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Are they always abusive?

(69 Posts)
2013go Fri 07-Mar-14 21:53:31

I'm nearly out of the woods from an emotionally abusive relationship which really took me inside out.
One question I still haven't resolved is- are these people always abusive?
If not, that would imply it was me/ the circumstances.
I'm still feeling a huge loss of confidence in myself and this is a doubt I return to.
I know that he cheats, but presumably that alone is not abusive.
Mainly I feel great relief it's gone but also a void, and a lot of confidence loss that is coming out in funny ways I didn't expect.
Because EA is so subtle sometimes it is almost like you doubt your reality/ have imagined how bad it was.
Anyway, was it me or do they behave like this with everyone? Or has he run off as his best self with a new partner?

KissesBreakingWave Fri 07-Mar-14 22:01:11

Yes, they behave like this with everyone. I've had two EAs in my somewhat chequered past, and I've compared notes with other exes of both of them and discovered they were just the same. And both of the other exes were very, very different to me, so it can't have been something we were all doing wrong. And I've had plenty of non-EA relationships too.

What I'm saying here is that you should make an effort not to let the bastard make you think it was your fault.

BarbarianMum Fri 07-Mar-14 22:26:34

Yes, they are. Maybe not immediately in a new relationship, but soon enough. The 'nice guy; is an act, and no-one can act for very long.

emmelinelucas Fri 07-Mar-14 22:44:54

Oh, yes. I was married to a psychopath, who was not only EA, but would have murdered me, I am certain, if I hadnt have got away. I left with absolutely nothing ( I had to re-home my dogs, leave my house, which he burned down 3 days later After I left) I could write a book.
They just get better at the abuse, with practice and hone their skills at finding people to abuse.
His behaviour was not your fault. OP.
Learn from your experiences, and look forward.

rabbitlady Fri 07-Mar-14 23:13:06

my then-husband always undermined me, was controlling, occasionally hit me, forced or pressurised me into sex and eventually pinned me to the floor and tried to strangle me to death.

he has had two further marriages. i don't know. but my guess is that he hasn't been abusive, physically at least, in either. i think that because wife 2 and wife 3 are both six-footers.

Qix Fri 07-Mar-14 23:15:49

Yes, I think they are.

AfroditeJones Fri 07-Mar-14 23:19:29

I hope they are so his now wife who was posing as my best friend whilst being the OW can pay the price. But she did me a huge favour too.

He is already paying the price forever as I suspect he is a very sad and troubled inside although the outside look anything like it.

optimism4 Sat 08-Mar-14 00:00:38

He'll be charming for a while, as I'm sure he was to you at first, but who you knew is who he is. Don't underestimate the residual effect of being in a situation like that. It takes a while for the mist to clear. Give yourself time to get your own feelings back. Hold on to the feeling of relief. One day soon you'll look at it as your past. I Wish you every happiness in your future.

wyrdyBird Sat 08-Mar-14 00:05:23

Yes, they behave like this with all their partners.
It's inherent in their personality, very deeply entrenched. They have no other personality to draw on.

YNK Sat 08-Mar-14 00:10:56

Watch for the warning signs next time!

ScarletStar Sat 08-Mar-14 00:21:42

Yes I believe they're the same with every partner. After I left my prick of an ex he married a girl from a very different culture, the woman he said I should be like because she's 'pure.' He means a naturally submissive virgin. I've no doubt he's messing with her head and manipulating her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 06:29:25

I also think that this kind of behaviour is hard-wired to an extent. By which I mean that they will try the same things on all potential partners. Doesn't necessarily mean they will succeed every time. Some see through them early on and reject them. Others are more willing to overlook early warning signs, give the benefit of the doubt, make excuses... we're the ones that stick around long enough to be damaged by it.

2013go Sat 08-Mar-14 08:02:09

Thanks for all the answers- yes, I was too forgiving early on of very bizarre behaviour and made many allowances, thinking like an idiot either 'I can fix this' or 'I can handle it'.

I am baffled by many of my responses even still and it has I think made me wiser but also vulnerable in funny ways, like at work. The most baffling of all is that I have a kind of mixture of curiosity and envy about the latest partner- which makes me cross with myself!

Lweji Sat 08-Mar-14 08:12:14

I do think the type of abuse may vary depending on the partner, but I think they will always be abusive or have the potential for it.

FolkGirl Sat 08-Mar-14 08:14:04

OP I often wonder this too.

My exH was emotionally abusive (mainly). He 'punished' me for not being a good enough/nice woman/female/wife/mother. He had very fixed ideas in his head about what being 'of the fairer sex' should mean and he punished me for letting himself and myself down whenever I failed to be 'good enough'.

