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Is this abusive?

(23 Posts)
grumpyobsidian Thu 13-Nov-14 22:36:53


I need some objective opinions about my relationship. I am going to try and give both sides here. My partner has depression and gets really angry sometimes. I was (mildly) abused as a child and I get scared when he gets angry, but he says I am being overly sensitive.

We had an argument over nothing serious really. I walked away and went upstairs to my bedroom. We have previously agreed that either of us can call time on a row and walk away so we can discuss it later when we are both calm but he doesn't always stick to this. He followed me and got angry. He started shouting and swearing. I told him to fuck off in the end and he eventually left the room. I slammed the door when he had walked out but he accused me of hitting him with it. I think the only way the door could have hit his arm is if he tried to block it when I was closing it, which I couldn't see from where I was stood. He is not injured in any way from this but he says it hurt. He then tried to force the door open, shouting and swearing at me. I was scared and tried to stop him but he is much stronger than me and so I had to let go and stand back before I got hurt.

I tried to leave but he blocked the doorway and then stepped back and blocked the stairs. Once he let me pass I went downstairs and went to leave the house but he grabbed my arm. He claims he didn't grab me, just touched my arm. It hurt me, but I have a condition that means a light touch can hurt me sometimes. I was really scared. In the end I threatened to call the police if he didn't leave and he did go while I was on hold before I spoke to anyone so I hung up. I then went out for a while until he had calmed down.

We have since talked calmly and he thinks it's my fault for making him angry although he does accept he shouldn't have behaved like that he won't accept that it's abusive.

Am I overreacting?

Sorry it's so long! TIA

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 13-Nov-14 22:41:29

Well, most baisers make their victim think its their fault, its a known tactic to keep them in their place.

What matters is, are you happy and do you want out?

If yes, what is the house and work situation? Do you work and is the housr rented, mortgaged and in whose names?

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 13-Nov-14 22:41:48

Most abusers... Not baisers...

AnyFucker Thu 13-Nov-14 22:45:07

I think you are in a very unhealthy relationship

Blocking, preventing somebody leaving, accidentally slamming doors on them, grabbing arms....all of this is unhealthy

If you cannot communicate without physically escalating the situation and making unfinished calls to outside agencies to bring about calm, this is a fucked up dynamic and I really hope there are no children to witness it

You should end the relationship

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Thu 13-Nov-14 22:47:38

All the blocking/grabbing/being scared/blaming you for making him angry certainly sounds abusive to me.

However, regardless of whether or not you label it as abuse, it is not an appropriate way for you as a couple to live. There is no point in having an agreement to be able to walk out of an argument if he follows you and barges in anyway.

You should feel safe in your home and if he is doing anything that means you don't feel safe and feel the need to call the police then it is not a healthy relationship.

I don't know how entangled your lives are, how long you've been together, whether you have DCs etc but without any other ties I'd be walking away from this ASAP. If you have DCs etc you may not feel it is that simple, but something certainly needs to change if you stay with him. The fact that you have to ask the question says that you are looking for validation of your feeling that this isn't right. Listen to yourself, you know him best.

Hassled Thu 13-Nov-14 22:48:22

Yes, I really hope there are no children in this hideous-sounding mess.

I don't know if it's abusive - I do know that it sounds like a fucking nightmare and that you're way past the point where anything good can be salvaged.

gamerchick Thu 13-Nov-14 22:50:45

I hope there are no kids listening to this?

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Thu 13-Nov-14 22:52:48

Oh and I agree that it's worse if there are DCs involved, but I acknowledge that it isn't always as simple as LTB if you have DCs to worry about and support. That's not to say this isn't utterly damaging to them, just being practical.

grumpyobsidian Thu 13-Nov-14 22:58:10

Fucking nightmare is a good description. Been together for 10 years and have 2 small children who I really don't want to grow up thinking this is a normal way to live. The thing I am struggling with is that it's not like this most of the time and is this his mental illness (in which case how can I leave him for being sick)?

He basically had a breakdown 5 years ago and since then he's been depressed and intermittently angry but this physical aggression is not a regular occurrence. He's blocked doorways twice before (in the last 5 years and never before that) and I've made it very clear to him that it's unacceptable. He's never laid a hand on me before. Before the breakdown he wasn't like this.

I don't want to break up our family but I don't want to go on like this. I have no idea what to do when he gets so angry. I don't want it to get to swearing, slamming doors, etc.. but how can I prevent it if he won't walk away/let me walk away when things are blowing up? I just don't know what to do!

grumpyobsidian Thu 13-Nov-14 22:59:47

The kids were in another room but obviously heard him shouting and saw me crying. They haven't witnessed anything like this before and I never want them to again!

grumpyobsidian Thu 13-Nov-14 23:03:00

We both work and the house is mortgaged. We have discussed splitting up. He is willing to move out. I could get by with child tax credits to help with childcare costs.

