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The past won't go away,and I think I need help

(43 Posts)
sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 15:57:33

I have n/c for this and am putting it in here because it is about an abusive relationship, and a lot of what I have read on MN has helped me see my own situation in a new light. I have written and deleted this a few times now, and I have never managed to finally post it, so we'll see. It's long, but please read: I would really value any advice

From my mid teens onwards, I was in a relationship which I now know to be emotionally abusive at the very least. It lasted 8 years and I had an unplanned pregnancy which resulted in my lovely DS.

My ex was a horrible, manipulative person, some years older than me. He ground me down into nothing. I was only a young girl, and he destroyed me. I look back at my teenage self, and I want to cry. I want to take that girl, give her a hot water bottle and tuck her into bed and keep her safe. I was a bright, loving, naive, trusting, talented kid with a variety of interests and passions. He slowly but surely stripped away everything I loved, until I had nothing.

For instance: I loved a certain sport, and played it all the time. After a while, I gave it up, because he told me that it was a 'game for dykes', that only 'ugly girls with fat legs' wanted to play a game like that. When i was at practice, he would constantly phone me, then when I phoned back, he'd yell and scream at me for not answering. If I went out with friends, he would phone and text constantly,telling me I was a slut, that I shouldn't be going out when I had a boyfriend.

He told me my friends were sluts, that they were bad influences on me (though I later found out he constantly asked them to shag him all throughout our relationship) He told me the music I listened to and the books I read were shit, if I so much as lifted a book he threw a tantrum because I wasn't paying attention to him. His idea of spending time together was for him to play computer games, while I sat on a chair beside him, watching him play, and giving him handjobs when he demanded. This went on for hours, if I was tired and suggested doing something else he would go mad.

I was terrified of him being angry with me. I was a brave, confident girl, but not by the time he was finished.

I find it hard to say this, but I think he raped me. I think it would count as rape, at least. He would use sex as both a punishment and a bribe. He told me that if I wanted to do something, eg, go for a coffee with a friend instead of staying in and watching him play on the PC, I would have to 'earn' it by doing what he wanted sexually. He also forced me into anal sex frequently, on a few occasions in public places- it hurt. He also had sex with me at night- this is why I don't know if it was rape, he would just do it without asking, I would wake up with him on top of me. The sex was often very violent and very humiliating

Once we were at his friend's house for a party- we were the first to arrive and the friend left us to watch TV while he was in the kitchen. My ex made me give him oral sex in the middle of the room, and when the friend came in, he would not let me stop, but made me do it while the friend watched.He came on my face and thought it was hilarious. The friend then informed everybody of what a 'horny slut' I was. I then, of course, got a reputation I didn't deserve, as my ex liked to tell everybody in our small town about all the things I 'let him' do to me- i was the source of much laughter in the local pubs apparently, pubs where elderly members of my family had to sit and listen about how I loved sucking my ex's dick after he did me up the ass. To this day I have only ever slept with two men.

I think he wanted me to get pregnant, about 5 years into our relationship. He refused to wear a condom and he wouldn't let me take the pill incase it made me 'fat'- yet I couldn't get out of having sex with him. I was a stupid, stupid girl, but he had my head twisted- I came from a safe,loving, protective environment-I was no match for his level of abuse and manipulation.

So I got pregnant, and he did things to me which I have never told a soul, and which I don't think I will ever be able to- I can't even write it. I can't even go there.

When my DS was 3, I left. He was getting bored with me I think- he was trying to persuade me to have threesomes and he was less careful about hiding his cheating. I don't know where I found the strength to leave. My close family and what few friends I had left, had been worried sick about me for years- luckily I come from a close knit family, as he had tried to detach me from them, and if he had done that i would probably still be with him today. Anyway, they had always hated my ex. It was like one day, what they were saying sunk in. I grew up a bit, I was a parent myself- all of a sudden I saw that the relationship was not normal.

