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I have turned into an abuser.

(105 Posts)
scaredimlosingit Fri 28-Aug-15 15:36:40

NC for this.

About 9 months ago I found out my H was having an emotional affair. This really destroyed me, but what has made the matter much much worse is that I have become so angry.

We have been trying to work things out between us but every now and then I get so mad at him that I hit him. A week ago I threw my iPad at him and it went straight through his lip. I didn't mean for it to do that obviously, but I know that that is not the point and is no excuse.

My H doesn't want me/him to leave, he seems to not even be bothered about the hitting. And it's not just slapping, it's big punches to his face, crotch, stomach. I hit him so hard I got a bruise on my knuckles. In the past week I have got a bit better and if I feel like hitting him then I say that he needs to get away from me or I will hit him, so there has been no violence since the iPad incident which was last Tues. But me saying that he needs to get away from me or I'll hit him is a form of abuse in itself.

This is not like me at all, before this happened I never hated anyone, never hit a single person in my life. I know that even though the sexes are reversed from the norm that this is still domestic violence, and I'm disgusted with myself. I am due to see a counsellor next week who I hope will help me deal with my anger but I worry that I'm irredeemably broken now.

Does anyone have any experience of either abusers (or themselves as abusers) coming back from this and becoming 'normal' - for want of a better word - again?

Sl0wlyGoingINSAINIA Fri 28-Aug-15 15:51:58

You need to leave and get some type of counselling. I doubt there is any way to can both be together again.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 28-Aug-15 15:55:19

Deal with your anger, and the outcome of your anger should abate (i.e. you should stop feeling the need to hit people).

However, it's going to take some doing to deal with your anger with your H over this affair, by the sound of it. Do you want to work it out? your anger is clearly punishment for him hurting you, and you're taking it to a violent extreme that is disgusting you - but do you think that you're going to ever stop being angry with him? Because I don't know that you will.

You are not irredeemably broken - you will stop the violence - but you may never be able to mend this relationship. ANd I think he should move out.

moopymoodle Fri 28-Aug-15 15:56:47

I agree you need to leave.

CiderwithBuda Fri 28-Aug-15 16:01:20

A friend went through similar. Her DH had an affair. She hit him a couple of times. She is really normally aggressive in any way. They had counselling. I'm not sure if she had counselling alone but once she had all the anger out it of her system - which came about with lots of honest talking - it never happened again.

You need an outlet for your anger. You def need counselling both together and separately.

emotionsecho Fri 28-Aug-15 16:01:35

Irrespective of your statement "My H doesn't want him/me to leave" one of you has to, the situation will get worse if you remain together as he is a convenient punching bag for you to vent your frustrations and anger on.

You need space and time apart whilst you go through counselling. I believe your dh also should access counselling separately as it seems he is prepared to accept your violence as justified punishment for what he did.

This is so unhealthy mentally and physically for both of you if you don't part and individually address the issues the damage both psychological and physical will be long lasting and possibly permanent.

CiderwithBuda Fri 28-Aug-15 16:01:52

Sorry should read my friend is NOT normally aggressive!

Waltermittythesequel Fri 28-Aug-15 16:02:40

You need to leave.

You absolutely do not have the right to hurt him no matter what he's done and you know that.

I don't know if you're irredeemably broken. I know that I would be advising a friend never to get into a relationship with you.

I don't think that abusers change their spots.

That all being said, you aren't making excuses and you are seeking help and that's a good thing.

But, he's cheating on you, you're hitting him...I don't think this relationship is destined to be good for either of you.

Thelushinthepub Fri 28-Aug-15 16:11:08

You both want to work it out so I would put a time frame onto it. I can understand why you are hitting out- extreme anger and frustration they you aren't venting properly. But you know you can't continue to do it.

If you stop hitting him and he is eager to sort this out I think you can get back from this. Very few people admit to it but I think this is far more common than you might realise. BUT it does need to stop. In all honesty posting this on MN may not be the wisest move but I hope you both ultimately recover

Rarity08 Fri 28-Aug-15 16:14:11

You need to get help for your anger/violence. In the meantime you need to seperate.

RomiiRoo Fri 28-Aug-15 16:44:39

Not condoning the hitting at all, but taking this sentence that your husband does not want you or him to leave.

Going back nine months, when you found out, what happened then? Did you ask/want him to leave? See, at this point - and even now - you do have the choice to leave.

If you feel like hitting/screaming/whatever, it is up to you to remove yourself from the situation. Go out the door and walk around until your anger has diffused or something. But beyond that, work out what YOU want to do, because it is clear that staying in the same house as him is destructive.

