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Consecutive abusive relationships or am I the problem?

(11 Posts)
queenofbaddecisions Fri 26-Feb-16 19:58:18

Have been on mumsnet for a couple of years, have posted under various names. Am now at a real low point and very confused as I don't know if the way I feel is due to my circumstances, my last relationship or if I am an awful person and am just realising this.

I left my marriage a year ago. My h I believe was emotionally, financially and sexually abusive. I am starting to doubt myself as I am at such a low point now that I am wondering if I left him for the wrong reasons and he's actually the good guy here and there's something wrong with me. I left him because the marriage was not working well, I was unhappy and felt trapped, I didn't want to bring up my dcs with us as a role model and we had majorly different views on the future/ life/ aspirations etc. It felt like in the beginning he presented a really false impression and he made me very dependent on him in many ways so that I felt like I couldn't manage without him. That said financially I contributed far more and earned far more. We are different nationalities and I live in his country. He was at times aggressive, not violent but would shout and get very angry, he also would grab me a lot in a sexual way, push for sex and not really care if I was into it or not.

However, I left him when I met another man. This man was British and I felt such a better, closer connection to him and fell into a state of I guess limerence. So I took my dcs aged 18 months and 3.5 years, rented a flat and felt a renewed sense of independence and almost elation. I truly believed I had done the right thing and felt like I was in love with OM. OM had issues and blew hot and cold and actually really fucked with my head. I believed I was going to 'save' him or something and that if I just 'loved him enough' he would be secure and transform into Mr Perfect Partner. What a crock of shit.

I think that this man has been really messing with my head and now has actually made it so that my life is really in a horrible state. I have major issues with people at work as a result of his meddling and he has gone between putting the blame for everything on himself to basically saying that I am a really shitty person. I have started to completely doubt myself.

I have been having psychotherapy for a few months to try and work through my issues, I clearly need to stop the going from relationship to relationship cycle that I have been playing out my whole adult life.

I am very stressed about my future and my life as am not sure if I'll be able to get away from this country but it is not a good place to live or bring up children. I feel like I need to be close to my family but then I am also aware that at least some of the issues that have led me to get into relationships like these, must stem from my own parents, so by moving back to be near them I may end up even more unhappy.

I don't have any real friends, I don't know if I did before or not as this man I have been involved with has made me feel that everyone I knew is fake and backstabbing and out to make my life a misery.

I feel like I have nowhere to go and no-one to turn to and so I think I have brought this upon myself and feel almost paralysed by fear and unhappiness. It has crossed my mind to get back with my h who still wants to be with me and the children. But I know I don't want that really. But I feel so guilty towards the dcs as they would love to have him around all the time and yet I am wanting to take them far away from him.

I also moved back to the family home a couple of months ago, h moved out, but since being back I feel worse than ever, I am isolated and have problems to do with the house and I have to depend on h for help with certain things. This has set me back and the dynamics have changed and I am not as empowered as I was. I had to move back to save money but I regret it right now. There is more space for the dc though so it is possibly better for them. OM was not involved with the dc at all but obviously all this crap is affecting me and I feel terrible about that as it's not fair on them. My therapist says it's been a coping mechanism so maybe that's why I feel so desperate now.

I feel like I want someone to tell me what to do. At the moment I am just existing, going to work, trying to make my time with my dc good and keep on top of things. I am exhausted and emotionally wrung out. I need to rebuild myself and my life but I think I must have terrible decision making abilities and just keep getting into a deeper mess.

RiceCrispieTreats Fri 26-Feb-16 20:19:20

I think you need to order your priorities. Right now, I would suggest you deal with the practicalities, and the self-care that will get you through it. You are right to focus on work, time with kids, and keeping on top of things. Get the ball rolling on divorce and moving, if that's the direction you're heading in. Eat well, sleep, take some time to exercise and socialise in order to stay sane.