When I left him, I was strong. I moved away with my son and I went back to finish my education (which of course he had sabotaged). i was proud of myself: i had survived

Here is my problem now

I am now very happily married to a kind,caring and gentle man, who is the opposite of my ex in every way. I love him to death, and we are so happy together. I have friends, a social life, a nice home. My life is pretty much perfect. I am safe, happy, loved, content.

And yet...and yet...this past few months, I feel as though I am breaking down. I don't want to leave the house, i don't want to do anything, I just want to hide and cry and rage at the man who destroyed me.

I am grieving for the woman I could have been, but I am also incredibly bitter at my ex. I found out a while ago that he is married with children- he has not seen my DS for years. They have a villa in Spain, apparently, and are wealthy. It transpires that my ex told everybody I used to know (we lived in a small area) that I was a psycho, that I wouldn't let him see his son, that I am a liar and that I got pregnant deliberately, that i am a shit mother and SS should be involved.

He is still destroying me even now- he is still saying this things, and colouring who I am. The bitterness and anger is overwhelming me. I can't cope with it. I didn't feel this bad even after we broke up. I have fixed my life and I am happy- why is this all coming up now? I want it to go away. i want to forget about him, but it is rotting me from the inside.

I feel as if he destroyed my life. What did i do to deserve his treatment? Why is he not suffering? People still think I am some crazy, slutty bitch.

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 15:58:01

sorry posted too soon....I just want peace.

dreamsdreamsgoaway Tue 08-Oct-13 16:06:09

God, that sounds absolutely horrendous. You poor thing.

For a start, even though it's easier said than done, who gives a FUCK what your ex thinks? He sounds like the lowest thing on the planet, his opinion is irrelevant.

Second, I think you need a lot of counselling and possibly therapy. I started a similar thread (although what happened with me was nowhere NEAR what you went through). I got really good advice but the main point was to get some kind of professional help.

gamerchick Tue 08-Oct-13 16:08:55

You poor thing sad sometimes past pain has a habit of coming to the surface to be dealt with when it's 'safe.' You were in survival mode for so long. I think maybe you'll have to address it, come to terms with it before moving on.

You've made a step by writing it all down here.. could you maybe show your husband so he can support you?

hellsbellsmelons Tue 08-Oct-13 16:16:21

It sounds like it could be depression and anxiety and maybe even PTSD! Yes seriously.
You need to get to your GP and seek some help.
Therapy, counselling, CBT and maybe even antiD's????
You cannot keep it bottled up - you will implode!
YOU have NOTHING to feel ashamed of. HE did all of this to YOU!
Maybe Womens Aid can help to point in the right direction too.
Take any help you get right now. You need some support so go get it!

What you have described is more than most people could even contemplate putting up with.
You did so well to get out and start a new life for you and your DS.
Be very proud of that.

Make that GP appointment and start to mend yourself.
I do just wanna (((((((((HUG))))))))) you! sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 08-Oct-13 16:20:08

I'm so sorry you had to endure that experience. If you're in any doubt, just from the description it was highly abusive and you were definitely raped. Any sexual activity that you do not consent to is an assault. He didn't destroy your life because you're still there, a survivor, a good mother, a strong person and in a healthy relationship. You're the better person and always were.

Having said that I think you're probably experiencing a form of PTSD. It's very common in the survivors of abusive treatment to suffer delayed reactions, often a long time after the events. There are several places you can get help with this. Rape Crisis are excellent and really know how to counsel women in your situation. There is a 'Freedom Programme' that you might want to look into as another idea. Your GP may be able to help.

You could also, of course, report him to the police - I would say, just from your description, that he's a serious and probably serial sexual offender. If he treated you that way and propositioned your friends, there will be others. As recent cases involving celebrities have shown, there's no time limit on prosecution.

Good luck

MatildaWhispers Tue 08-Oct-13 17:05:37

You sound like you desperately need professional help. Rape Crisis will be able to help you x

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 17:47:32

I think I do need that sort of help. The problem is, I just can't envisage taking that step. I know he was abusive, I know he was sexually abusive, but I just can't get past this stupid mental block in my head that says I'm not deserving of the help given to 'real' rape victims, girls who didn't stay with their rapists for eight fucking years and cook him his dinner every night.

