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abusive relationship I think - short term advice(75 Posts)
Hello. Long LONG time MNer under not so much of a name change as a whole new re-registration and writing from an internet cafe as worried about traceability on home laptop.
There will probably be drip feeding as the whole backstory is far too long and I just don't have the heart or strength to get it all down yet. But in short, I am looking for help/advice in the short term / day to day problems of being in a disfunctional (possibly abusive) relationship, whilst I try and find a way to take the big steps to make it all stop.
Together for 18 years, married for 12 years with 3 DC 9,7 and 4. Life has been miserable and at times much worse than miserable for the past 8 years. I have read a lot on MN and on the Women's Aid site about abusive partners and in my rational moments know that my H is abusive but for the most part, expect that my self esteem is probably quite low as I DO believe that it might be my fault. I don't consider myself to be a 'typical victim' and I know my friends would describe me as strong and confident. I fluctuate between feeling strong enough to get myself to an internet cafe to post here, and being paralysed with fear as to what will happen if I do X or speak to Y.
H had a very difficult childhool - lots of issues whcih he has never resolved. He is carrying a lot of pain and anger round with him. Over the years, I have become the recipient of most of his rage and now I see my DD especially starting to come in for it (she is loud and confident at the moment - all the things that females are NOT supposed to be)
We have always had a volatile relationship - I used to argue back when he lost his temper irrantionally, but over the years I have learned that it is easier to submit and be quiet. H doesn't hit me. But when he is angry, he throws thing at me, he has spat at me several times, he breaks stuff, he stands towering over me screaming in my face and jabbing his fingers into me. He has threatened to kill me and calls me extrememly abusive and offensive names in front of the children.
I KNOW this is all unacceptable. I know that and I know that I have failed as a mother to teach my children to have self worth and self respect and I am trying to find a way to leave. BUT things have ramped up over the past year. Something really tragic happened in my Hs family and this tipped him to a very dark place. I tried to be supportive in the begininning but he was so angry all the time that I started to try and detach instead. I was spending more time at work and talking to friends and not telling H when I was meeting up with friends as I knew he would try to stop me. When my H found out that I had met up with friends and shared confidences with one particular male friend, he assumed i must be physically cheating and even though I assured him I wasn't (and I never would), this has become like a ticket to unleash his rage and things have escalated to the point where I am not allowed to contact specific friends that i 'betrayed' him with (not true) and 'lied about seeing' (true).
I was due to meet one of my 'not allowed' friends this week and H has threatened me if I do.
This is exactly the kind of thing that leaves me paralysed with uncertainty because on one hand I don't want him to win but on the other, I want to keep the peace (as much as it can be) until I can find a way to leave.
Is there anyone who has been in this kind of relationship that could adivise on the short term strategies rather than the big picture? I want to write so muchg more but only have 5 mins left on this computer. For that reason, my answers may be sporadic as well but I would be grateful for any advice.
I'm so glad you posted here today. This type of stuff is better out than in - if you keep it to yourself, there's a tendency to go round and round in your own head and answers and clarity become impossible. So well done for sharing.
I come at this from 2 points of view - I have been in an abusive relationship myself and managed to get out, many years ago. I also had an emotionally abusive childhood which has left me with depression, anxiety, pretty poor self esteem and I can relate to what you said about your H carrying around a huge amount of pain and anger.
First POV - your relationship is most certainly abusive. From what you say, he threatens you and terrifies you when he doesn't get his way. That is totally unacceptable. You say he doesn't hit you but he has threatened to kill you. My ex used to do that, although he was physically violent too. I know how petrifying it is and how utterly powerless it can make you feel. So please trust your feelings here. There is no way this relationship can be making you feel good and there are very clear reasons for that. Your reading of the situation is correct. Please hold onto that. The other thing to say is that you most certainly don't have to put up with it. I think you're starting to realise that. I know that these things take time to get your head around and that it's not just as simple as pack your bags and you're done. So please keep posting - there are loads of people on here who have been through similar situations and you will get lots of support. I haven't contacted Women's Aid myself but many other posters say they are excellent, so bear that in mind as an option. They will not pressure or hassle you into anything.
