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.

how do i forget the bad things?

(128 Posts)
HauntedChair Sat 27-Feb-16 20:09:02

i'm really struggling to let go of the horrible things my OH has said and done in the past, i just don't seem to be able to totally forget and hate that he thinks everything is fine while i have this quiet resentment bubbling away which makes me feel like i'm just treading water while life chugs along around me.

i don't want to throw away 15 years together and the life we've built, but on the other hand i'm worried that i'll still be feeling like this in another 15 with regrets that i didn't get out sooner.

if i could just move on in my head!

has anyone else felt like this? if so how did you let go?

QuiteLikely5 Sat 27-Feb-16 20:10:45

I think it depends what he has done and said? And how often?

Sometimes these things are just too much for a person to get past........

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 27-Feb-16 20:17:49

i don't want to throw away 15 years together

That sounds awfully like the "sunken costs" fallacy and that just causes people to make poor relationship decisions.

Are you basically saying to yourself that you've invested so much that you cannot notice your thoughts and feelings telling you to end this relationship?. This is a type of insidious defence against noticing yourself. You enter into a neglectful relationship with yourself which divorces you from your inner thoughts and the quiet feelings that might guide you in your life. In other words, thinking about what already has been may prevent you from deciding what you want your life to be.

It’s a mistake to think that the amount of investment in a relationship automatically adds value to that relationship. It doesn’t. The value of the relationship consists of what is happening in the present and in the future. The past is done. The past is useful in predicting the future, but the past by itself doesn’t actually add any value. The length of a relationship or the amount of effort put into a relationship doesn’t actually add value. If it’s clear that a relationship won’t serve you in the future, your previous investment in the relationship won’t change that.

Cabrinha Sat 27-Feb-16 20:41:23

You may not be able to.
You certainly can't unless he makes up for those bad things.
Has he?

HauntedChair Sat 27-Feb-16 20:49:01

oh god the list is, unfortunately, very long and i'd be typing all night!

but of everything, the ones that hurt most are...

waiting until i'd gone to work and going through my stuff "to look for evidence". after an old (male) mate called me for a catch up chat, even though i sat next to my OH through the entire call, he was visibly fuming afterwards. the next day he found my (locked) journals and read all of them from cover to cover and confronted me as soon as i walked in the door. he didn't like some of what he read (it was all in the past, i'd not kept one for several years by that time) and called me all the awful degrading names you can think of.
i sometimes think i should have walked away then and there, but i was pregnant and he apologized later so i stayed.

turning up at my workplace to follow me home. i didn't know he did this at the time, he told me a few weeks later what he'd done and apologized. by this time i was about 7 months pregnant and didn't even consider leaving.

when our DD was about 1 yr old he told me it was about time i lost "the weight". i admit i put on a lot, went from a 12 to a 16-18 but struggled to lose it between depression, working and doing all of the childcare and chores. he kept bringing it back up until one day it turned into a row, ending with me in tears and hardly able to breathe because he just kept saying "just accept it, you're fat as f@*k" over and over again.

i could go on and on.

i do try hard not to dwell on it all as it doesn’t help now. life is generally smoother now and if i could just learn how to forgive and forget i think i’d be so much happier. i just don't know how to!

VimFuego101 Sat 27-Feb-16 20:52:08

I don't think you should forget about those things. I think you should leave.

VulcanWoman Sat 27-Feb-16 20:52:48

I like this saying

Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.

Doesn't mean you need to carry on the same path with them though. Best wishes.

Iwonderif Sat 27-Feb-16 21:09:49

How very very cruel and mentally & emotionally draining for you. flowers

I'm not sure how much time has now passed but clearly you are still struggling. This isn't fair for you. I think you should tell him and then make a decision for your future happiness. If you don't decide to make the decision to leave you could find yourself in a similar situation a few years down the line.

Even though he's simmered down now something could easily trigger something again. He sounds terribly insecure.

MoominPie22 Sat 27-Feb-16 21:32:01

He is a controlling, abusive, unhinged bastard! You will never forget those hateful and spiteful remarks ( the remarks of somebody who sure as hell does not love you but who sees you as a possession ) and they will eat away at you for as long as you are with him. All the while he will treat you, and speak to you, with yet more contempt, especially if you step out of line. You aren´t allowed to rock the boat, have or express feelings that don´t align with his ( or opinions ) and he will further erode your self-worth as a means of controlling you and making you even more brow-beaten than you already are. Basically so that you are fully reliant on him and are far to weak to stand up to him.

