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He's so charming with everyone else, but not me, feel so confused

(18 Posts)
LittleMissUpset Sun 01-May-16 20:41:03

I've been married for 15 years, and it's only in the last couple of years I've realized, after some counseling on my own, and couples counseling, that my husband minimizes my feelings, and I'm entitled to have an opinion, and my feelings are valid, and I'm not asking too much from a relationship.

I've nothing to compare it too, as its my first proper long term relationship, I had a short one before that but that was emotionally abusive and verging on physically abusive (he was abusive with others after me, it was only after meeting another ex of his I realized how bad it was).

A recent example in constantly disregarding my feelings is when I had a meeting with school as my son has SN and the SENCO said something awful to me about dreading teaching him because he struggles so much in class (whole other thread, and I now have various professionals on board to help me who agree with me) and it really upset me, and I came out the meeting horrified. He said I was over reacting, and minimized what was said and my feelings. I have spoken to various people since, including professionals, who all have said I'm not over reacting, and are horrified on my behalf, and are now supporting us. I've even asked if I'm over reacting and they have assured me I'm not.

I have low self esteem and confidence, a lot of which stems from not being heard at home when I was younger (this came up in counseling) and from being a people pleaser.

I let people walk all over me, because I try and help people and like to be supportive and empathize.

The counseling made me see that if someone is treating me badly it's ok to not accept that behavior, and it's a reflection of them not me. It's ok to stand up to them.

I've started being more assertive, and still want to be nice, but to also stand up for myself, and it's ok to say no.

He thinks I'm just over reacting and I'm being silly, and can't understand why I'm so stressed about our eldest son, yet when I've gone to the GP, school nurse, occupational therapy and various others, they all think I have valid concerns and I have started the ball rolling on various referrals.

Yet the staff in his work seem to think he's great, he's always trying to be supportive, and everyone thinks he's so charming, so it's so confusing.

Yet he always minimizes my feelings, and in counseling together even lied about something I said, denying he even said it, (not I can't remember, but actually saying it didn't happen) and anything I said was turned back on me.

I know I'm not perfect, and there's things I can work on, but everyone thinks he's so great, when I mentioned to one of my friends about a comment he had made, she was shocked, and said he always seems so nice.

I try and talk to him about things and how I feel but it's so hard, yet I can talk to others, so why can't I get through to him, yet everyone else thinks he's wonderful.

I have friends, who I can have a debate with, and have different opinions etc and it's fine, yet I can't seem to make my point to him without being over dramatic or wrong.

I feel so confused, and constantly doubt myself, but don't know how to break the cycle.

Sorry that was long! Any advice would be wonderful

loveyoutothemoon Sun 01-May-16 21:40:46

Sorry not got any advice but she was wrong to say that about your son, I would feel exactly like you did/do. You are not overacting.

mineofuselessinformation Sun 01-May-16 21:47:00

I had one of these. It was a combination of being a coward (so not wanting to deal with anything tough like SN), and being emotionally abusive, IMO.
We're now divorced for those and other reasons.

northernshepherdess Sun 01-May-16 23:20:47

I've still got one.
I tell him I'm angry or upset about something and instead of facing it I'm told yeah I feel like that about stuff too.
When I ask what stuff he says do I really need to go through it again. I tell him yes because I'm not sure what he means. .. He tells me he can't be arsed to go round in circles that I should know by now...
And that's it. Conversations over

northernshepherdess Sun 01-May-16 23:33:15

No one believed me either... until one day after he temporarily dumped me and demanded I go home and let him in. For once I ignored him so he tried to break in but deadlocked me out with the baby.
I called him and put him on speaker phone and everyone heard him telling me how it was tough and if I had been here we wouldn't be locked out and that baby was in that position because of me and so I needed to sort it out.
He's an absolute menace when trying to get what he wants.

AnotherEmma Sun 01-May-16 23:33:42

You say that you were previously in an abusive relationship. I'm sorry to say that this relationship may be different in many ways but it is also abusive. The behaviour you have described is emotional abuse. For example, lying about things and denying they happened is a common tactic; it's called gaslighting.

Minimising your feelings and always insisting that he is right and you are wrong are also common signs of emotional abuse. And many abusers are often very charming - how else would they reel in their victims and convince them that they are the problem?! If you read the Abuser Profiles you will probably recognise your partner.

You say you don't know how to break the cycle. I think you've made the first step already - you're getting counselling and have begun to realise that his behaviour isn't ok. The next step is to leave him (which I realise is easier said than done, and you will need to muster all your strength and support from family/friends, but you must leave him). I also suggest you do the Freedom Programme.

Good luck flowers

alaspoorderek Sun 01-May-16 23:35:05

Hi Littlemiss, can totally empathise, my DH has done this quite a lot and it is maddening and frustrating. Like you I have low self esteem and when anyone, let alone your partner pulls on you that you are overreacting, getting too stressed or in whatever way criticizing how you feel about things it is very wearing and demoralising. It's one thing not to agree with someone but another thing to disregard their feelings, the two things belong in separate camps.

As your counsellor said it is a poor reflection on them rather than yourself, just try to keep this in mind if you can.

AnotherEmma Sun 01-May-16 23:37:37

Btw, I suggest you stop going to couple's counselling with him - it's not recommended when there is emotional abuse. Concentrate on your individual counselling and the Freedom Programme.

Absinthe9 Mon 02-May-16 12:16:32

It sounds to me as if your H puts himself first and your feelings nowhere. He will be charming to other people because (i) he likes them to think of him as charming and (ii) he knows they will not have anything to do with him if he shows his true colours. It is all a front.