Second POV - while I sympathise with your H's feelings, they are his feelings to manage. He has no right whatsoever to take them out on you or to punish you or scare you to make himself feel better. You are not responsible for fixing him or making his life better. Personally speaking, I know there are still some times when my DP gets the brunt of my anger that is really meant for someone else. I am working very hard on this in therapy because I do not want to repeat my parents' behaviour and I do not want to hurt DP. If I thought I had scared him or bullied him, I would be mortified. This is not something you have to put up with. He needs to take responsibility for what is going on with him.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. Living with this level of control is soul-destroying. Please do keep posting and take care of yourself.
I hope you're still there alabahma.
Have a look see over the Emotional Abusive relationships. There's loads of links there and contact agencies to start thinking how to extricate yourself out of you abusive relationship.
Sorry, gotta run. I may be back later.
It sounds like you have decided to leave, and this would clearly be best for you and your DCs - you are right, this is very abusive. I'm not sure what short term strategies you are looking for, what you need is to get out, and quickly. Have you thought about contacting Women's Aid if it is practicalities which are stopping you? Or looking into legal advice? Trying to isolate you is a very bad sign, you need to hang into your RL support. Are there any friends who would put you up for a while?
Just to confirm your feelings, he is abusive and dangerous and you need to leave asap.
For now try to appease him as much as possible without putting yourself in danger or cutting off your support. The period around leaving is a dangerous time and as you have already seen he is likely to ramp up the abuse even further if he senses he is losing control of you. Contact Women's Aid - they will advise you on how to get out swiftly.
When do you see yourself being able to leave?
I think in the short term you need to get out as soon as possible. Death threats and threats of violence of any kind are not acceptable and whether you think he is capable of it or not, you need to get out.
I would try and refrain from being seen with 'forbidden friends' if you think he is likely to hurt you.
You may be best to contact Womens Aid for proper advice, but take it from me you do not want to be around this man for any longer than is necessary.
I really hope you find the strength you need to do what you feel is right in your heart. He doesnt deserve you and you certainly deserve better.
I'm sorry you're having to live this way. The best short-term strategy - although I know this isn't what you want to hear - is biting the bullet, asking WA for refuge, getting away and then taking it from there. Once you are properly out of his influence your confidence has chance of recovering. Wait to feel confident enough to leave and the risk is that you'll remain paralysed with fear and nothing will happen. Think less in terms of who wins and who loses and more in terms of staying safe. In the meantime I'd suggest that you try to act as normally as possible since aggressive bullies can become extremely dangerous when they believe the game is up.
BTW... his dark past and childhood issues in no way give him the right to abuse anyone, least of all you. I'm glad you've realised that but keep reminding yourself. IME people who blame bad childhoods for abusing their partner in an 'I can't help myself, it's who I am' manner are full of hot air.
I can only echo what other posters have said: this is abuse, it's dangerous, it has escalated, and you need to leave as soon as possible. Just because you've been together 18 years and he hasn't put you in hospital yet doesn't mean he won't.
One detail that jumps out at me is the fact that your DD is now coming in for his rage. That's a terrible thing for a child to experience, and even if you feel that you can cope with his abuse, please, please consider your daughter's wellbeing. You are the only person who can protect her.
Hello OP, I am sorry you are living in such a horribly abusive and frightening situation. It sounds as though his behaviour is becoming increasingly threatening and controlling - it is not going to get any better - and therefore the only way of keeping yourself and your children safe is to get away from him. Please do not think that things will improve, so take action before he turns against your children - they will already be aware of the way he is treating you, and witnessing your daily humiliation is not doing them any good.