I blame myself because I could have walked away. I could have walked out that door and gone back to my parents, and said 'fuck you'. Well, that's what I did do,eventually, but eight years? Why?

I automatically minimise everything. oh it's ok, I can cope, it was nothing, just forget about it. My first post isn't even the half of it- every word is true, and if anything I downplay it. I 'know' what happened was wrong and not my fault, but I can't accept it. I can't accept that it wasn't my fault.

That's interesting about PTSD. I would never have thought it would apply, but it does feel a bit like that.

MY DH knows what I'm going through- he has taken on most of the housework and childcare on top of his job (I'm a SAHM) so I can basically lie in bed and cry and rage most of the day.

I has started to apply for a postgrad that would enable me to find a job in my chosen field- it's something that has been my dream for a long time, and this year I thought I would be moving forward with that- but I've just ground to a complete halt. I feel like I'm letting my family down

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 18:16:49

I've just read the troll thread in Chat and now I'm worried that people will read this and think I'm a troll sad I'm really not, and I do have a good RL support system, I am just not at the point where I feel comfortable talking about all of this to people I know

Whatnext074 Tue 08-Oct-13 18:26:26

I am so sorry for what you've been through.

PTSD can often happen while your life is as you put it 'perfect'. You feel safe and loved and then bam, the past comes back. While you were going through this awful time, you found the strength to leave, to create a better life for you and your DS and were driven and determined to do what you needed to know. You probably detached yourself from the awful memories and coped by pretending it happened to somebody else because you are somebody else now, you are an independent, smart individual who has made good choices and had the strength to leave that abusive relationship. It's a protective mechanism we have as humans to almost detach from the person you were when you were abused.

Now that you have achieved that, you have time to think like, "oh my days, I can't believe this happened", and he is still trying to control you from a distance - - - and at the moment, he is succeeding! How dare he! Don't let him do it.

Who are these people who are telling you what he is saying? What good is that doing for you? Can you cut those people out of your life?

Vivacia Tue 08-Oct-13 18:27:45

I agree with gamerchick that you are now in a safe place, safe enough to deal with what happened.

I know it seems a big step, but I think you've already made a start by writing about it here. How about getting a doctor's appointment tomorrow to look in to getting therapy?

clam Tue 08-Oct-13 18:34:17

I think that this is one of the saddest threads I've ever read on here. I could cry, and am thinking what I would do if my dd ever ended up in the sort of relationship you describe and had her personality stripped down, as you feel you had.
I think I might have committed murder on the scumbag responsible.

Please get some counselling for yourself.

TheWildOnes Tue 08-Oct-13 18:43:31

I actually can't believe I have just read this thread on here this is almost identical to my past, I can't believe how much is similar. I have been wanting to post about this for so long but couldn't find the words.

I feel completely the way you do right now op, so I'm so sorry for what you have been through and hopefully will get some helpful advice on this thread.

Sorry to post without actually giving you advice, but I am actually shocked how similar our stories are! xx

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 18:44:13

I think the 'feeling safe' thing is spot on. For a long time after leaving ex, i was in 'fighting' mode, onwards and upwards, getting my house sorted, getting my education sorted, getting my life sorted- there was always something to do that was external, but now the dust has very much settled, and it's all internal, and I can't cope with it

I found out what ex has been saying because my friend has a new colleague, and it tuns out this colleague knows the ex's wife. My friend has a photo on her desk, of us both straight after doing a charity run, and the colleague recognised me because the ex and his wife once had a party, at which he showed round a picture of DS and I, the gist of it being 'this is my beautiful son, and this is the EVIL BITCH who has kept him away from me'

I'm waiting on some bloods back from the doctors anyway, so when i phone up to get those I will try to work up the courage to ask for an appointment. It makes me stomach sink just thinking of it though. I think I would prefer to go via rape crisis/women's aid though, if there is any in my area.

