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.
Am I being emotionally abused?(45 Posts)
My husband has a temper and when he argues, he really argues. He turns into some kind of hot-shot lawyer, getting me totally wound up and tied up in knots until I just want to run from the house and never return. I feel anxious a lot of the time, concerned about whether he's going to be annoyed with something I've done or said. It's never about 'big' things, always moments where I have 'been disrespectful' often showing 'no empathy' and being 'incapable of showing grace'. He accuses me of being stubborn (which I am) but when he's shouting at me and patronising me like I'm a child I find it very hard to 'back down' ad do the "Yes, dear, you're so right, I'm sorry, it won't happen again' routine (usually because I'm not sorry because I feel that he's totally overreacted to something and it's not acceptable for him to be standing over me, shouting and swearing). Recently I left home and went to stay with my mum and dad for 10 days because he'd snapped at me about something inconsequential so I told him I wasn't in the mood to go out and he went BONKERS. Shouted at me (while holding our 1 year old) telling me I'm a 'petulant, spoilt bitch', 'don't be f**king flippant with me', 'you deserve the shouting', 'you back chatted me, think about it' and telling our baby 'You'll find out what your mum is when you're older.'
A lot of the time he's lovely. I read websites that talk about emotional abuse and the descriptions sound awful - this really isn't that bad but I hate waking on eggshells and feeling like I'm frequently 'in trouble'. When I left him and was with my mum and dad my parents were appalled at what I'd told them and they described it as mental cruelty but I just feel like I'm overreacting, that everyone has fall-outs and arguments and that the friends I see who seem totally in love and who have kind and caring partners probably have the same problems behind closed doors.
I'm really sorry, this does sound like emotional abuse. No-one who really loves their partner shouts and swears at them and patronises them and demands that they be "respectful" and "show grace". He clearly thinks he has the right to order you about and demand that you behave in whatever way he thinks is appropriate at all times - which includes listening meekly and apologising profusely when he decides you should be told off. You absolutely should not have to live your life feeling as if you're walking on eggshells. His behaviour is not that of a loving, kind and caring partner. Listen to your parents, they're right and they have your interests and those of your child at heart.
Just the fact that you need to ask, probably means you are, tbh.
But from your description, yes, you are being emotionally abused.
I'm really sorry to hear how your husband treats you.
But I'm very glad that you have a supportive family. Listen to them!
My advice is 'Take your child and leave this man now.'
You are not over-reacting.
His attitude towards you is all wrong and it won't change.
You are definitely being emotionally abused allyouneedisloveandc
Even if your husband is lovely at other times, if you are living
in a state of anxiety never knowing when the next outburst will be you will never flourish in this marriage. You will get beaten down, lose your will and all sense of self worth.
the friends I see who seem totally in love and who have kind and caring partners probably have the same problems behind closed doors. They may well have various problems but they will not have husbands/wives behaving the way you described - or if they do they are not as happy as they seem.
you back chatted me, In a normal relationship it would be normal to back chat if that means disagreeing.
You'll find out what your mum is when you're older. definitely not all right.
The baby will get hurt from this sort of shouting and tension.
I know I have seen links to help posted on Mnet before. I hope someone who knows will post again soon. I'll look back and see if I can find a link.
He is talking to you as if he is your rather cruel parent. This is not an equal relationship. Adults shouldn't habe to walk around scared of being told off angrily for 'back chatting'.
Kinddogstail that is a really useful website, thank you. Thank you for your responses. It all makes so much sense when you type it and when people agree, but it's so difficult when you're 'in' it...I have begun to believe what he says about me, just like it describes on that link. I am educated, independent and have a brilliant job and am respected at work, so I really don't know how this happened. Thank you everyone.
OP, take away the part about your child (I have none) and I could have almost written this post word-for-word a few years ago. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for years and it took very much the same form as yours. Constantly walking on egg shells and being shouted at for 'disrespecting' him and 'talking back' - where 'talking back' simply meant any attempt to defend myself against his tirade of abuse. He would yell at me for ages, then announce that the conversation was over before I had any chance to respond. Any response I gave after that would just result in accusations of 'winding him up' and trying to 'push his buttons', so basically I was just suppose to take all the abuse and never say anything in response.
I have a Masters degree and have done pretty well career-wise and would consider myself very independent too, and like you I found myself thinking that I couldn't possibly be the kind of person who this kind of thing happens to. But it can happen to anyone and everyone. When you're 'in' it you do make all sorts of excuses and tell yourself that your situation isn't as bad as the ones you're reading out, but having been out of that relationship for almost a year now I can see that yes, it was exactly one of those situation.
