Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

is this abusive behaviour and if so what kind of abuse?

(41 Posts)
mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:00:37

I separated from my ex very officially a couple of months back. It has been an emotional rollercoaster but I am quite happy on my own now. I do miss him and it is hard because I genuinely saw myself being with him forever. We had a very passionate relationship and love/d each other deeply which I don't doubt at all. But, he comes from a toxic family who are emotionally, psychologically and at times verbally abusive. They are also mysogynistic but my ex didn't pick that up as much as the former issues.

So now I'm stuck in a conundrum because I need to find a way to explain why and how his behaviour is abusive and damaging but as it was mainly emotional abuse, it's hard to put it into words. I'm hoping that if I can give a few examples, maybe someone out there will be able to help me out in giving his behaviour some kind of title or a good way to concisely explain it, iyswim .

So here goes. When he would be stressed, he would withdraw and treat me badly through speaking to me and behaving towards me like I was a burden. His tone of voice would be rude and his body language would be as if my presence was a nuisance. Rolling eyes, huffing and puffing when I would speak, frowning at me and acting like I was talking nonsense all the time, even when I would be talking about day to day things or whatever was on TV. A good example of this was one occasion when he came home from work and as we were watching TV, I was commenting on what was going on and he asked me if I don't ever shut up. He did this in front of a family member too. Other times the behaviour was less explicit but still very obvious to me.

He would almost always forget about social functions I would ask him to attend with me and would tell me that it was my fault as I know he has a bad memory and should remind him on the day itself. This would follow a week of discussing the event and he wouldn't forget about events that he had arranged himself that didn't include me.

He would criticise the way I dress and would compare me to other women. He later admitted that this was wrong but he continued to constantly criticise me for other things like the way I carry money without a purse, losing my travel card, or other minute observations. He stopped doing most of this as I learned to point it out to him while he was doing it, but it still continued on a lesser scale and his most recent and persistent criticism was my apparently overly polite behaviour. Apparently I am not assertive in public places and am constantly apologising or moving out of the way in the street and other things along these lines. He found this frustrating and off putting, I think I just have manners.

He was inappropriately flirtatious with women at work and would dismiss this behaviour as common place banter amongst his work colleagues. it led to female colleagues thinking that they could approach him to spend one on one time with him because he presented himself in a way that made them feel he was potentially interested. To him it was just banter and apparently normal in his work environment. Just banter so apparently not wrong because he would never have done anything with these women. He would say that I am unreasonable for finding this upsetting and that I hold things like this over his head.

When over the years I had finally reached breaking point, on about three occasions I told him we were over and he had to move out. On one of these occasion he went to work the next day and had a sexual encounter with a female colleague who we both new was interested in him and who was clearly happy at this turn of events. They did not have sex but had other physical contact. He told me about it that same evening as he felt conflicted and upset over what he had done. He said that he had needed some forms of validation and to feel wanted. It took a long time but we moved on and reconciled and things were somewhat better.

Recently and after the other issues, he had a male work colleague sending him nude pictures of a girl he was sleeping with and he showed them to me because he thought it was banter. I was unimpressed considering his history at work and it became an explosive topic in our home. To him it had just been banter between friends. Until now he feels I overreacted and it was just banter.

Another issue to do with him not supporting me came up two months ago. This was hot on the heels of the nude pictures situation and I asked him to leave and told him we were done. we were apart for a week and he pleaded to come home. I heard him out and told him I wanted to stay separated but maybe have counselling and see each other once a week while we sorted things out. He was adamant that he loves me and wanted to be with me. He didn't want us seeing other people. a week later I found out that 24 hours after he left our home and we had finished he had once again propositioned a woman at work and this time out rightly for sex. He had also done the same with the previous woman he had had an encounter with from work and they had discussed the fact that she wanted a relationship with him but he only wanted something casual. They had phone sex. He told me this happened because he was hurt and rejected and didn't want to feel miserable and alone at home mourning our relationship. To him I have no right to feel upset about this even if it was 24 hours after we split because he was single and could do what he wanted.

thoughts? He has emotional issues because of his family and their toxic nature but I don't now how to categorise them.

