a rock. Those that we depend on are so precious to us. sad for your sad thoughts. Yes this world is pretty horrible at some points. But then there are good times to be had as well. I think maybe we are living in a bit of a pit at the moment. we can see the light above us but sometimes it's hrad to imagine ever climbing out to it. But once we do then we will appreciate it all the more.

mink the car crash analogy makes perfect sense. Even if you escaped physically unharmed you would still be shaken and teary. Same in an EA relationship.

better I imagine that different lawyers will come with different levels of internal morals. A bit like a car garage. Some will encourage you to have work done you don't need and others are very much more honest with you. I'm sure there are some unscrupulous lawyers who would try to drum up more business sadly. I have been thinking that at some point (probably a long time away yet) when I feel really settled I would like to do something to try to encourage some discussion of EA in schools. I remember the usual sex education and perhaps a bit about physical violence but nothing about EA at all. I'd never even heard the term until about 18 months ago blush . It is a while since I left school but I really feel strongly that it is as important as the sex education and probably more important than RE which in my day was certainly viewed as a doss subject

minkembernard Wed 19-Jun-13 22:57:08

bounty I feel the same about there not being enough awareness about it. it is funny how it is rarely portrayed as well. DV yes but EA no and it is so common.

Verygentlydoesit Wed 19-Jun-13 23:00:02

bounty sending you huge hugs. Being terribly upset is absolutely natural. If you can, allow yourself to cry. It will subside eventually, I promise you.

As others further down the road than me have posted there will be moments of sadness ahead. I've felt overwhelmed by tears at some points, but I'm learning that it does subside each time- knowing this can help you to 'roll with it'.

Thank you all for your support yesterday. I've managed not to agree to talk to EXP, he's still asking to talk- I think I've made myself clear but he keeps letting me know the "ball is in my court" which just drags out my guilt and doubts. One day at a time.

Big hugs all round, I know this is Mumsnet but we need them.....

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:09:44

Good for you bounty already looking to make a positive out of your situation. Hope you get on ok tomorrow with the sol.

I don't think it is when they represent `our side' that they encourage you to have the extra work done, it is when they represent the other side and when they allow the other side to use the legal system to administer further abuse. There is a great line in Lundy which talks about - yes they have the right to legal representation but it does not mean the legal rep have the right to take every word they say as gospel.

The problem is, after we leave the sol. office the next person that comes in may be from the `other side' and so they can take both cases (obviously not against each other lol) they keep a middle ground - and we know what Lundy says about those to keep neutral.

The fact today they can represent a father convicted of DV and tomorrow a victim mother of DV concerns me.

sweetpeasunday Wed 19-Jun-13 23:11:29

I agree that different lawyers have different levels of morals, my dad had a friend who represented someone who was alleged to have pushed his wife off a cliff sad.

Am going to stop there, because otherwise I might join breathes view about the world being too dark a place to live in. Whereas, the thing I think there is from a book by Doris Lessing. She is writing in the Cold War about the threat of nuclear war (not sure this is more cheerful), but she writes even after a nuclear explosion, the grass would still find a way to come through, it would still grow. The point being, man may do horrible things, but the world itself is not a horrible place. The world itself is about hope and renewal. The 77 year old woman who left, imagine how she feels knowing that she could watch spring come in, actually breathing, being true to herself. She might never have had that.

bountyicecream Wed 19-Jun-13 23:11:56

mink I suppose on a soap or something EA would be quite dull because to be realisitic it would probably need to build up gradually over several years and then would take the victim another year to figure out what is worng and then another 18 months to actually get out. All the viewers would have nodded off ..... but for DV you can just have a massive row and fisticuffs and off you go. Drama and everything sad

very thanks for the hugs. I'm off to bed now. Just hoping I get some sleep.