I think this is where we are heading but I do love him. Not the scary angry him. The person he is the rest of the time and the person he was before the mental illness fucked everything up.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 14-Nov-14 06:51:11


Does he get angry and abusive with other people?

And if he does, will you be happy about him getting angry and abusive with the kids?

If the answer to the first Q is no, then he is saving it all up for you, which intimates it might be a choice he is making rather than a mental illness.

wallypops Fri 14-Nov-14 07:24:42

This sounds very similar to my experience. I'm afraid to say that the mental illness is a red herring. My exh wasn't like this at the beginning either, but he was for the majority of our relationship. You have now sunk 5 years of your life into the new him. The old him is NOT coming back. Keep moving forwards towards separation. Life, even with small kids, is easier without this kind of bollocks.

HermanSkank Fri 14-Nov-14 07:31:24

You should separate. His illness is irrelevant.

HermanSkank Fri 14-Nov-14 07:32:26

'Life... is easier without this kind of bollocks.'

So very true.

grumpyobsidian Fri 14-Nov-14 07:51:21

I've never seen him get like this with anyone else. I suspect he speaks more aggressively than he should at work sometimes but he's not got sacked so it can't be too bad. He does get very angry about things at work but he bottles them up. I know when he was younger, before I knew him, he used to get into fights. It's something he's ashamed of now.

I am frightened that he will get angry and abusive with the kids at some point, especially as they get older and challenge his authority. I have intervened before when I haven't liked the way he's talked to the kids or when I think he's getting cross with them because he's in a bad mood rather than because they've done anything wrong. That makes him really angry as he says I'm undermining him and he has to be able to tell them off. He does have a point as I know I overreact sometimes because of my past. I think any male telling them off would make me nervous. This is something that worries me if we separate, I won't be there to intervene.

We have agreed to go to relationship counseling and see if that can either help us make this work or help us separate in an amicable way. I have emailed a local counselor to try and make an appointment asap. I also found that relate do online counseling on a Sunday night so we will do this together as well.

At the moment everything just seems so miserable whatever I do. Either we split up our family and I have to cope alone, we'll both struggle with money, I will have to be apart from my kids when he has them and vice versa and I will miss all the nice times with him. Or we stay together and I have to put up with his depression/anger and set a bad example to our kids. I don't know which is worse.

ACheesePuff Fri 14-Nov-14 07:56:35

If this was a one off row then I wouldn't label it abuse, if this happens regularly, then probably.

Meerka Fri 14-Nov-14 09:49:04

I think the mental ill health is a red herring too. Even if it is the direct cause of the behaviour, there comes a point where it's not ok for the children or for you to be around it.

He needs to be working hard on his temper for this to work long term. If not, as you say it's a miserable life for you and your children both. They could end up walking on eggshells.

Btw I do have some understanding of this - I tend to the harsh and grumpy side myself and am working very hard to impose appropriate punishments and to be more even tempered. It's easier when you're not tired out! But that's not an excuse and neither is mental illness.

coalscuttle Fri 14-Nov-14 12:06:39

That is abusive. The home office definition of domestic abuse is:

Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, financial, sexual or emotional) between adults who are it have been intimate partners or family members".

Following you and shouting, blocking doorways, forcing doors open, that is all threatening behaviour.

AnyFucker Fri 14-Nov-14 17:39:28

Depression doesn't make someone treat their partner like he treats you

You say you don't know what to do to sort this out. This is not for you to sort. You cannot modify someone else's behaviour...only they can do that. Once you start changing yourself, it's a slippery slope.

It is wrong that your dc are being exposed to this. The fact he saves his shit for you is very telling.

Vivacia Fri 14-Nov-14 17:50:38

My children would be exposed to this over my dead body.

WellnowImFucked Fri 14-Nov-14 19:12:56

The minute they say it's your fault for making them angry/shouty/ threaten/ physically abusive it's abuse.

He and all of us have a right to get angry, but coupled with is a responsibility to manage that anger so another person doesn't get hurt.

trackrBird Fri 14-Nov-14 20:05:31

So he shouted and swore and followed you while doing so
Tried to force open the door shock
Has blocked your exit several times
Grabs your arm and says he didn't
Blames you for making him angry
Scared you enough that you were on the phone to police

Yes, that's abuse. He's shown you that he won't control his temper around you, won't take responsibility for what he does, and that he thinks his out of control behaviour is justified.

I would see the counsellor on your own as a first step.

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