This is psychological abuse, plain and simple. Do you have friends and family you can confide in? Do you think it´s a sign of affection to call your partner a ¨ Fat Fuck ¨?? shock You are right, you should have walked when he read your diaries, but I know you were vulnerable to manipulation then cos you were pregnant then.

It´s not very often I will say LTB, but you really need to get the hell out of this, esp as you allude to the fact this is just a small sample of his mistreatment of you.

Why don´t you ask your best mate how she would react if her partner treat her as yours did? BUt it kinda wouldn´t surprise me if you´ve not told anyone the full extent of his despicable and unforgivable behaviour. Staying silent protects him. PLease confide in someone in real life, even just Woman´s Aid. flowers Wishing you strength....

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sat 27-Feb-16 21:32:35

Agree with Vim, those are not things I could ever forgive or forget. We all say things in the heat of an argument that we wish we hadn't, calling the other one a selfish bell end or something, but he sounds like a jealous, controlling arsehole. Sorry, I know you love him and all, but he sounds cruel. Those are just some examples, there are plenty more aren't there?

Honestly, just because you've been together a long time, doesn't mean you should stay together.

If you really want to move past it then sit him down, have a big talk about how his last behaviour is still affecting you and tell him that all of those things (and more) were completely out of order and that you won't ever accept being spoken to like that again or you will leave him. Unless is is very apologetic and resolves to improve himself I would make plans to leave him anyway.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sat 27-Feb-16 21:33:35

*his past behaviour

HauntedChair Sat 27-Feb-16 23:09:10

thank you for your replies, i felt quite shocked and upset reading some of what you've written, but i think i probably already knew some of it deep down if i'm honest with myself.

Moomin, you suggested asking my best mate... i don't have one. i don't have any friends. i get on really well with my work colleagues but although i've been invited a few times i never see them out of work. and no, i've not told anyone.

and MRC is right, there are plenty more examples.

i think what worries me most is that i'm over exaggerating, i know i'm not but because things are smoother lately i keep thinking it can't have been as bad as i remember. but i also know that the reason for having a quieter life has a lot to do with the fact that i'm now careful about what i say and do and where i go.
so many times after he's said awful things to me, raged or smashed his fist through (my brand new) tv and i've been upset or crying he'll tell me i'm over sensitive and too soft and i suppose i do need to toughen up but it does make me wonder if i just over react.

i think i'm starting to answer some of my own questions here because the more i think about still feeling so suffocated and miserable in another 5, 10 or 15 years time, the more sick i feel.

my brain instantly squashes the thought of trying to bring any of this up with OH as i already know how it would go. i'd get nowhere.

i sometimes wish i could wipe my memory.

MoominPie22 Sun 28-Feb-16 07:11:21

Did you have no friends prior to meeting him? Or did existing friendships fade away whilst you´ve been in a relationship? Your head is trying to minimize and rationalize the situation but your intuition is telling you to ¨Wake the fuck up!¨....your subconscience is trying to get you into self-preservation and survival mode.

You will NEVER be happy as long as you stay with this bullying wanker. He has fuck all regard for your feelings and welfare. He views you as a thing, a posession, not an equal partner. All you are doing is ammending your behaviour and becoming a mouse, not an assertive, outspoken, opinionated woman who demands her right to be respected, in order to ¨manage¨ the situation. Keep your head down, second guess him and never challenge his behaviour, right? This is how you have adapted and survived.

But why would any sane, intelligent person adapt to being mistreat on the regular so that it now is the norm? Why would you want to? What caring, kind, sensitive person who only wants to be loved and cared for in return would want to just get by on a daily basis, just surviving, never actually living and feeling genuine happiness? This isn´t living!!

Nor is it a decent quality of life. You´re here cos you know it´s not right but you just need that confirmation from others to help you wake up. We are your conscience.

So why not ask one of your colleagues then, how they would hypothetically deal with some of his behaviours? Give an example and tell them it´s hypothetical if you don´t feel comfortable confiding. Do you have family you can speak with? It is a typical tactic of an abuser to isolate their victim so that friendships drift away and even family relationships fade too. He erodes her confidence or just outright forbids her from seeing people.