I don't even know anything about counselling. Do you pay? Is it easy to get?

Whatnext074 Tue 08-Oct-13 18:52:08

Your GP can refer you under the NHS for counselling, it's free but there may be a waiting list depending on where you live and how urgent your GP thinks an appointment is for you.

I'd tell your friend in the nicest possible way that you don't want to hear any more about what some colleague knows about so and so. I would also like to think your friend stood up for you when the colleague relayed the thing your abuser said. You don't need to hear anymore, if they are a friend, they will understand.

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 18:54:34

I really do feel as if I am in mourning for who I was and who i could have been. My whole life, from a very young age, has been coloured by what this man did to me. I didn't get to have a free and easy youth, I was too busy trying to hold it together so I could be a good mother.

It just rubs salt into the wound, that he has got away scot free, and I am still suffering. I was only a kid, and I've always tried my best to be a good eprson and do the right thing. I've never hurt anybody in my life.

sadowlbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 18:57:57

My friend did stand up for me- we've had this conversation before actually, because although I do not live in the same town, the outlying areas/towns of where I live are still very small and close knit, and you do tend to bump into people- friend has one of those jobs where everyone comes through, and at one point thought she was going to be working with my ex-BIL- she discussed it with me at the time and I said she could say what she wanted because I just don't care. She told this new colleague that my ex was full of bullshit and that he was a manipulative arsehole and colleague said she wasn't fussed on him anyway.

elsabel Tue 08-Oct-13 19:15:17

Cant offer any better advice than what youve already had but couldnt read and run. You poor love. Please get help for yourself, you deserve it.

bigstrongmama Tue 08-Oct-13 22:57:50

So sorry this happened to you. And it did happen to you, it wasn't your fault. If you feel you would be wasting resources by going to rape crisis, you could find a private counsellor through the bacp who specialises in sexual abuse. They aren't always expensive, and are easier to rebook with as you can contact them directly.

I hope you find the courage to access counselling. You sound like a courageous woman to me. I think you could be amazed by how settled your mind can feel after working through everything - I was. It was very much worth doing, though terrifying at the time.

marriednotdead Tue 08-Oct-13 23:24:34

So sorry and angry to read your story, and to know that you have been made to feel so worthless that you might feel a fraud for seeking help sadangry

I totally agree with those who have said that it's only surfacing now that it's safe. I went through years of crap but it didn't hit me until I was happy and settled. I cried inexplicably for weeks, my GP referred me for counselling, and I slowly and painfully unpicked it there and eventually came to terms with it all.

Please seek help from a counsellor for yourself. You deserve it flowers

marimeifod Tue 08-Oct-13 23:37:56

Agree with all the above posters, what an absolute hero you are to have found the strength and courage to leave and start again despite the disgraceful abuse your ex inflicted. What a total, diabolical cunt. I agree as well with those saying you DO deserve every ounce of support you should now allow yourself to have. While a really good avenue is to start with your GP, I would personally suggest either your local Rape Crisis centre or your local Women's Aid. You would NOT be wasting resources, people who are in your circumstances are EXACTLY who they are there to help. You are obviously very perceptive and reflective and able to understand the emotions you are currently going through as a grief reaction. I would recommend you do some more reading about grief and loss to help you through this stage and to understand that healing will come along in time.
Stay strong and live well. x

CailinDana Tue 08-Oct-13 23:49:37

Horrible as it all is, you need to process it. As you recognise you've been in fight mode for so long that your brain has kept it all at bay but now the fight is over (and you've won, very impressively) your mind is revisiting what's happened. Normally your brain does that after an emergency situation. Your brain's first priority is to get you to safety, which it has done, and the second thing is to replay the emergency so as to avoid that danger in the future. The logical part of your brain tries to find reasons and assign blame which in a typical emergency makes sense as you learn from it eg the candle caused the fire therefore I mustn't light candles again. But in your situation your brain can't process what happened or find reasons for it. The fact is he was an evil man and he tortured you for years. There was no reason for that, at least, no reason you were responsible for.
You need to talk through what happened, bring it all out of the shadows because that decreases the power it has over you.