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:01:24

Sorry, just noted how long the post is blush

pocketsaviour Wed 20-May-15 15:19:02

Well, he sounds like a massive cock.

I would say his abuse is a dish mainly centred on criticising and belittling you ("Don't you ever shut up?"), flavoured with a bit of gas-lighting about "forgetting" social events which were important to you, and then finished with a dash of philandering and hypocrisy ("I don't want us you seeing other people, but Imma go bang this random now, 'kay?")

Is it important for you to have this "definition"? Please tell me it's not because you are going to carefully explain it to him. That won't end well.

Aussiemum78 Wed 20-May-15 15:21:42

He's emotionally abusive.

I recommend you look up Lundy Bancroft.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 20-May-15 15:25:09

The only label you need to attach to this self-entitled twunt is one that says "AVOID AT ALL COSTS" - and make sure you adhere to the instruction.

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:27:41

Thank you for the replies. I have told him that he is emotionally abusive and have pointed out the way he behaves and even the connection it has to his families behaviour. He has started being very manipulative to try and deflect blame onto me. We have our divorce coming up and some family mediation so I need to know how to explain the behaviour to others in order to explain why I have chosen to divorce him. We are from multicultural backgrounds so I have to explain it to family members but I don't know how to summarise his behaviour in order to explain it to them. It is so difficult to explain emotional abuse.

Cabrinha Wed 20-May-15 15:28:37

I'd label that "arsehole".

In what way do you think it's going to help you to have a label?

There are books giving different profiles. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it - but does he really need any more of your headspace?

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:28:41

Sorry, typing fast on my phone so my use of language may be a bit jarring.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 20-May-15 15:29:04

You are flogging a dead horse if you're trying to explain it to him : he doesn't want to know.

You, however, know that you don't want that kind of behaviour in your life anymore. Feel the strength and confidence of that position.

Cabrinha Wed 20-May-15 15:33:04

You don't need to explain it though. Why can't you just say "he was often very rude and unkind to me"?
Or just - he's an arsehole!

You could pick one easy example, you've got a bloody good list.

You know you're allowed to divorce him, yes? It doesn't matter what others think.

Tbh, I doubt a label would help you.
"Why are you divorcing him?"
"Because he's a Type B, sub type 1.8 on page 58 of book Y"
"Uh?" smile

The label will only help when you talk a common language with someone.

Mediation isn't counselling. You don't have to give reasons for leaving him.

pocketsaviour Wed 20-May-15 15:34:31

I think all you need to say to others is that he has been verbally abusive over a very long period of time, and that he has been sexually inappropriate with other women.

If the mediation is in regard to contact and/or finances, don't worry about explaining yourself - the mediator will be focussed on making an agreement between the two of you. They won't criticise you for leaving.

Cabrinha Wed 20-May-15 15:35:09

Hang on - what's "family mediation"?
Do you not mean official divorce mediation?
Don't get dragged into random family members spouting opinions!

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:38:46

In our culture my family have to explain to his family why I have decided to divorce him. I just need a clear and concise list of reasons. Otherwise they might ask me to give it another chance and I just want it to be done with. It isn't an issue for me, but it is an issue for my older family members whom I love and who want to address the customary rights. it would be helpful to me mentally to be able to explain things clearly so that they don't find ways to argue around my points to maybe attempt to pass the blame onto me.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 20-May-15 15:39:11

You don't need to explain anything to family members.
Your decision to end the marriage is enough: "I have decided that I no longer want to be in this marriage."
You are a free agent - not subject to a popular jury for your decisions.

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:40:36

Plus I would just like to have a clear understanding of it myself. It's difficult to express such things while you are in the eye if the storm iyswim

GoatsDoRoam Wed 20-May-15 15:41:02

And what will you do if those family members say -- as they may well -- "Well, we think your reasons aren't good enough and you should give him another chance."?

