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Why all this abuse?

(59 Posts)
BeenWondering Tue 02-Jun-15 17:39:08

I admit that perhaps I'm slightly jaded having being on this board for many years. But I still can't get my head around why abusers abuse? Will they change for the 'right' person and are they aware of their actions? And at what point in a relationship does it start to go wrong?

I ruin myself trying to answer these questions. I've read the Lundy books but hearing real life experiences on this board interests me more. We have women (and men) going through all sorts of hell on here. And it infuriates me.

My ex was emotionally abusive but to the rest of the world he was kind, intelligent, successful, endearing, driven. Just about all the qualities you'd look for in a partner. When we first met I was amazed and fell in love instantly, in the years that followed he became emotionally abusive.

I admit that at the time I didn't see it that way, I actually thought that we were stuck in a rut or maybe if I could be a better partner or be better in life he'd go back to the way we used to be. He managed to grind down my self-esteem and make me wonder what was wrong with me. I have wondered if he'll be better with the OW as they seem to still be friends even though they have since broken up. So a large part of me wondered why me as surely he's been able to keep up appearances with her and indeed his ex prior to me. I had to walk away as it would have destroyed me.

I wonder if they do change? If it's just a certain dynamic between two people that doesn't match. But having said that, it's not a green light to abuse anyone.

I can't help but think there are so many abusers around and abuse going on that a person wouldn't even identify their partners actions as abuse as its so insidious.

Sorry for mammoth post but would like to know what you think.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 02-Jun-15 18:32:31

This board has had me wondering why so many men, born of women and raised by them, turn out to be abusive twunts. Is it nature over nurture or is it simply that there are as many deeply flawed mothers as there are fathers?

It seems to me that, regardless of gender, those who have an abusive trait will always do so, but it may not be so pronounced in one relationship as in another and it could be that your ex and the OW split up because he did not find it as easy to grind her down as he did you.

pallasathena Wed 03-Jun-15 13:35:14

Think its to do with power and control and well, some people are just naturally horrible! though its difficult to work out at first when you're in a new or almost new relationship when everyone's on their best behaviour.

I don't know. Wish I did! I'm with someone lovely now but my previous dh was an absolute scumbag and I didn't see it until a year into the marriage.

Sometimes, we can be too trusting. I used to be a people pleaser too. Think that had something to do with it in retrospect and it took a long time to develop healthy boundaries. Nowadays, I just don't take any crap...but its taken years of dismantling daft notions of how we're supposed to 'behave'. Its a work in progress too. Still not totally 'there'!

Lottapianos Wed 03-Jun-15 13:48:57

'I used to be a people pleaser too. Think that had something to do with it in retrospect and it took a long time to develop healthy boundaries. '

Same here. Life is getting much more pleasant now that I like myself more!

I think its absolutely nurture, for both the abuser and the abused partner. I was perfectly primed to meet an abusive partner but my emotionally abusive parents - how I thought relationships were meant to work was all based on their treatment of me and each other. Some people would not even consider staying in a relationship that was even vaguely abusive, because they learned very different lessons as children about what they are worth and what real love and respect look like. I don't think anyone is born 'bad' or abusive

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Wed 03-Jun-15 15:36:36

Yup nurture, I would also add that for some people at least it is not deliberate. Sometimes you get the impression that all abusers are always maliciously and deliberately targeting their victims. While that is undoubtedly the case, much of it is also just the outgrowth of their own confusions, defence mechanisms, low self-esteem which means they're unaware of their own power to hurt, etc. I know I have hurt people in the past with mine. It was not intentional and I would love to go back and change things.

Socially speaking I wonder if there was an increase of it from the time of the world wars. All those traumatised men coming back and trying to rebuild lives must have had some effect, and they created my parents' generation. Also there was that attitude of 'stiff upper lip' which could easily turn into 'emotions aren't allowed to exist'. I'm glad we're becoming more aware now. My generation (70s born) may be the first to have a chance of turning their backs on it.

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Wed 03-Jun-15 15:37:55

'While that is undoubtedly the case' sometimes, I meant.