I suppose if his gf/ow is a 'better' woman than me, then he might not be abusive to her. She certainly makes the fuss of him that he demands (if his elaborate birthday celebrations were anything to go by). So if she meets his needs better than I did in that respect, will she still be subject to the nasty side of his personality?

Who knows.

Lweji Sat 08-Mar-14 08:23:07

I think it does depend on why they do it. If they are simply selfish and have a picture in their minds of what they want from a partner, or even controlling, they may well find a partner that matches it or is willing to be controlled. It is likely, though, that their partners eventually will fail to be what they want or will want more.
Then there is the type who thrives on hurting the other person. For those it doesn't matter who the partner is.

Remember that abusive relationships may look fine from the outside. Just because it all seems fine it doesn't mean that it is.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 08:29:20

"if she meets his needs better than I did in that respect, will she still be subject to the nasty side of his personality?"

I think some enjoy the whole process of abusing someone, bringing them low and watching them squirm. They show the nasty side of themselves regardless of whether needs are being met or not. Very likely to shift the goalposts to deliberately make sure their needs are not being met.... gives them something to pick at. Bullies.

Others only show their nasty side when they're not getting their own way. If they get their own way all the time, they're absolutely fine. The partner puts the occasional outbursts down to 'bad moods', 'stress at work', 'family problems'... etc.... and avoids upset. This is more the 'spoilt brat' model.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 08:30:06

x-post with Lweji smile

wyrdyBird Sat 08-Mar-14 11:00:32

I suppose if his gf/ow is a 'better' woman than me, then he might not be abusive to her....I would gently discourage this thinking, FolkGirl: it puts you very, very close to blaming yourself.

Abuse covers a spectrum of bullying behaviours. As well as more obvious things such as cruelty, and name calling, there are subtler behaviours such as discounting, disrespect, disdain, countering, eye rolling, unfunny jokes, undermining. And yes, the bad mood 'out of nowhere' that 'must be stress'- that the victim finds herself accommodating and buffering almost without thinking.

These subtler behaviours soon train the victim to behave how the abuser wishes.

Even earlier than that are the clever manipulations - 'You're so thoughtful. You're different from anyone I've ever met. My ex never made a fuss on my birthday/insert required behaviour here...'

There is no escaping that inherent, pathological selfishness, and desperate need for control. It shows itself in one form or another, whatever the partner does, though it can take years before the target realises what's going on.

Hissy Sat 08-Mar-14 14:22:07

Op, can I ask, did you do the freedom programme?

If you could attend these free sessions (even now) you'd certainly benefit from seeing how the tricks of an abuser vary very little from abuser to abuser.

You may also learn that an abuser can vary their tactics between victims. It's all about them finding the weak spot that they can exploit to get what they want.

2013go Sat 08-Mar-14 14:40:45

Hi Hissy I did it online, as none of the sessions locally were at a good time. He fitted a couple of the types but in the main the problem with him was that he was totally unpredictable from one minute to the next. He'd also store up 'sins' and whip out a 'punishment' later when I thought the coast was clear. Nothing was EVER good enough to ensure a whole fortnight's peace. I remember thinking very early on that I was dealing with a 'mad' person because of the lack of rhyme and reason. I just keep wondering if he's been like that with previous gfs and is like it with new gf. Or if in a calmer situation he'd be calmer.

FolkGirl Sat 08-Mar-14 14:45:23

Funnily enough, I ordered "Why does he do that?" the other day. It arrived this morning.

I've had a quick skim through. It was like reading about my exh!

Especially the putting on a pedstal/being a good woman stuff. I know that he didn't intend to be abusive. He genuinely believed that I was the only woman who would fail to meet his exactly standards. He'd never had a relationship before me and speaks very favourably/protectively/respectfully of women in general. But then I was the only one he'd had experience of in that respect.

FolkGirl Sat 08-Mar-14 14:45:39

exacting standards.

FolkGirl Sat 08-Mar-14 14:46:35

And he was definitely attracted to me because I was vulnerable. When we were at school the girls he was attracted to then were always the ones he perceived needed 'rescuing' from difficult home lives.

wyrdyBird Sat 08-Mar-14 15:36:18

I think it's fair to point out that some abusers are in a class of their own: and I'd put psychopaths in this group. They often lack rhyme and reason.

They can be extremely dangerous. But they don't necessarily fit the angry and controlling profile. I'm generalising hugely, but manipulation, lying and casual but shocking cruelty can come to the fore with psychopaths; along with a sometimes deadly calmness, or apparent mildness, which can throw people off the scent. ('But he's never angry, he never calls me names or anything, he can't be abusive'. Wrong..).

Many gain some kind of enjoyment out of damaging and manipulating people, even outside the home. This is not quite the same profile as a standard abuser (can't think of a better term) - who has a strong urge to control and abuse their partner, but may come across as a good, upstanding member of the community to other people.

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