You are paralysed with uncertainty about meeting your friend because your fear is talking - as it needs to.
It's telling you you must prioritise your safety over 'who wins'. So please keep listening to your instincts, they will keep you safe as you take the next steps.
It's true that this is abuse, as the others confirm. You do need to get out. It doesn't matter what kind of childhood he had. It doesn't matter whether he's actually hit you yet. It doesn't matter whether you see yourself as a typical victim. You still need to make tracks out of there.
Your short term strategy should be along the lines of 1) safety first. Don't make a stand, keep your head down, act normally. 2) start to gather important documents together and keep them safe, perhaps at another location 3) phone or email women's aid.
Thanks for all your replies. This is the first chance I have had to come back on here since I last posted. It's so hard.
H is still at home but talking about moving out in the short term. This should make me feel relieved (and does to an extent) But he insists however, that as his wife, I still have to play by his rules: Distance myself from the friendships that he now considers 'sullied' and also not work with the people he believes have 'encouraged me to behave like a disrespectful idiot'. I am a strong, reasonably bright/educated, grown up woman and yet I am at a loss to see how I am ever going to be able to live the life I want to under the constant fear of him checking up on me and there being consequences to me not doing as I'm told. I can't believe I'm in this situation. I would have laughed in your face if you'd suggested that this would be my fate a few years ago.
How on earth to I look to any kind of future when no matter what I do, I will be treading on eggshells and not able to be myself. At the moment, I feel utterly, completely dead inside. The most awful thing is that my beautiful DC can't even pull me out of it. I am gonig through the motions and doing the bare essentials with a fixed smile on my face but inside I am dying and crying for every day that passes lviing in this horrible limbo.
H continues to fluctuate between raging verbal abuse and quiet, almost sinister, pleasantness. We have had quiet pleasantness for a few days now and I am worried that it is leading to something much worse. I might be wrong, but I no longer have good perspective. I might be making a mountain out of a molehill (a monster out of someone who isn't one) I just don't know anymore.
All I know is that I cannot envisage a scenario where I feel happy ever again. I understand now why people choose to run away/end lives. It's because sometimes, it's not a case of leaving/starting again. Sometimes those are not options that you have.
I am not going to do anything dramatic (in case anyone was worried) - just saying I understand how people get to the point where they feel that there is no other option left. It's shit and soul destroying.
Sorry I am rambling, but it's been so long since I have been able to get any of this off my chest.
I miss my friends. I miss being me. I miss getting joy from my children. I don't know what to do.
Just to add that I should be able to respond a little quicker this time, but any wise words are gratefully received.
You have options. Please call Womens Aid and ask for refuge for yourself and your children. 0808 2000 247. You will not have to tread on eggshells any more when you are out of his environment. You have options. At the moment he is talking about moving out in the short-term but the likelihood is that it won't happen. Even if he does live somewhere else it's clear that his intention would be that he's not about to let a little thing like geography stop him from abusing, controlling and bullying you.
So please get outside help urgently. There are agencies and people that want to help you and your children to be happy again... well away from this man that can do nothing but hate.
You have options.
I doubt very much he will move out; he likes being there so he can continue to abuse you. Such men do not let go of their victims (note the plural here because your children are also being profoundly affected here by their dad's abuse of their mum) easily.
This is about power and control and always has been. That lies at the rotten core of abuse; he wants absolute power and control over you.
Better to be alone than to be so badly accompanied; you'd at least be safe in a refuge. You are not safe within your warzone of a home.
BTW people like him like supposedly strong women like you (I write supposedly because such types can and do find chinks in the armour to exploit) so they can break them down systematically piece by piece. This man hates women, all of them. He is a very dangerous individual and you need to make firm plans to leave.
In the short term you gather all your financial stuff with preparation to leave. There is really no other feasible option now.
Where do you see yourself in a year's time?.
This person has done a right number on you to get you to the low point you are currently at.
Cogito is right - you do have options. You always have done too, you still have a choice.
