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Recovery from abusive relationships: support and hand-holding.

(14 Posts)
Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 15:21:43

This thread is a safe place for those of us recovering from abusive marriages or partnerships.
We may have experienced physical abuse, emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse. A combination of any or all. Maybe you're only now recognising what happened to you? Perhaps you wonder if you can ever be whole, really you again?
Here you can vent, ask for support, share ideas about what helps you. Judging and blaming isn't allowed here, we've all had more than enough of that. That includes judging and blaming ourselves.
Hopefully this thread will help us find understanding and heal.
Together we'll recover, put ourselves back together, value ourselves again.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 15:34:19

I'll start, so at least I'll get one response grin.
I'm 5 months out of an abusive 20 year marriage. That was preceded by an abusive 15 year marriage. Before that I was raised by a cruel mother. So this is the first time in my whole 50 odd years I haven't been in an abusive relationship. Yay me!

This last husband (STBXH) was controlling to the nth degree, used to knock me around until the last 6 or 7 years (guess he didn't need to anymore) unfaithful, jealous and had an explosive temper. He'd isolated me so I have only a very few, very new friends. He'd prevented me from working so at my advanced years I am now building a "career".

Naturally when we got together he hadn't said "This is the deal: I'll stop you having any friends and will strictly control your interaction with your family. I'll do my best to disrupt and damage your relationship with your children. I'll choose your clothes, make-up, hair style and colour. I'll not allow you to work or train. I'll decide where we go and what we do. I'll criticise you mercilessly until you lose all confidence. I'll achieve all this through violence, threats, shaming and humiliation while convincing everyone else I am a loving husband. You'll be a nervous, depressed wreck of a woman, treading on eggshells, hoping to die soon. Lundy Bancroft will describe me as 'The Drill Sergeant. Be afraid."

Of course he hadn't begun things like this. He'd been loving and romantic and charming. A bit full on but who knew that was a red flag 20 years ago? It just showed how desperately in live he was.

So I guess the only way is up now.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 17:15:52

Yes the next target described my ex as I and you would have at the beginning.

I have spent years getting to know me. I isolated myself afterwards and was dumped by people too as I came to a realisation most relationships I had were dysfunctional. The only relationships to survive were with my children.

I worked a lot on myself and I realise I struggle to trust myself to keep me safe still.

I get pleasure from the natural world in the mean time.

Five months is such a short time. Please tell me more about the process of breaking up and finding your career at last.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 17:28:56

The breaking up was hideous and took a couple of years really. STBXH suddenly, overnight, went really cold and distant and behaved even worse. No violence, but constant cruel comments, ignoring me, ignoring my texts and calls ( ordinary married stuff, like what time will you be home for dinner), gas lighting, explosions of temper over nothing. It was a bloody nightmare on top of his usual awful behaviour.

Of course it was OW. Affair was on and off - not that I knew. Eventually after he dragged things out as long as possible he left. As far as I know he's not with OW but frankly, they deserve each other.

One thing I want to understand is why I put up with so much shit for so long? He constantly gave me just enough hope to keep trying, but why did I keep trying. Why didn't I look after myself, value myself? Why did I hope he'd stay? Hard to forgive myself for that. Because of my tolerance for being abused I really don't trust myself to be in another relationship.

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 17:30:23

Oh Rozalia, he sounds awful. Well done you for getting out that takes massive strength. And 5 months is no time, it sounds like you are doing brilliantly.

My Dad was/is a 'Drill Sergeant' only without the violence. (although there was lots of blocking doorways/fist clenching/towering over and intimidating)

My ex oh is the Lundy Bancroft 'Water Torturer'.

My Mum.. massively controlled by my father but is devoted and loyal to him. She openly admits that she puts him first before her children. She is also a narcissist I believe (from the books that I have been reading about it). So it's a bit of a confusing dynamic.
She joins in with his critical ranting and shouting at me.. 'bitch, stupid..etc ' so that's how I view myself because that is how they moulded me to feel about myself.

Having children of your own makes you realise just how despicable that behaviour is I think.

Anyway, coming to terms with it and learning about and naming the problem is helping with the recovery process I think. Before I was a gloss it over/bury-head-in-the-sand kind of girl.
And I had no idea what was ACTUALLY going on.
The biggest relief is learning not to blame myself. It was taking up SO much of my headspace couldn't get on with my life.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 17:35:08

Like you, how I get pleasure from the natural world, spend a lot of time alone and realise that abusive people can spot me. Ordinary people would probably be shocked to know that, I appear confident and together. But those people, you know the kind I mean, they see me.
Just this weekend I've been busy putting up defences against a work colleague who thinks he's spotted a victim. Sorry mate, even I learn eventually. I guess the thing that's changed is I spotted him.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 17:37:01

I have not read the book, can you please define a drill sergeant and watch tower please?

The OW did you a favour by taking him off your hands. You are now free to be you and live a different life.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 17:38:20

Yes well done. You are correct they can spot a target, I can spot them now too.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 17:43:28

"Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men" by Lundy Bancroft. There used to be a post on Relationships with the profiles of abusers from this book. With Bancroft's permission too, but I can't find it right now.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 17:44:55

I don't want to read a book right now, thanks.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 18:06:30

It was just a post with some highlights.

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 18:54:42

I found the Lundy Bancroft book extremely helpful and eye opening.
Also attended The Freedom Programme would really recommend this to anyone in any kind of abusive relationship.
Also, for me personally, lots and lots of reading on the subject was helpful in trying to understand abuse and control, and how it affects you emotionally.

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 18:58:08

A lot of it is tough to read though, sometimes made me feel worse before feeling any better. But ultimately it helped/ is helping I think

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 19:10:36

I attended several sessions of the Freedom Programme, until I started working full time. It was helpful, both the actual learning stuff and meeting other women getting out of the same situation.

I've read lots to educate myself about the abuser and the abused. It's been enlightening and painful. But I certainly don't want to find myself in another bad situation.

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