Please get your hands on some literature on the subject. Someone will recommend an actual book as I can´t remember the title....I think ¨Why does he do that?¨ but someone will be along to help. But there´s always WA in the meantime. You need to reach out to access support in real life.

PLease stop accepting any of this as a normal way to live. He is trying to normalize it. Do not fall for it or allow yourself to be molded into what he wants.

NewStartNow Sun 28-Feb-16 08:44:24

The book is by Lundy Bancroft and it's brilliant.
Your relationship sounds very similar to the one Dd and I escaped from a few weeks ago and while I'm still camping out at relatives and living out of a suitcase it's STILL less stressful than living with ex.

NewStartNow Sun 28-Feb-16 08:50:45

Should have said, the not bringing it up and wishing I could let go of the resentment was exactly the same. He also couldn't/can't see how his befaviour was abusive.
Please try to leave before it escalates to physical violence.

AtSea1979 Sun 28-Feb-16 08:51:45

You need to focus on making friends. How old is DC? Get out and about with child and gauge DP reaction. You will know then if he's change and ready to make it up to you. I expect not. Start planning a future without DP. Lots of people here will advice you on what to do at each step. Take control and plan your future.

magoria Sun 28-Feb-16 08:51:55

You seem to be suffering a death by 1000 paper cuts. Each one adding up.

You have wasted 15 years with a nasty abusive controlling shit.

Do you want another 15 years or more like this?

Also your DD is growing up seeing this is how men treat women.

Don't see leaving as wasting what you have put in more as education on what not to accept ever again.

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Sun 28-Feb-16 08:58:21

You shouldn't and mustn't forget about the way he has abused you in the past because you know he will do it again. What you must do is start thinking about leaving because this is no life.

pablothepenguin Sun 28-Feb-16 10:06:26

OP you talk about wondering if you overreact. Do you maybe cling on to the bad memories/occasions as they are clear cut examples of where he has behaved badly? Examples that no one could interpret as actions of a loving partner?

I thought I was ruining my relationship by hanging on to resentment over certain occasions but a counsellor recently suggested that these "grudges" were important for the above reasons - that they cut through the confusion.

I'm sorry he has behaved so awfully with you. I hope the good advice in the thread is useful.

HauntedChair Sun 28-Feb-16 15:16:12

i think waking up is right, it does feel a bit like my brain is starting to realise how wrong things are but my heart keeps convincing me i'm making a drama out of nothing. feels like my head is whirling and my thoughts are all jumbled up and i can't see straight so i don't know if i can trust my perspective. i've also struggle for years with depression, it's treated but i often relapse and worry that this is affecting my judgement too.

the thoughts about holding on to certain "grudges" makes a lot of sense though. those are the instances that i know for certain, with the benefit of hindsight, that would make me bolt now. other stuff is maybe not so clear cut. i tried to make a list recently but it just depressed me more to realise how much i actually have managed to forget, or at least bury.

getting back into work last year after 10 years at home has started to bring things into focus a bit to i suppose. i enjoy the work and have met some wonderful people who i would love to socialise with, but as i have male as well as female colleagues i'm too nervous about him following me, making false accusations and bringing trouble to work. he firmly believes men and women can't be just friends, there always has to be more. i now can actually see what i'm missing out on and my world seems so small.
i did have lots of mates before we met, only a couple of really close friends, but that was fine with me. he didn't much like them though and when we moved away it just became a difficult juggling act to keep in touch so we drifted apart pretty quickly.

i don't think i could broach the subject under the label of it being hypothetical, i'd feel sure they know i was really talking about myself. tbh the thought of talking about any of this out loud makes me feel sick to my stomach.

thank you for the book recommendation, i'll definitely have a look into that.

however.

after my last post yesterday he arrived home and i sat there feeling a complete bitch for posting. he was happy, funny and fun to be with, that's not by any means a rare thing and i feel like i may have painted too much of a one-sided picture of him.

there is no way on this earth that he would ever accept that he is in any way abusive, i can already see/hear the reaction if it were even suggested! and can i really expect him to when i'm having a hard time believing it myself? could i expect anyone else to either when i've not said a word and accepted how things are for 15 years??

HauntedChair Sun 28-Feb-16 15:19:02

i nearly forgot to say this... thank you all so much for your helpful replies. they mean more to me than you know!