FairyFi Wed 19-Jun-13 23:15:40

soothes Bounty .. take ddog, or teddy, or something to cuddle to bed tonight.. xxx

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:17:33

Evening very he will not be able to stand the silence. Every time you think of contacting him, imagine him looking at his phone, checking it is working, totally shocked you have not called. If you agree to talk, he will change the arrangement when it will be and the first time you suggest a date he will say he can't do it... just been reading back my diary to get some dates for court and been going through when I was pregnant and he kept wanting to talk but doing just that.
I feel for you so much, it is incredibly hard not to think, that if you talk it may all be ok and something could be worked out.

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:21:38

Well said sweatpea you really made me smile with the bit about it probably not being more cheerful smile.
Night bounty sleep well. A therapist once said to me, just before you go to sleep, pretend you are whatever you wish you were, where ever you wish you where, doing whatever you want to do - your mind does not know what is real and it will make you sleep better. I actually grew to like it (after it felt crazy for a while) and I went off to all kinds of places, doing al kinds of things and slept well.

Verygentlydoesit Wed 19-Jun-13 23:23:22

Oh my goodness. My own mother, (who wasn't terribly keen on EXP, just called me. I had apparently missed a call from her earlier and she wanted to check I was ok.

She said I should bear in mind that although EXP was far from perfect, at my time of life (mid/late 30s), it would be very hard to find anyone without issues. I so didn't need to hear that, not least because although I'm way off considering finding a new partner, that thought had crossed my mind.

I'm not absolutely sure that a life without ever having another partner (or a nice one) is preferable to not having EXP. I'm sorry, I know that is the wrong thing to admit. He has many faults, mostly revolving around major levels of selfishness, but I'm not quite able to feel he was abusive- so when I think about an uncertain future, I start worrying that I've done the wrong thing. I'm sorry if reading this is making anyone really annoyed, I know I should try not to think like this.

Verygentlydoesit Wed 19-Jun-13 23:29:24

better the last paragraph of your post at 23.17 is exactly what I am struggling with about the talking thing (sorry, am on phone so can't C&P).

Your thoughts on him wondering if his phone is broken because I've not been in touch are making me smile. He said he would let me know today whether he is able to see DS on Sunday, I am not chasing him up, I don't want to make contact. I'll stay flexible for Sunday, rather than call him.

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:31:37

I think it is good to think it all through very it is very natural. But what other people see/hear and you feel are different.

Everyone does have faults, I have a lot but if I am with a person I would want them to add to my life not spoil other bits. I have chosen to stay single for a number of reasons and being on my own does not worry me but I need to be able to relax and feel comfortable with someone. If they were annoying me not necessarily being abusive as only DS's dad has ever done that, I would not feel I was being fair to them staying as I would be complaining and not happy and that would make them not happy.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Wed 19-Jun-13 23:35:21

Very Just tell your mother that you're looking to upgrade your current partner's set of issues to someone that has better issues. grin

I had a bit of an interesting conversation today in which I realised why H is so much more cooperative and amenable now. He has everything he wants in life, really, freedom, no real responsibility, and small bits of contact with the DCs without the pressure of daily care of them. hmm So everything is going his way - he has no reason to be angry at the moment.

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:36:08

crossed posts...
I think that is a good idea Re: Sunday, I really do. Keep strong. The ball is was actually in his court and it is still there - he hasn't let you know. You may well talk to him at some point.. in fact you will do because you will see him at some point about DS but this time apart and for you to think, rant, chat to us chat to your mum is what you need. You will be calmer and more focussed on what you need to say when/if you do talk.

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 23:39:55

Sweetpea beautiful words smile

bounty sad though we feel today, your words also made me grin a bit about the soap opera scenario - they would have to put it on late at night to help the insomniacs!

betterthanever Wed 19-Jun-13 23:40:08

alice I like the upgrade remark. You may be right about H, how sad for him, how empty his life is. I would take caring for DC over having angry H around so you too have it good.. actually much, much better.
I had better get some sleep... now where should I go tonight lol

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 23:45:01

very sad re your dm's remarks, I am sorry. I'm sure she means well, but I feel that is a very old style and self limiting POV she has expressed, hope you don't mind my commenting? Alice I love your suggested response to those comments grin!