What you say about your friends' relationships really, really struck a chord with me too. I used to tell myself the same thing, or try to convince myself that I didn't want one of those sappy, wimpy, lovey-dovey men anyway. I can now tell you that yes, those 'kind and caring partners' do exist and no, not everyone has these same problems behind closed doors. I'm not saying that you should never, ever fight with your partner, but the kind of shouting and swearing you're describing is definitely part of a normal, loving relationship and is definitely not something that anyone should have to put up with.
I really feel for you and hope that you're OK.
Of course he's lovely sometimes. You wouldn't stay if he wasn't.
You're not over-reacting. Nobody should feel like they're walking on eggshells in a relationship. Your partner should make your life easier and more pleasant. He should be the rock - so if something is not going so well, you should be able to think that he's there to help you. You should not be spending your days worrying what you might have done 'wrong' again and in what mood he will be.
Yes . I grew up in a house where this was the norm and it was awful
Leave , if not for you , then for your child
My penultimate paragraph should of course say 'definitely not part of a normal, loving relationship'! Apologies for all the typos in my haste to reply!
You should never ever feel intimated or scared of your partner - he sounds awful, a total bully, not normal and healthy at all, I'd get out if I was you, he won't change, this is who he is.
My partner can be like this. He can speak to me any way he wants but if I dare do it back he goes nuclear. He also talks to me like I'm a child and stomps around in childish moods at times. I ignore it mostly. He did once say to me when he had been drinking that he thinks I'm scared of him. I suppose I am in a way. I do lots of things to keep the peace but less so now we have a baby as my patience is not what it once was. At work I am very confident and self assured but at home I suffer from crippling anxiety and have no confidence at all. I was like this before I met him so he is not the cause but I don't think it helps. I won't ltb though as I love him and our child. I am trying to be more assertive and doing cbt. I don't have any advice for you I'm afraid but your post struck a cord with me.
Ah yes, I was also in the 'Well it would never happen to me, I'm a strong, successful, confident woman!' camp. It can. In a very short time, I morphed into a scared mouse, who was suddenly too stupid to do anything right, and who constantly did or said something wrong that would upset him.
What do you know, turns out the problem wasn't me after all.
This is awful OP.
And no-one and I mean NO-ONE (including you whatsinaname) should put up with it at all.
The only amount of abuse that is acceptable in ANY relationship, is NONE!!!
Do get the Lundy Bancroft book - Why Does he Do That? It will be an eye opener for you.
I also think you should contact Womens Aid and do the Freedom Progamme.
After all this abuse you will need to reset your boundaries and learn to spot red flags far sooner.
Please leave with your DC and do it soon.
The lessons your poor DC is learning about relationships is not good.
This is how the cycle of abuse continues. Women (and men) stay in these situations.
Teaching their DC awful things about how the world works and so the cycle goes on and on.
Don't put up with it.
Yes that's emotional abuse. Run for the hills, it won't stop.
See how what frieda and others went through is similar.
Listen to hellsbell and follow up her links
Thank goodness for your parents. Trust them.
I am educated, independent and have a brilliant job and am respected at work, so I really don't know how this happened. Thank you everyone.
Don't blame yourself OP
What would you tell your best friend if she had written your OP? You know this isn't right. 'Being nice' in between completely belittling someone and causing them to feel constantly tense, doesn't negate such awful behaviour.
As you stated in your OP, what do you think he will tell your baby about you when he/she is older?
Please take the advice from previous posters and put you and your lo first
Wishing you strength, there is lots of support and help here and in RL
It's not you, it's him. You need to plan to leave safely. He is scary and he is telling you about the hellish future you will have with him.
this really isn't that bad - Err, yes it is, you're minimising, classic low-self esteem behaviour. You need counselling and to get yourself out.
You could be describing my late father, though he was physically violent too. Naturally, it was never his fault and he was a paragon of morality. Yes it's abuse, despite his being nice sometimes (all abusers are, it's tiring being a screaming violent turd), and you should get out before it becomes both worse and normal. Especially if you have kids.
Your parents are right to be appalled and they no doubt know that, before it become subsumed by the catchall of 'unreasonable behaviour', mental cruelty in itself was ground for divorce.
While we may never know the full extent of what goes on "behind closed doors", with the exception of what consenting adults get up to sexually in the privacy of their own homes, any behaviour which won't stand the test of public scrutiny should be cause for concern and it very much sounds as if a hidden camera would cause your h to become subject to public condemnation should the way he treats you be exposed to a wider audience.
You and your dc deserve more than a life spent appeasing a bully who's not fit to be a husband or a father and I strongly advise you to file for divorce before he sucks all of the joy out of your lives
Yes, you are being abused and so is your child.
Join the discussion
Please login first.