AnotherEmma Sun 28-Feb-16 15:21:58

No, he won't accept that he is abusive. However, the only person who needs to accept it is you. If you're having trouble getting your head around it, this link might help: signs of emotional abuse. You could also read Lundy Bancroft as a PP suggested.

I would urge you to prioritise getting some support; you could call Women's Aid, get some counselling and/or talk to a family member or friend (but make sure it's someone who will be supportive and won't minimise the abuse or encourage you to stay). Getting support will be a vital first step in protecting yourself from his abuse.

nicenewdusters Sun 28-Feb-16 16:10:15

I know the fog that you're currently living in. You say after he arrived home yesterday he was happy, funny and fun to be with. Of course he was, even abusive controls freaks are nice some of the time, otherwise how would they ever meet anybody and reel them in ? And sometimes they are happy, when their partner is compliant, doing as they wish and living by their rules.

Your telephone conversation with your male colleague, with your OH sitting next to you, reminded me of an incident from my past.

On arriving home I picked up a piece of post from my ex, and read it out, from start to finish, to my then partner. I was desperate to go to the bathroom so just ran upstairs with all my post, including the ex's letter (just a how are you, am having a party, feel free to bring your new partner - admittedly a bit odd). He later gave me the cold shoulder all night at my friend's house, it was so awkward and embarrassing. He eventually deigned to tell me he didn't like the fact I'd gone off in secret to read my ex's letter !!

My behaviour had been completely rational and normal, as was yours in chatting to a male colleague. It is their behaviour that is so off the scale that you begin to question yourself. You know what's right and wrong, you know what you believe, but if somebody chips away at you for long enough you eventually crack. My ex had a problem with all my friends and family, and of course it became easier not to see people if he was going to be difficult before, during or after.

These people mess with your head so badly because often they are charming, particularly to their work colleagues, neighbours, and others they choose to act that way towards. No doubt you feel he really loves you, so you are totally confused as to why he says/does these things ?

It's because he chooses to, and that's the killer realisation. He's not helpless, confused, or reacting to your constant failures and bad behaviour. Does he tell his friends they're a "fat fuck", has he smashed the possessions of any of his friends or family ? Does he rage at his boss or work colleagues, and only have male friends to stop you being jealous of his female ones ? Of course not.

He's a selfish, insecure, cruel bully. 15 years down the line you feel guilty even raising concerns about him with a group of strangers ? He's done a very good job. But not good enough because you can't accept or forget the vile insults and behaviour he's subjected you to. That's the bit of you that's still hanging on in there. Please please consider what it means for you and your child if you stay much longer so that even that part of you is destroyed.

HauntedChair Sun 28-Feb-16 16:25:16

my gp has offered counselling while discussing my depression, i've not mentioned anything about this to him though and not sure i'd feel comfortable doing so. i could try another gp at the surgery maybe. or would i necessarily need to tell the gp? or could i just get referred and broach it with a counsellor?

not sure i could tell family, it was hard enough to type out and even the thought of telling a stranger out loud seems horribly daunting still.

i will look for the book mentioned. i might have to keep it at work or in my car though

i do worry so much about the effect on my DD, she's nearly 15 now and i feel huge guilt that the damage has probably already been done. she's a quiet, kind, sensitive soul and brilliantly witty, the thought of her ever feeling like this is totally heartbreaking. i've tried to tell myself that it's hidden from her but she's an intelligent girl and it'd be foolish to suppose she doesn't see that i always try to be the buffer trying to smooth things over.

AnotherEmma Sun 28-Feb-16 16:34:49

You don't have to tell a GP if you don't want to. You could ask them to refer you for counselling, which would make perfect sense as you have already been diagnosed with depression. Then you could tell the counsellor about your partner's abusive behaviour. They will react supportively as we have done (plus they are professionally trained, unlike us, so they will be able to help you deal with your feelings about discussing it - any guilt for example). You might find that once you've told a counsellor you will feel more comfortable with the idea of telling your GP or a family member.

There will probably be a wait for counselling on the NHS so my advice is to request it ASAP. You could also ask about other options for free or low cost counselling in your area. (Alternatively, if you can afford it, private counselling would be a good option as you could choose your therapist and access it more quickly and easily.)

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