As for your Q of whether it's you: these men choose their own behaviour. It is not acceptable behaviour. But you do have a pattern of self-doubt that allows you to enter, and stay in, relationships with people who don't show you basic respect. That's something for you to examine, with a therapist, and through reading and talking to others in a similar position (eg the Emotional Abuse thread here is a good support group).

But please focus on getting yourself and the kids in a sustainable, stable place as a priority.

something2say Fri 26-Feb-16 20:25:15

I think.....take a break.

Just live your life. Go to work. Work hard, come home, parent, enjoy your home.

It is not you. I promise. It is not any of us. But you do need, I believe, some space. Maybe a whole year without dating anyone. Just settle down and be quiet and listen to your thoughts.

Carry on with the psychotherapy and get to know yourself. Your history, how it has shaped you, what you want from life, who you are. That's all for now X you will be fine xx

queenofbaddecisions Fri 26-Feb-16 20:34:22

Thank you both, I welled up reading those messages, to hear some kind words right now really means a lot.

springydaffs Fri 26-Feb-16 20:34:49

You're in the early days of therapy - it'll take a while for this story to unfold, all the stands that have got you to this point. Therapy is often a major archaeological dig so hold on, things will gradually become clearer.

Meanwhile, great advice from Ricecrispie to put in place the practical basics. I don't know if it's possible to get your own place with the kids, knocking both men on the head and shutting the door? It'll be good for the kids as much as anything and that's the important thing, the priority (as I'm sure you realise).

Try to accept the position you are in now - scrabbling to get out (right now!) doesn't help. Accept things are choppy at the mo. They won't always be but they are now. Give yourself a break, a lot of influences have gone into this end result, not necessarily your fault at all. Time will tell on that, try to wait patiently as you progress through therapy excavation.

queenofbaddecisions Fri 26-Feb-16 20:58:15

I could get my own place but it would mean moving again, which I would feel bad for the kids about, and we own this house so no rent to pay which does make it a lot easier financially. What I can do is try to find a maintenance person to call on for problems rather than h, that was my plan originally but with one thing and another I didn't do that and he starting worming back in.

I have become very run down lately so have appreciated his involvement with dc. But I think if I cut out the energy drain of the OM and as summer comes along and things seem brighter hopefully I will feel more energetic and positive. My 2 year old is still breastfeeding like a demon and nights have been pretty bad recently.

I have the first divorce hearing in April and that will tell me how things will pan out next to some extent. I can't do anything about that right now though so yes I do have to accept the current situation. I really really want to keep the OM firmly blocked out but he has a great ability to reel me back in and I live in hope that he will not want to reel me back again but every time it seems to happen again. He's not even here, he lives far far away now. I've blocked him on skype and facebook but he's visiting here next weekend and I don't know how I'll manage to not get sucked back in.

RiceCrispieTreats Fri 26-Feb-16 22:14:14

I really really want to keep the OM firmly blocked out but he has a great ability to reel me back in and I live in hope that he will not want to reel me back again but every time it seems to happen again. He's not even here, he lives far far away now. I've blocked him on skype and facebook but he's visiting here next weekend and I don't know how I'll manage to not get sucked back in.

You are not helpless: your feelings about the OM and the vulnerability he's able to exploit are real, but you can still choose your actions. It's possible to feel tempted, but to stay away. Be busy. Have other plans. Prepare fallback topics for you to think about when your mind strays. You can do this.

HowLongIsTooLong Fri 26-Feb-16 22:19:07

I feel that I have experienced some similar things. Like you, I was living in my ex-partner´s country and feeling trapped and dependent and trying to discuss how I felt was like talking to a brick wall. Mind you, our relationship had changed beyond all recognition at that point, and he was verlally aggressive and unreasonable to boot, workaholic yet lazy in the home and basically I did not love him anymore. We tried couple therapy but our ship had sailed, basically. We were entangled for ages afterwards, and it is only now, that I have left his country, that I feel more able to be myself. In terms of OM, I too, a relatively short time after my separation, while I was still raw, jumped into the arms of a British man. It felt such a relief for a while to be with someone who seemed sensitive and "got" me. Similar, to what seems to have happened to you, he blew hot and cold and rapidly revealed that he has a lot of issues. Why I didn´t end it early on whe all the signs were already there. Like you, I have a history of jumping from one relationship to another. Recently I found the strength to end it as there was so much dysfunctionality and a drink probem emerged and it had all been messing with my head too much, while I need the energy for my two children. It really takes ages to get over abusive relationships (before I was with the father of my children I spent many years in and out of an emotionally abusive relationship).