AnyRailway Wed 20-May-15 15:47:59

My family members thought outright physical violence in front of the children on more than one occasion was not a good enough reason to leave my marriage. My stepdad felt I should give my husband another chance, was angry that I had called the police, and is still not really speaking to me.

Do what you know to be right and try not to worry about what your family think. You have perfectly good reasons, and you don't need to justify them to anybody. I know this sounds harsh, but you can do it. You have been so strong already.

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:48:06

I am married within my culture. Like many cultures, mine does no accept bigamy either. part of the divorce proceedings involves explaining why I want a divorce. The reason for this is to try and help couples who are struggling to work through their problems with family support before finally calling it a day. It isn't forced but is more an act of good intentions. For me though, I have made my mind up. However, for my family, it is important to go through the customary rights. So I need some help on how to clearly explain his behaviour in order to relay that to them for whatever they need to do with that information. I know he is emotionally abusive, it's just hard to explain how to others without getting into a long and drawn out discussion over examples etc...

mummymummypony Wed 20-May-15 15:50:15

They aren't going to do that. We have had a couple of sit down meetings already. It just needs to be explained clearly and to a larger group this time so more formally. It's not a matter of being forced to stay in the relationship, it's just so that I can be clear in my reasoning.

worldgonecrazy Wed 20-May-15 15:51:12

pocketsaviour nailed it - just use the first paragraph from her post. That's all you need. You don't need to go into deep explanations of his behaviour to him or to your family. It is enough that he made you feel like shit.

CheersMedea Wed 20-May-15 15:52:13

a lot of it is just rejecting behaviour and verbal abuse - belittling, harsh comparisons, sexual interactions with other women.

Cabrinha Wed 20-May-15 15:52:17

I don't agree with justifying it to family members.
I think it's your right.
And if YOU want to explain it to his elders, fine, do it yourself.
That said, the only person who has any right to an explanation is your ex. And he knows why. So he can tell his family himself.

Tbh, it may be common in your culture but I think it's wrong and it would piss me right off to be infantilised that as a grown woman my reasons had to be relayed through my parents!

But, either you're happy with it - or choose not to fight it.

Either way, any kind of official description isn't going to help. Like I said before - labels only help when everyone speaks the same language.

I would write out 5 of the shittiest things he has done, but keep it to a short sentence. Hand that to whoever is doing the talking an say he was unkind to you, and here are examples.

Enter no further discussion.

And when you write them down, don't include his pathetic lying justification.

When he was physical with another woman, and told you, it is not because he was confessing and confused. It's because he wanted to hurt you and put you in your place.

So just put:
1. He was physical with another woman.

No further discussion.

You don't need this crap on top of dealing with him!

GoatsDoRoam Wed 20-May-15 15:52:54

Here's one possible script:

"I have been very unhappy for a very long time.
I did not feel respected in this marriage. For example, stbxh has done x, y, and z. I feel I have forgiven him enough times, and I am now done. I have decided that I no longer want to be in this marriage."

And if they say some version of: "Oh, go on, give him a second chance, see his remorse, think of the shame to you and to us, etc."

You can reply: "I understand that this is shocking and upsetting to you: it is indeed a significant decision. If this is how you feel, imagine how badly I must feel to have reached this point. Like you, I too hoped things could improve, and so I stayed and tried harder. However, the situation did not improve, and stbxh has now exhausted his supply of second chances. There will be no more second chances: I am done. I have decided that I no longer want to be in this marriage."

and repeat that last sentence if necessary.

This is not about finding adequate justifications, OP. It is about being true to your own self and your own decisions. You can choose to end a marriage because you know it no longer suits you. This is your life.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 20-May-15 15:53:29


Cabrinha Wed 20-May-15 15:55:41

You have had TWO meetings already and now you're expected to talk to an even wider family group?
I think you've done your bit for customs and culture, you poor

Just keep it simple. I get from your explanation that it comes from a place of trying to help a couple. But not multiple meetings with increasing numbers of relatives! Why can't you just tell them what you said in meeting one? Or two hmm
Really feel for you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now