FWIW, I think you have a right to be angry and feel betrayed, but the issue is how you are expressing it - and if I were you, I would be asking myself if it was because I felt trapped in a situation I couldn't cope with.

Whatifitoldyou Fri 28-Aug-15 16:45:25

Having been in your shoes I think the way you are feeling is perfectly normal. However acting on it is not. It's good you are seeing a counsellor , they should help you to express your anger and grief in a healthy way. Discovering infidelity is a trauma and can cause ptsd symptoms

RachelZoe Fri 28-Aug-15 17:18:46

You need to leave and end this relationship. He probably doesn't want to split up because he's used to it/stockholm syndrome and all that, you only have to read through the threads on here to see why people stay with people like you.

It's great you're getting counselling, anger management can be very effective and will work if you're committed to changing which it sounds like you are so that's positive. Yes what he did was wrong, but this is next level stuff. You can try to recover and start again with someone else and so can he.

BolshierAyraStark Fri 28-Aug-15 17:40:14

No, you aren't broken & I really feel for you.
Ask him to leave & deal with your issues through the counselling, once this is done you can then decide if you want to continue with the marriage. Personally I wouldn't, he cheated & your reaction would indicate you can't forgive this.

Lovelydiscusfish Fri 28-Aug-15 17:43:18

You need to leave, and not be in a relationship with anybody unless and until you can resolve your very serious problem.

I think his infidelity is in many ways a red herring, apart from the fact that it was the initial trigger for your behaviour. Plenty of people have partners who cheat on them, they may or may not choose to stay with them and try to work on it, but the vast majority of them do not become violent abusers. I do think it's significant that you are describing, not a one-off outburst of rage, but what sounds like a persistent pattern of abuse. What he has done in no way justifies or explains your actions. I think you realise that, anyway.

Good luck, I hope you can get better, and I hope your partner is ok and can recover from this experience in time, as well.

googoodolly Fri 28-Aug-15 18:26:35

You need to leave. Move out and deal with your anger. Your DH should probably also get some individual counselling because his reaction to your abuse isn't natural, either.

I also don't think you should get back together. It doesn't matter that he had an emotional affair - lots of people do but that doesn't mean you get to use your partner as a punching bag.

featherandblack Fri 28-Aug-15 19:07:30

I think you've been given shit advice on this thread. Remember the relationships board is peopled many by posters who've escaped from abusive relationships. There are a lot of threads on other parts of mumsnet about the slanted advice this can produce. In essence, you are only saying what everyone would think; this has to stop. Saying you are are now 'an abuser' is not a helpful label unless it was necessary for you to see how serious this is. It's clearly not necessary. So I would forget the abuser label for now.

You don't talk about your mental and emotional state but your username suggests it's not good. Without excusing what's happening (I know you wouldn't believe me if I did), this seems more complex than the monster who knocks their partner around because it's fun and they always have. You need to cover all the bases and look seriously at the possibility that depression is also at play. The symptoms can include angry behaviour that is unrestrained in a way that isn't normal for the person in question. If it's part of the picture, it needs to be addressed. I do think, for both your sakes, it might be helpful to take a few weeks apart. You're probably experiencing a very physical and emotional reaction to him out of habit now and it's taking a very high toll on both of you in terms of the way you see yourselves and the relationship. Give yourselves a chance to breathe and think. It might be easier to say what you need to say, and think honestly about whether you still want to be with him, without the constant pressure to 'work it out' before you become intensely angry again. It would also give your counsellor a chance to catch up and do something helpful with you before things have continued to gather speed and gone goodness knows where. For your partner, it might be kind to give him a chance to evaluate what's happened away from the situation, where he could think about leaving without fear of provoking another incident if he did.

I'm not a professional so this is purely armchair psychology but possibly worth a mention. When we feel rage, it can be because we're terrified that our needs are not going to be met/aren't being met. With your counsellor, it might be helpful to think about why you're so frightened and angry, and whether or not those needs have a realistic prospect of being met by your partner, or by any partner.

FWIW, your partner sounds extremely penitent. Perhaps too penitent. Anyone who wasn't very committed to being with you would have left. Commitment is lovely but your behaviour is causing it to be a trap for you both. Walk away, for a few minutes or forever, whatever it takes, rather than let someone's love for you be the cause of one more bruise. He already knows that he hurt you first and he clearly sees something beautiful in you, and you in him - hang onto that. I think you sound decent, for what it's worth.

RachelZoe Fri 28-Aug-15 20:18:05


Saying you are are now 'an abuser' is not a helpful label unless it was necessary for you to see how serious this is. It's clearly not necessary. So I would forget the abuser label for now.