Would it help you to write more about it here?

OxfordBags Tue 08-Oct-13 23:54:31

Firstl, get all this nonsense about 'real' rape victims out of your head: I was raped once, and believe me, appalling as that was, I would choose that any day over what you went through for so long. Such long-term sexual abuse is about as 'real' as it gets, rape-wise. No professional you see will think your suffering is, or was, less, your rape and abuse less, because you stayed with him. For a start, the majority of all sex crimes are committed by mem know to the victims, usually a partner or husband.

Furthermore, they will understand the logistics of an abusive relationship. How it traps you, nrainwashes you, erodes you, makes you believe black is white, makes you blame yourself, makes you feel responsible. Most abuse victims suffer Stockholm Syndrome, and something calle the Panopticon Effect, which is where, if you are treated badly enough for long enough, then you will become self-regulating by following the 'rules' about behaviour and beliefs about yourself that the perpetrator lays down (the original model for this was a prison). Abuse is a form of extreme institutionalisation. The worse itgets, the more likely people are to stay in it. No-one will think it wasn't that bad, or you secretly liked it, or you deserved it, because you stayed with him. No, in fact, hearing even a fraction of what you have so bravely shared with us will have them feeling like standing and applauding you for actually having ever broken ties with him. The statistics for women leaving abuse as extreme as yours are incredibly, depressingly low.

This will not go away without therapy. You know that. It might seem scary, but you have already suffered things the rest of us can barely imagine, and don't want to; no amount of talking could even come close to being that bad.

If youare serious about not wanting him to get away with what he did - and I can't blame you - then you can still report him to the police. There is a statute of limitations, but I think you are still within it. Believe me, they will take what he did to you very seriously. What you described is not 'just' abuse, it was sociopathic, even psychopathic abuse. He sounds a true danger to women,and he needs urgent help, never mind being locked up.

My heart goes out to you. You have a difficult joirney ahead, but it does not have to be forever if you reach out and get the help that you deserve and which can genuinely help you.

MatildaWhispers Wed 09-Oct-13 00:23:28

I would recommend the counselling through Rape Crisis, as it can be long term. There is a sliding scale of fees and they discuss with you what you can afford to pay. My understanding is that most of what the NHS offers is short term (6-8 weeks), and given what you have been through and the need to build up a rapport with the counsellor before you can even begin to talk about it all properly I don't know how useful that would be. Women's Aid may be helpful in some areas, but my local one does not have specialist sexual abuse therapists and so they refer women on to RC anyway.

Although it is called 'Rape Crisis' do not let the name put you off contacting them. Everything that you have been through more than qualifies you to speak to them. Even if you do not want or are not ready to call it rape for whatever reasons they will support you. You are deserving of the support and having stayed with him for the length of time that you did makes no difference. A counsellor experienced in abuse will understand this. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you understand it is not your fault but you cannot accept that it is not your fault. Therapy will help you work towards being able to accept it and move on with your new life.

Orchidlady Wed 09-Oct-13 10:58:07

OP I am not as eloquent as some posters but wanted to say your post made me terribly sad. For what it's worth I can identify with a lot of what you talk about as I went through something similar in my teens early/20's. I am getting on old bird now but I still sometimes mourn ruining what should have been the best time of my life, and I still feel angry with myself sometimes for letting it happen. Like you I finally had the courage to leave and have lived a interesting life. I have tried counselling and hypnotherapy ( to cure panic attacks) and I strongly recommend you give it a try. On a positive note like you life is great now. So please get help now, you deserve it. These ideas that people think you are a "crazy, sluttiy bitch" are all in your mind and getting therapy will help you see that. I think you have taken a huge brave step by posting and hopefully this will be the beginning of the road to recovery.

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