Just want to say that remember it is YOU who make the decisions now. Say OM is in town and wants to see you, you can decide not to see him because you can probaby predict how it will go and you know it´s not healthy for you. Don´t be afraid to say how you feel and emphasise what you need. I have just discovered how liberating this freedom is.Some troubled people will try and tell you you are a shitty person, but in that case why would you want to hang out with them? Would you put up with friends talking to you in this way?
Having spent years responding and being at the beck and call of my unsupportive partners´ unreasonable) demands I have just discovered that actually I can start making my own choices. I need time on my own to be sure who I am and what I want and need, rather than being told this by others. When I waver, I ask myself "what have you learnt from what happened before?" If you stay in something you know feels wrong, you know where it will lead: nowhere good.

I agree with other posters - just take a break and live one day at a time. Try not to stress about the future (though I know this is hard, having dealt with lawyers and an international move back home on my own with the kids). Look after your health and try and get as much sleep as you can. This situation won´t last for ever. You need restorative energy to care for your children and to take steps to improve your situation. You are probably right that your family has partly shaped what you are, but good therapy can help with this, aid you in figuring out your journey to here, and what will be the next best steps. Just don´t ever blame yourself for everything. Responsibilise these men for their own behaviour. Good luck x

BigQueenBee Fri 26-Feb-16 22:33:31

You wont find happens or validation fro another person. You need to be happy, grounded and confident before you even begin to look for a lover.
If you are presenting yourself as " damaged" goods I'm afraid you are a sitting duck.

queenofbaddecisions Sat 27-Feb-16 07:02:24

Thank you, you are right. I feel like I'm starting to realise that I have the power to choose my actions as you said RiceCrispieTreats. It seems completely ridiculous to listen to someone else's opinion or thoughts more than your own yet that is what I have been doing. I feel like it's one step forward and two back though, I'll be feeling much stronger and resistant but then I'll let my guard down and it all spirals out of control again.

HowLong, there's a lot of similarities there, thank you for sharing your experience. Yes I have a long way to go in terms of freeing myself from this situation and I need stamina to deal with that. My current state of mind is really detrimental to me but until I properly cut out this man I am going to be in flux and I am weakened by this.

Yes BigQueenBee, I am definitely in need of time alone to become happy and strong on my own. I had no idea how attractive to a certain kind of man I am presenting myself. I feel like I'm learning the hard way things that I should have known far earlier. These men both bigged me up with how strong and independent I am at first and then reduced me to a pathetic wreck over time. I get far too involved too quickly and I let the relationship take over far too much.

springydaffs Sun 28-Feb-16 09:57:34

I hope you got to go away this w/e? Sometimes there's nothing for it but to remove ourselves from temptation. Rome wasnt built in a day.

I wouldn't put all the blame at your door btw. With the right (healthy) man you could be all those things and it wouldn't be a problem ; part of jockeying into position at the beginning, possibly making some mistakes etc. Were none of us perfect.

What I would think is making you ' attractive ' to an abuser is your history - probably unresolved. Ie it's happened before. That's what therapy is for: to painstakingly go over old ground and unearth some faulty thinking and beliefs. Imo some of this thinking is so deeply buried we don't even know it's there.

I say this bcs I'm concerned you may navel gaze too much and not get to live, spread out, enjoy yourself. Yy we all want to get control of faulty behaviour that causes us pain but, again, Rome etc ; leave much of that to the therapy hour and don't forget to kick back and enjoy your life. A lot of your life is good and you are on the right tracks ; don't let this overshadow what is good.

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