Bust she is an abuser, she isn't being self derogatory, she is abusing her partner, she can't get better unless she confronts what is happening.

more complex than the monster who knocks their partner around because it's fun and they always have.

Domestic abuse is always complex, and people who abuse their partners always need psychological help most do not find it "fun at all", very, very few people are inherently cruel like that. The domestic abuser comes in many guises, including women.

When we feel rage, it can be because we're terrified that our needs are not going to be met/aren't being met.

We feel rage for many different reasons, that is for the counselor and OP to figure out, she could be scared and have past attachment issues that have flared up in the wake of his betrayal, she could also be someone who just thinks it's her right to knock her partner around because she was betrayed.

MetallicBeige Fri 28-Aug-15 20:23:36

Yy RachelZoe.
It's a tired cliche but if the genders were reversed would folk be so quick to minimise and excuse and cast off the abuser label? I think not.

OP the relationship isn't healthy, you know that, if you stay and carry on with this you'll destroy yourself as well as your dh. Whatever the future outcome you really should have space from one another in order to work on your issues independently of each other and make your decisions from there.

Skiptonlass Fri 28-Aug-15 20:39:08

Op, what worries me is that you're aware of the behaviour but unable to stop it. You're physically abusing your partner and he's stuck in some awful dynamic whereby he isn't leaving (whether temporarily or permanently.) you're unable to control your anger. For those saying he shouldn't leave, I'd ask you to consider what would happen if in your next rage, you pick up a knife rather than an iPad.

I think many men who are physically abused by their partners don't leave because there's this attitude that DV is something that only happens to women - men feel like 'she can't really hit hard' ' I mustn't hit a woman' etc. a good friend of mine was beaten by a girlfriend in university. when people eventually realised what was happening we saw some very odd reactions - hit her back/you wimp, etc etc. not the same reaction you see when the genders are reversed.

domestic violence, regardless of who's hurting whom, is a massive problem. You need to step away here and get professional help. He needs to get professional help as well. Only then will you be able to assess whether you have a future together.

Twinklestein Fri 28-Aug-15 21:05:30

Hi OP,

You might contact Respect:

They run courses for DV perpetrators. They have a phone line, so you could just talk to someone first. They also provide support for male victims of DV.

I'm sure they'd be able to help you understand your behaviour and change it.

Rebecca2014 Fri 28-Aug-15 21:35:27

Yes please do get counselling. Even if he had physically cheated on you, he does not deserve to be hit repeatedly every time your angry. Its like you have both normalised this behaviour as he cheated, but if you chose to stay then you need to forgive and move on from the anger.

I wouldn't want to be in an relatimship where I am constantly tempted to hit my partner...what a horrible way to live.

springydaffs Fri 28-Aug-15 22:00:34

I'm with featherandblack on this. I think there's a lot of kneejerk judgement going on here - I think bcs this is way out of the experience of the majority; though I also think this is far more common than people realise.

What op is doing is a world away from the abuser who hits to control. A woman hitting a man is also very different from a man hitting a woman, though of course she can inflict real harm. I doubt very much if op would 'pick up a knife' in her rage.

Imo (armchair) op's pain is unendurable and she is lashing out in immense fear in a primal way, literally bcs she feels her life is being extinguished. There is a great deal of terror in this form of abuse.

But abuse it is and op knows that. You must get apart for a period of time op. He has to understand that and you must separate for now. You need some intensive work to unlock the primal fear that has been triggered by his betrayal. He may think you hitting him is just, that he deserves it and it's a kind of purging, but it is actively harming you both (in different ways imo) and is not in any way productive. You need to be apart, meeting only in public places for the time being, while you work on yourself.

RachelZoe Fri 28-Aug-15 22:18:01


What op is doing is a world away from the abuser who hits to control.

No, it is not. People say this under the guise of "I just lost it" but violence is almost always about control "you have done something I don't like, you're doing something I don't like so I'm going to be violent and maybe you will stop", how is that not control? Behaving in a threatening way is always about controlling the situation.

How do you know she wouldn't reach for a knife? Shes been deliberately punching her partner in the crotch/stomach/split his lip right open. It's not so far away.

springydaffs Fri 28-Aug-15 22:30:53

Rachel, I don't know if you have a vested interest in this but imo, yes, this is very different from an abuser who hits to control and dominate.

You had already made your points clearly and I have made mine. I have qualified my points by saying they are imo. You categorically believe op should be castigated and I don't. Repeating your points doesn't help the op, only satisfies your need to be right imo. It doesn't matter who is right, only that op gets the help she needs at an intense time of crisis in her life.

In short, wind it in. There a rl posted here, a rl marriage, not a debate.

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