He does not bother to keep up the charming with you because he has you trapped. I agree with others who say your H is emotionally abusive.

I was married to a man like this for a very long time. By the time I escaped 5 years ago my self esteem was rock bottom. Still work in progress but I am so much happier without him.

amarmai Mon 02-May-16 12:50:18

i called mine Light of the whole world; darkness of his own home. After i got rid of him , any time it got tough, i just had to think about what it was like to live with him. You have another better life waiting for you. You will not change him. He may pretend to change temporarily until he gets his next victim lined up. Get help to get free.

northernshepherdess Mon 02-May-16 13:39:49

Narcissists... hump!

mumgointhroughtorture Mon 02-May-16 14:36:28

I was gonna throw narcisstic in there too. My ex was the same. He used to be great to everyone else but me ! Everything was my fault. You can never win with a narcissist!

ThisIsTheRightTime Mon 02-May-16 14:48:52

Snap, mumgointhroughtorture. On reading through OP's words the definition 'narcissistic' was running through my mind. My husband, who left me twelve months ago, has revealed himself through his crushing, dishonest and thoroughly nasty actions as a fully-blown narcissist. He had us all fooled for years although there must surely have been some good in him too, of course. He constantly made me feel that my thoughts and feelings were far too negative and that I was to blame for every single thing. I see him, sadly, doing the same thing to our children now who are, like most children, blessed with excellent intuition. They can see through his destructive, devious behaviour far better than I ever could.

Dear LittleMissUpset I truly sympathise with you. Whilst I am no expert I fear you are in an abusive relationship and as my lawyer, who fortunately saw straight through my husband after only a few weeks of representing me, said: emotional abuse is very tricky to prove but often more terrible than physical abuse.

One year on, I am still fighting a slow and patient battle. I am hoping that the one who fights fair will end up winning for the sake of our children. Despite this struggle I am happier now than I have been in years. I am slowly and very surely coming out of my shell and LIVING again. And there is much more laughter in our home than before he left.

I hope I haven't overstepped the mark. I simply wish you to know that you are not alone. I hope that sentiment has been put across effectively.

LittleMissUpset Mon 02-May-16 15:28:12

Thank you so much for replying everyone flowers and sorry you have experienced it too.

We had the counseling last year, and I had counseling before that, and was in a place where I had started to recognize the behaviour as possibly abusive, then I started to open up a bit to people I know, and we had the joint counseling (which nearly destroyed me, him charming the counsellor all the time). Then after that I had a wonderful counsellor, and while I got a lot from her, I could only have so many sessions (NHS) but I felt very positive after it. That was earlier this year, and she agreed that the only way forward was to leave. However as I have 2 young children and only work a few hours a week, it's not so easy, and because my confidence is so low, and he makes me doubt myself, my anxiety is awful.

I think the next step would be some anti depressants, to help clear my head a bit and help me cope, but the side effects terrify me. But I think I need to do it.

I have thought previously he sounds like a narcissist, but he confuses me being so nice to everyone else! And people think he's so wonderful.

I know when I eventually leave, it will all be my fault, he will tell everyone we went to counseling and he tried! But I honestly think I will be happier, if I can just find the confidence.

CherryPicking Mon 02-May-16 15:46:20

I would get rid of him first, then see if you actually need the anti depressants, or whether what seemed like depression was actually a normal effect of being abused. When I was on them and stuck in an abusive relationship, they made me feel flatv- certainly not like changing my circumstances.

ThisIsTheRightTime Mon 02-May-16 15:58:40

LittleMissUpset, my husband was so talented at coming across as the likeable, easygoing type. Most people loved him... except those who hated him. The latter were probably those who hadn't agreed with him in the past on some major/minor point and had borne the brunt of his revenge.

Nowadays I am truly fortunate that his behaviour has caused a huge rift; all our past friends have remained my friends which has made things a lot easier. I'm certain his newfound friends have been hearing all sorts of dreadful things about me over the past year.

Anyway, all this to say that narcissists are very good at presenting a charming facade. Very talented indeed.

ThisIsTheRightTime Mon 02-May-16 15:59:19

And yes, I agree with CherryPicking. The wrong partner can eat away at your health.

AnotherEmma Mon 02-May-16 16:50:08

OP, you've said you'd like to reduce your anxiety and clear your head, but you're worried about the side effects of anti-depressants. Maybe you could try mindfulness meditation before resorting to anti-depressants? I've done a MBSR/MBCT course and found it extremely helpful. You don't have to do a course though; there are lots of resources on mindfulness. If you have a smartphone you could download the Headspace app which has short guided meditations; there are also books on mindfulness which usually come with a CD (I recommend "Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world" by Mark Williams and Danny Pelman).

I also suggest you search for a Freedom Programme course near you, if there is one you can attend I'm sure that would help with your confidence and resolve to leave.

Is there any chance you could go back to the NHS counsellor you saw before? Or are they very strict about the maximum number of sessions? Perhaps if you tell your GP that you're in an abusive relationship and struggling with anxiety, they might be able to re-refer you or suggest other counselling services.

Lastly, if you're worried about how you'll cope financially if/when you leave, it might be helpful to visit your local CAB or call the helpline to find out what benefits and other support you'll be entitled to. Your husband will have to pay you child maintenance (assuming you will be the resident parent) and you will be entitled to child benefit, probably child tax credits and maybe working tax credits too.

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