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Finally seeing what a lucky escape I've had(16 Posts)
I've been reading mumsnet for a while but never posted before. I wasn't sure whether I should jump right in with this post or start with some light-hearted stuff first, but then I figured I'd just go for it.
I broke up with my ex of nine years almost a year ago, and it's taken me this long to realise what an emotionally abusive relationship it was. I'm not sure why I'm posting here except that I feel like I need somewhere to talk about it, and it's been hard to even admit some things to my friends and family. Reading posts here have really helped me, and I decided it might help to open up about it on here at last.
Before I met him I was always a very independent person and never really felt like I had anyone looking out for me (I realise now that this is rubbish and I actually have some amazing friends and family, but at the time it didn't feel that way). He came along and seemed so determined to 'look after' me, and at the time - in my very early twenties - I found that so appealing. However, that gradually morphed into controlling behaviours which isolated me from all my friends and loved ones. Any time I ever had a rant or a moan about a friend or family member, he would really seize on it and use it as an opportunity to tell me how terrible all my friends were, and how I deserved better, and that he was the only person out there 'looking after' me. Needless to say, when I eventually left him all those years later, those 'terrible' friends and relatives were the first to come through with love, support and practical help with moving out and finding a new place.
He first lost his temper with me about six months into the relationship. I can't even remember the specifics of what it was about, but I do remember him telling me in no uncertain terms that I treated him like shit and took him for granted. He was drunk, storming around our flat, yelling and getting right in my face. Looking back, I should have left there and then. But at the time I was so distraught that he could be so angry with me, and convinced that I must have been a really awful girlfriend to make him react that way. I resolved to do better and hoped it would never happen again. Of course it only got worse. In the final years of our relationship I was being shouted at almost every day. I got used to being called a c**t so often that the word stopped even being offensive to me any more. I was expected to take his abuse and never talk back, and if I did I could look forward to days and days of the 'silent treatment', something at which he was a master. Every time this happened, I would convince myself that it was my fault, that I just needed to modify my behaviour and stop provoking him, and then he'd go back to being my lovely, caring boyfriend again. Occasionally, he would... but it would never last more than a few days before something I did would set him off again.
I don't really have a point to all this except to say that, for me, it never got better. Those nagging doubts I had early in the relationship never went away, and I can't help beating myself up for not listening to them. The fact that I stayed in such a clearly terrible situation for so long both astounds and, frankly, embarrasses me. I've tried to speak to people a few times, but the reaction I get is usually '... so why did you stay with him?' and I honestly don't have an answer. But I'm so, so grateful that I'm out of there now.
Thank you for reading, if you made it this far!
Well done for getting out
You don't mention dc. Are there any from the relationship ?
No, thank goodness! He never wanted any, and I convinced myself I didn't either but I'm realising now that I really do. I'm 30 now so maybe it's still a possibility in my future, but who knows?
Well done for having the strength to get away from him, and what freedom and positivity you now have away from his mind fuckery.
I had a lucky escape recently from man who behaved very similar to what you describe, no one could believe it of strong, independent me either.
What I still find amazing, from reading on MN and speaking to people in RL, is just how similar this type of man is in their behaviours, I'm still getting my head round that...though take some comfort from the fact we will be much wiser to any of this behaviour in the future.
Be kind to yourself, take time to process and heal from the harm HE has caused you and do not blame yourself, they are masters at it
Thank you both very much for your kind words.
buzzpop yes, the further I get away from it the more I realise just how 'textbook' it all was. At the time I was constantly making excuses for him, telling myself I knew how bad it sounded on paper but it was different with him because he's just really sensitive/that's how he was brought up/he's just under a lot of stress right now/etc etc etc. If I were writing about our relationship a few years ago, it probably would have been one of those posts that starts 'things are really great and I know he really loves me BUT...' and then I would have made a whole series of excuses for him. It's been nearly a year now and I still remember new things that happened and think 'HOW did I possibly think that was OK?'
It's hard to see from the inside when you are still so invested in making the relationship work single handed
Just doing that uses up a phenomenal amount of mental energy, not leaving much room to realise how many compromises you have made step by inexorable step
Easy to see from the outside, of course
Why did you not leave him earlier? Partly because he had isolated you. My dd had a boyfriend like this when she was young and it was horrible to observe. He used the same technique to isolate her from her friends and then, if she smiled at any male at all that meant hours of shouting, so she became sullen and unfriendly to try to keep him happy. I could go on and on about how horrible the relationship was but fortunately after three years the worm finally turned, but at that stage she had no friends left and she had to start to rebuild her friendship group and her naturally sunny personality.
Meet your twin op!
I was with my ex husband for 15 years.
So happy I left him.
I'm now laying next to the nicest man I've ever met. I didn't think I'd ever get away, and neither did he.
As each day passes I realise even more the gets it takes to walk away.
Hi Frieda, so glad you managed to get away. I've just done similar from a 4 year EA relationship and it is so true you don't see how abusive it is while you are living it, people really don't get that. I tell friends now about some of the shit that went on and I can tell they either think I am exaggerating as he came across as such a nice guy, or they look at me like I'm mad for having put up with it for so long. ..
But whatever, well done to us for realising we deserve better and walking away x
I had one like this too. Stayed with him for 16 years. And now I see he's doing exactly the same to his next partner.
Mine has a new partner too (a woman he 'emotionally' cheated on me with while we were still together... but that's a whole other story) and I can only hope he's learned from his mistakes and is treating her better than he did me.
Since we parted ways we have stayed in contact a little, and he has acknowledged everything that happened and apologised unreservedly for it. I have thanked him for those apologies but made it clear I'm not able to forgive and forget just yet. I think there must have been a part of him that knew what he was doing all along, even if he didn't want to admit it to himself. You don't call the woman you supposedly love things like 'c**t' and a 'fat f*****g b***h' on a regular basis and not know what you're doing!
Op this is so good to read. Im in the process of leaving a man that could be your ex's twin! Putting everything in place to leave as soon as I can. When ive told friends/family about certain behaviour, they cant believe that I have spent another minute with him. But for some reason, something has to just click, & it had to be my choice. Well done, & good luck!
Im 31, no kids, but hopeful for a bright future xxx
Well done on getting out and you really do find out who your real friends are and family are great.
You did however, suffer 9 years of sustained abuse and although you might feel out the other side, please do consider doing the Freedom Programme if you haven't already. It's run by Womens Aid and it will help you no end with future relationships.
Here's to your new life, free of abusive assholes!
Great that you managed to break away from this situation. I agree with the poster above who mentioned the Freedom Programme -it might be worth a look?
I'll definitely take a look at the Freedom Program, thank you!
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