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Advice on leaving(9 Posts)
Can I ask you for some advice on how to leave my husband and make sure that I don´t hurt him more than necessary (that I do it in a nice way); don´t activate his aggressive punitive side and so he doesn´t end up taking the children away from me? I know this sounds a difficult combination so I´ll give you a bit of a background.
My DH can be fun, good to talk to, full of energy and takes on responsibility for the kids (3 of them, 4, 6 and 8). When he is nice, he can be lovely and I find it hard to imagine anything else. But he has a dark side too. He can be emotionally aggressive to me and the children i.e. calls me an idiot or the children assholes (if they challenge him or answer back´). He is not physically aggressive though would push back at the children if they pushed him (even if it was an accident). He gets very angry at small things, particularly any mess I´ve created. It feels to me out of proportion to the situation. He believes I do it deliberately rather than just being absent minded. He will open the bathroom door from outside with a coin if he wants to shout at me and I do find it a bit scary. I´ve come to the conclusion that some of his behavior is very controlling – maybe not in the typical kinds of ways like not letting me have any money or letting me go out, but psychologically e.g. there is no way I can find to ask him to do something or consider something or even, forbid it, criticize him. If I do, he says I am shouting when I am not. If I try and say it nicely, he ignores it and says I need to be more direct. There is just no way of doing it. He makes a big fuss if we do anything that I want to and he doesn´t (like eat in a particular place) so we don´t do it. He openly admits to enjoy finding peoples weak spots and then pressing them on these. As an example, I hate not to be able to sleep and so he may tease and taunt me before bedtime and then refuse to discuss or make up. He would do this typically before I have something important to do the next day so I normally hide anything important so it doesn´t happen then. This is partly fuelled by alcohol at this stage – I usually go to bed early to escape before he has drunk his 1.5 bottles of wine. He will also try to push the children when they are upset – almost to make it worse rather than trying to calm things down and teach them how to regulate their emotions. Perhaps the worst was after my brother died. In the weeks that followed he was even nastier than usual and very critical of my Mum (who had lost her son). He shouted at her to get out of our house when she dared to turn up without phoning to discuss funeral arrangements. He is very critical of everything I do – leaves me to do it then gets cross about it. He threw a heavy box I had packed because I used the wrong´´ box. He was pleased when everything fell apart and said that he got what he wanted now as I would have to repack in the right box (which I did, so perhaps he was right). In the bedroom he would say things like I stink or breathe through his mouth very obviously to not have to smell me. I´ve spent a long time thinking these things are partly my fault or that we can work on them together. We can discuss these things and he will often say that I am right and he shouldn´t have shouted at the children. But then it doesn´t improve.
As he really goes to great lengths to find weak spots and press them (and is extremely good at it in what I´ve come to fear in a sinister clever way) I´m worried about leaving. If I leave him can I take the children with me or is that aggressive to him? I don´t want to leave them alone with him immediately after the break up but I think this will activate his aggression and make it difficult. If I could be reasonable with him, he is more likely to co-operate, but I just can´t guarantee it. He may feel like he has more of a claim to the children as he is not working right now and picks them up from school each day until I get home. So he may see himself as the primary care giver though I think I am in an emotional and real sense. So in an ideal world, I would discuss it with him and we would agree it was the best option. But I think he may just open the door, push me out and then he would be there with the children. As it would look like I had left them, it might also affect my chances of making sure I have at least joint custody or joint residency with them. Can you give me any advice on how to handle it? I´m not doing it tomorrow and want to plan over the next few months so everything is as good as it can be.
He's abusive and controlling.
Call Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247. It might help if you read the thread called "Support for those in emotionally abusive relationships". There's loads of links which you may find useful.
I think you need to remember that you leaving him will upset his perception of how he controls you and he will start to ramp up the nastiness x 100. He is not/won't be your friend. I think you're going to need to change your mindset about what's fair. Yours and your children's survival will depend on it.
I'd also recommend you talk to Womens Aid. His behaviour is abusive on a lot of different levels and your fears sound quite justified. That you are even wondering if some of it is your fault says that you need help urgently. It would not be aggressive to take your children away from this creature, it would be doing them a huge service.
Does he drink 1.5 bottles of wine on a daily basis?
Another voice suggesting that you ring Womens Aid.
His behaviour is totally abusive and controlling.
Opens a locked door to invade your privacy
Deliberately pushes a child even if they've only accidentally pushed him
Alcohol fueled rages
Deliberately escalating the emotions of his children when they're upset
Playing mind games to disrupt your sleep
Throwing your bereaved mother out of your house
Unable to accept any criticism
Mind games to force you to consider his needs in any given situation
Enjoys setting you up for a fall
Openly admits to finding people's weak spots and exploiting them
You say you wondered how much was your fault and if you could work through this together.
None of it is your fault.
People do and say things all the time in relationships that have to be confronted, negotiated and compromises made. That list above is not the description of a normal person negotiating his way through his marriage.
I certainly don't think you should waste a second on trying to avoid hurting him when you leave. However, I can see that such a man would be quite scary to leave, especially when you have children. I really would therefore take help and advice all the way, with WA being your first point of call.
Oh Anna this is heartbreaking to read. He sounds absolutely vile. You sound like a very strong woman to have put up with all of this - and you'll need to muster this strength in the days and weeks ahead.
I've never been in a situation like this, but there are lots of women who have, and their experiences may help you. If you haven't already, read through some of the threads on here about leaving abusive men - there are some golden nuggets of info I would never have thought of. You should also contact Women's Aid, who are experts, and if you can speak to a solicitor to help you understand your legal rights regarding property, savings, children's residency etc.
Please also be very careful. I've heard of too many stories where abusive men become violent when they fear they are losing control. Make sure you cover your tracks online, using only private browsing, and get some tips from Women's Aid too. Even if your husband doesn't turn violent he will no doubt be nasty, threatening, and potentially withold money, so it's worth thinking about having some emergency money set aside.
I wish you the very best of luck. And whatever happens, remember that the best thing for your children is to be in a safe and loving home without bullying or threats - however you can make that happen will probably be the right thing to do.
Thank you all for your replies. I had looked at the website for EA and women's aid but so many of the stories and situations seemed worse than what I experienced that I wasn't sure - some of the things about not letting someone go out or stopping money aren't really an issue. So actually I find it really useful that it seems to be clearer to you. I agree as well that he will use everything in his power to make it difficult for me so perhaps I need to use every possible power too though it seems a horrible thing to do and against my nature in another way. I'll give them a call tomorrow and update..
forgot to say CogitOIOIO that yes at least that much wine every day - he knows himself it is a problem and tries to stop every so often.
Great to see you're going to make the call tomorrow.
I know what you mean when you say you feel your situation isn't as bad as others. Lots of EA is so subtle. Many EA people won't actively stop you doing something. That's too direct and requires a certain type of personality. Often it's building up an expectation of how the EA person will react. Once they can see you're going to try and avoid their negative reaction, you're dangling on their string. It's scary stuff but you're seeing through it.
And it doesn't matter if other people's experiences seem worse - it doesn't make your husband any less of an abuser. Abuse takes many forms, and physical violence is only one of them. What you've described above is so so abusive, to both you and your children. And it's very far removed from what you deserve.
And for your kids, the very idea that he would call them "arseholes" is so sad. If you get out soon you will help avoid a lifetime of hurt and confusion for them, growing up thinking this is normal. I understand that you don't want to do anything to hurt him, but you need to think about doing everything you can to protect them - he has hurt them, and you, and doesn't deserve your sympathy. They do.
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