MephistophelesApprentice Wed 03-Jun-15 15:43:53

I remember seeing a very moving speech by Patrick Stewart on domestic abuse. He was talking about how he had come to understand that the reason his father was abusive to his mother was that he had PTSD after coming back from the War. It wasn't an excuse, but it was an explanation. Very moving.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Wed 03-Jun-15 15:48:21

I'm still friends with my ex, doesn't mean he wasn't EA towards me. It suits me better to remain friends for DS's sake, for our families who each still treat the other like a sil/dil and because I have very good boundaries now and if he starts his nonsense I shut him down and he leaves. Of course he doesn't do that very often at all now because he's capable of being very nice and funny and charming to people who aren't making emotional demands on him, so he has no need to be EA to me now.
Appreciate that lots wouldn't like my setup but it works. I just wanted to offer a suggestion about why the ex may still be friends with him and counteract your assumption that that means he wasn't abusive towards her.

iloverunning36 Wed 03-Jun-15 15:59:15

Ehric did you ever challenge him and label his behaviour as abusvie? I don't think I can be friends with my ea ex because I've challenged him and he has denied it so he is basically saying I'm lying. This and his family turning a blind eye to his behaviour is what annoys me most.

SevenDrunkenNights Wed 03-Jun-15 16:14:03

I could have written the OP.

It's like an epidemic! A year ago I'd never even heard of emotional abuse. Then I slowly realised I was being emotionally abused. I knew something was wrong in my relationship and sought answers. I researched so much, mainly around myself. Thought I was too needy due to my childhood. Of course my ex was happy to let me think that.

I came on here and was told he was emotionally abusive. I refused to believe it. For months and months I posted different threads and they all came back unanimously that he was abusive. I took myself off to therapy and eventually saw the light.

Now, I see emotional abuse everywhere. In my family, between my friends and their partners (although I may be projecting) and especially on here. Every other thread is about EA. Sometimes men come on here and are accused of being EA.

I spent YEARS trying to figure out my ex. I still am, to an extent (it's why I opened this thread). But I do realise that I will never really know why he abused me. I don't think he thinks he DID abuse me, if I'm honest. Which is crazy making, and scary to think about.

I think PP who said about the world wars may have a very good point. Interesting.

justreadthis Wed 03-Jun-15 16:24:50

I think my dh is like that.
everyone, including strangers think he is so sweet/happy etc.
the last 6 months have been difficult
he had a heart attack in January, now a cancer scare, still waiting to hear , then he hurt his back and can hardly walk.
I have been kind/sympathetic/understanding/caring, every day of the last few months.
cooking food that he specially likes.
not a thought for myself.
then today, as we were going out, and after the burglar alarm was put on, I said, oh sorry, I forgot my glasses.
he went ballistic, swearing and very angry.
I understand it has been hard for him too, but it feels like a kick in the teeth for me that the first thing I "needed" for myself was a simple thing like glasses, and he was truly nasty.
3 hours later we aren't talking, he refuses to apologise, saying, why should he.
so, mr.nice gouy outside, but horrid to me inside. his father was the same. feel like running away.

SevenDrunkenNights Wed 03-Jun-15 16:32:13

justreadthis if you really wanted to leave him, you could. Not saying you should, just saying you can if you want. I never realised that I could leave. When I did realise, it was a revelation. That's not to say it wasn't the hardest thing I ever did. But I managed it with support from here.

justreadthis Wed 03-Jun-15 17:37:18

thank you,it's just that outside he is one thing, but his poisonous sideswipes really get to me. today I exploded and let out a torrent of abuse, but he just laughed.
he doesn't even consider how I am feeling, after one ailment after another.
no holidays, summers ruined re hay fever, yet I always supported him with kindness and understanding.
now, he is blaming me for "causing an argument"
I find myself appeasing him now, but this time I have had enough.
I pay for everything, but it sscares me that he is turning..fast...into his father, who made his wife's life a total misery.