Verygentlydoesit Thu 20-Jun-13 00:02:44

I love this thread grin. Thank you so much, who would have thought I could find such wonderful support online! I am ever so grateful, one day when I'm more sorted I will pay it forward.

alice I love the upgrade idea, may well use it in future wink. I can empathise with your comments about H having the life he wants- EXP is out and about with his friends, playing sport, socialising, being free. I know we have the better deal (as bounty said), because we get to care for our precious DC, but it can feel like a bitter pill to swallow. I've seen on FB that EXP has spent the evening with friends, in a nice beer garden, am trying not to be too envious..... (very makes mental note not to look at FB before bed).

breathe of course I don't mind you commenting, you are absolutely right it is an old style POV.

Night all, I hope for a peaceful night all round. I'm taking a leaf out of bounty's book, going to think of somewhere lovely to drift off to.

better thank you for your support re. Sunday. It is frustrating not knowing what is happening, but I'm not making contact to chase him up about this. I just hope he lets me know eventually.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Thu 20-Jun-13 06:57:04

Very yes, I had the same experience here. H was talking about how he had found a new local that he pops into 1-2 times per week and has a drink and chats. hmm I can't even go to the toilet on my own, much less a pub in the evening! Obviously I'd rather have the dcs than go to the pub, but it's the unfairness of it all. He's living easy, no worries, no stress, no childcare worries, no school runs, and no having to be the "bad guy" at home that enforces the rules. (he doesn't even have to cook, clean, or do his laundry as he is living with MIL) Of course he's pleasant - he has everything he wanted, doesn't he? Hope he enjoys it. I'd rather have the dcs and the responsibility and chaos.

Funnyfishface Thu 20-Jun-13 08:46:47

Hi all just catching up on this thread it moves so fast.

Very - your emotions are perfectly normal. We have all been through and are going through the same. We all want nothing more for our h to be better versions of themselves.
We don't want any other man. We want them. Just not the people they have become. I know we all change. But we are not asking for something that we haven't had or seen in them before.
Peace, no dramas, harmony, no fw, understanding, encouragement, love, support....... It's not rocket science is it?
Things that our friends give us in bucket loads.
So when we see a glimmer of these qualities in them - in the midst of all this uncertainty - we have hope that they actually CAN be like that all the time. Then we doubt our actions with regards to splitting up. If only he could be like this all the time.

Alice - I too would rather have the Dc and chaos. Xx

I slept last night - I was absolutely exhausted. My friend wanted to discharge herself from hospital yesterday. Doctors told her it wasnt safe for her to leave. She has pneumonia and fluid on her lungs. I was supposed to take her home. I refused and begged her to stay. She hates me at the moment. I know when she is well she will see it was the right thing. But it was very upsetting seeing her so low.

sweetpeasunday Thu 20-Jun-13 10:12:43

>>We don't want any other man. We want them. Just not the people they have become. I know we all change. But we are not asking for something that we haven't had or seen in them before. <<

See, this is the thing, I think FW always had the qualities which made him a FW in the end, I just did not recognise them, or thought I could cope with them and it would be fine. But really, I was always bending to fit, I just did not recognise the extent to which I was doing it. The small incidents were there, right from the beginning, they just got worse. And it became so difficult that I think I have forgotten how it was ever okay sad. It makes me feel odd, in a way, because I have not cried, only once with sheer frustration and exhaustion during a long telephone conversation post-split which was a blame conversation. I really do not know what to think about it. I thought it would be okay, and it wasn't.

Otherwise, I think what Alice says is true, post dc2, I think he both wanted to be a good father to dc2, but found it really hard to give up his way of doing things, which meant an impossible situation. Whereas now, he can do things his way, but still be a good dad during contact time, and has the added bonus that he can blame me for the fact that he is not doing more (even though he did less when we were together). Does that make sense? Like I gave him an out? I'm going to wait a bit and see how things play out, but I'm tending towards that explanation, that I have given him an out, which suits him, but I get to be the bad guy.

FFF, just to say that you did the right thing by your friend, she will realise this when she feels stronger and realises exactly how ill she was (you know that feeling when you get better, and you think, oh, so this is what feeling okay is like!)

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