You're inside the bubble and not seeing clearly. He can't tell you who to be friends with, or who to work with. If you end the relationship, you need never see him again, child access issues notwithstanding.
He isn't a magical, all powerful being. He's just an aggressive twat who has to abide by the same laws as the rest of us. You can be free of him, by ending your relationship.
you need to see solicitor and file for divorce so he knows you mean it.
but you need to get out first with your dc - they cant be around someone who is angry shouting breaking things threatening..
you need to speak to this to womwens aid/your GP/someone in RL
if he wont leave (and he likely wont)then you must do so .
look into practicalities.
oh and hi achildhood his problem to sort out. dont amke any more excuses for him. sure he needs help but you and your DC cannot give him that - you need to live your lives and you are not trained profressionals....and while he getting profressional help he should be elsewhere
He isn't a magical, all powerful being. He's just an aggressive twat who has to abide by the same laws as the rest of us. You can be free of him, by ending your relationship.
Call women's aid. You can do this. One tiny step at a time.
I think you feel that, because your children will always tie you together, you can never truly get away from him and he will always be able to exercise a certain amount of control over your life. Up to a point, that may be true - but it can be a much, much smaller amount of control than this. Certainly he will withhold money, certainly he will fail to honour contact arrangements to upset the children and punish you. But all of it will be more bearable than what you are living through now.
Please talk to Women's Aid and put together a plan to get out. I know you think you aren't a 'proper' victim because he's not hitting you. You are. I know you think you don't fit the stereotype because in other areas of your life you are confident and outgoing - I hope you can watch this TED Talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner. This woman is absolutely nothing like the stereotype of an abused wife but she was. Don't dwell on the fact that her husband was physically abusive - the parallels are in the way she believed it was her fault, that only she could fix her husband, etc, etc. All the lies that they want you to believe to keep you down.
You can make another choice.
Tribot that's it exactly. Because we are permanently tied, I cannot imagine a scenario where I am not second guessing/double checking everything and holding my breath in case I have 'done something wrong'. Geography won't change that.
He is still here. I am still operating on auto pilot. There is an option of somewhere for one of us to go coming up in 3 weeks. I have told him I want him to take it. He has told me that I am the one who has broken the marriage and I need to fuck off. Logistically (schools etc) I can't go there and he knows this. I am hoping against hope he goes - even for a while so I can clear my head but if he doesn't, I think I will have to even though it will turn the DCs world upside down
But to be honest, I can't even see how him moving out (even if he does) will stop my stomach from being in constant knots. Every time we have a quiet lull, I do or say something that tips him over the edge again. He tells me it is red mist and he can't do anything about his rage. He says he will never get his rage under control and it's my fault.
I think my life will always be like this no matter what I do now.
I need to feel brave and strong and I don't.
I miss my RL friends.
And I am sorry that my posting are so sporadic but you have no idea how much it helps to come back here and post when ever I get the opportunity.
I look forward to it
He will not move out. That's pretty apparent. If you can't take up the option of this other place because of schools you need to have an alternative for you and the DCs. Again I'd suggest contacting Womens Aid rather than staying on autopilot as you put it and living in fear of someone who quite blatantly tells you that he has no intention of controlling his behaviour.
I do understand that you don't feel strong or brave at the moment but please make the phone call 0808 2000 247. Please let someone else be strong and brave on your behalf.
Have you phoned woman aid? they can offer a shelter you and your children can go too and they can help you rebuild your life. There is help out there you just need to have the courage to take it. There is no excuse really to stay but you are just afraid of being alone.
I think my life will always be like this no matter what I do now
That's not true though, Alabahma. He's made you think you're powerless. You're not. Many women have been where you are, and are now out and happier for it.
And you don't have to feel brave and strong to takes steps out of there. You can feel awful and still start the walk to freedom. Why not call women's aid and ask for help; or email their helpline to get you started.
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