SevenDrunkenNights Wed 03-Jun-15 17:39:45

"Behind closed doors"

A phrase I've used quite a lot over the last year. In sorry you're going through this justreadthis. It sounds horrid.

justreadthis Wed 03-Jun-15 17:44:37

i'm at my wits end right now.it's been years of one thing after another with his health.
I have never complained, been supported and understanding, but today when I responded, he laughed and said i'm mad, making a mountain out of a molehill, which brings me back to the initial thread.
maybe the op's wife has had enough of his cocky and patronising attitude, and is on here so he can say to himself "you see, it's all her fault she explodes" maybe if truth be told, he doesn't take his wife's feelings into account, but plays the big/macho/aren't I clever arsehole.

NettleTea Wed 03-Jun-15 18:08:48

I also think, in a very simplistic way, it is to do with how society views men and women, and how they expect them to 'be'.
Men - strong, important, in charge, lads, 'one of the boys', his job more important than hers, head of the household
Women - people pleasing, working to keep the relationship, looking for prince charming, self sacrificing, nurturing,

you could go on for pages about the messages that are given out, and that doesnt even start on whether your family was dysfunctional too....

BeenWondering Wed 03-Jun-15 18:09:13

YY to not having heard of the term 'emotional abuse.' I honestly thought I was over thinking things and just needed to calm down. It's only when I did a lot of reading that I found that term exists and all it encompassed. It was truly a revelation.

I honestly wish I had a time machine to go back and shake myself! I'd have saved myself no end of sadness and doubt. I'm actually ashamed to say that it was only when he became overtly cruel and callous that I started to figure out what was happening. And the worst part is that when I told him all he'd done he apparently had no idea. The mind truly boggles!

BeenWondering Wed 03-Jun-15 18:15:58

and justreadthis We all have limits. You sound like you are nearing yours. I'm astounded that he'd take issue over you needing to pop back to get your glasses! And everything else he's doing. The 'causing an argument' thing nearly sent me crazy as I'd then spend weeks and months walking on egg shells hoping to not piss him off but now I look back, those were my natural instincts fighting back against his behaviour but I was too ground down to recognise that he was the predator. Please take heart that we'll all be here when you have questions or need a vent.

SevenDrunkenNights Wed 03-Jun-15 18:33:11

he laughed and said i'm mad, making a mountain out of a molehill

Reading that made my blood boil.

Yes, rest assured, if you need hand holding, a vent, or practical advice if you want to leave him, we will be here. Private message me if you feel more comfortable. flowers

I remember feeling like you do now. It's crazy making. Please ensure he doesn't know your username on here either. If he's anything like my ex he'll find you. (My ex also used this forum to start threads that he thought could get to me. Fortunately the good people of mumsnet saw through him straight away)

justreadthis Wed 03-Jun-15 20:09:01

thank you, sometimes I think I am actually going mad.
his brother has just rung, and he was laughing with him...you see, it's only you that makes me like this.....
before that, he was hobbling around,like a fool I tried to help him, but as long as he is getting the attention he is okay.

I scream inside, WHAT ABOUT ME...........

SevenDrunkenNights Wed 03-Jun-15 20:20:36

You are not going mad. What he is doing is crazy making.

I can't tell you what to do, I don't know the full extent of your story, all I can do is urge you to really think about whether you want to spend the rest of your life with this man. I honestly never even contemplated it for years. But then when I did, it was like my eyes were opened. I didn't have to put up with it any longer! I didn't have to keep trying! I wasn't mad after all!

The feeling is euphoric.

BeenWondering Wed 03-Jun-15 22:42:09

You are not going mad justreadthis And I'd welcome you to post your story on this thread or start another thread. Even if just to get it out there and off your chest. Just tell us your story.

Your needs don't have to come second. I've been there and did the dance for a few years trying to placate him and please him. It ended up with me resenting myself. Don't be me. Post post and post! We are here.

Lottapianos Wed 03-Jun-15 22:44:34

NettleTea, I very much agree that these dynamics get propped up by gender stereotypes in society and patriarchal beliefs about relationships. It does no one any favours at all.

TheSilveryPussycat Wed 03-Jun-15 22:51:45

This is the emotional abuse support thread which was and is a godsend.

SevenDrunkenNights Thu 04-Jun-15 09:11:39

justreadthis - are you okay?

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