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Am I emotionally abusive? Is he?(44 Posts)
Nc for this. My heart feels like it's going to burst through my chest atm, my anxiety and panic attacks have been going through the roof lately so if some of this doesn't make sense it's only because I can't keep a straight line of thought atm and am in two minds completely about if I should post this or not.
I've been reading relationship threads for a while and now I am terrified that I'm emotionally abusive, I was beginning to think that dp was until an argument last night and now what if it's not him and it's me?
We've been arguing since Friday, Feb last year our relationship was over, we'd been separated a month (not married, at that point not living together either). Things had got too much back then. I went out, got drunk and slept with someone else. Felt enormously guilty about it because despite being over I still loved dp very much.
We ended up getting back together a couple weeks after that, and I told him about the night out before we did. He was understandably extremely hurt and felt betrayed, said that I should have known I was still his even if we'd been split up. That coupled with painful memories from my past (not to do with him, I've been sexually assaulted before I was with him in case that's relevant) I've asked him repeatedly to stop bringing up, I suffer from anxiety and depression and talking about it all just makes my anxiety take over. Lately I've had the constant pit in my stomach, getting to the point where I feel like I can't breathe anymore. So I snapped and told him that I've told him repeatedly I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to relive it. He got angry and said I must have something to hide if I don't want to talk about it, that I can keep my secrets if I want. I told him that I felt like he had no respect for my feelings because of it. A few more things were said by him with me just replying 'ok' at most. When he starts getting mad and having a go I shit down, withdraw completely. I can't handle it and just feel numb. I told him eventually that I was tired of feeling like his punching bag for one night and was going to bed.
Next morning we were barely talking, he still seemed angry and I just felt worn out. I'd barely slept and had a headache, felt pretty crappy. My anxiety had increased and I was feeling constantly panicky and on edge. He said something along the lines of not wanting us to spend the day in a mood with each other and id said I didn't want to either. He went out for the day and when he came back late evening he took one look at me (I was exhausted from housework, looking after my dc from my previous relationship and headache had just got gradually worse all day) and said I see you're still in a mood then. I ignored and asked if he'd had a good day and he said "not really and can see my nights not going to be any better." I told him I'd give him peace if he wanted (thinking I'd just go up to bed and sleep) which really pissed him off. He said I just wanted rid of him, and I finally broke.
Told him that he had no respect for me, made me question and doubt myself constantly but still expected me to make him happy and have sex with him whenever he wants, that I felt like a shell of a person these days, he didn't care about what I wanted or needed and I wasn't just some stupid bitch there to satisfy him. He got mad again and said that it was me that made him feel like shit, how did I think he felt when I went running into the arms of another man so fast when we were split up (over a year ago now but something that's regularly thrown at me) while he'd been sat home distraught over me and I didn't realise how hurtful the things I say can be. I said that I'd keep my feelings to myself, I was sorry I hurt him I didn't mean to. He told me I was just going to do that to shut him out more.
At this point I was feeling completely empty and exhausted. I had no love to give him, no affection or anything. I feel empty, and he hates it. He thinks I do it to punish him, said I was emotionally abusive because I know how it makes him feel when I get distant and withdraw.
I honestly don't mean to be like that, I just can't take anymore. If I don't shut down I can't cope anymore, I need to be able to just withdraw from everything until I can process and cope with it. Today it's like nothing has happened, he's carrying on as usual but I can't and if I don't snap out of this soon he'll notice and it'll be more arguments.
Reading it back sounds daft but it's the culmination of small remarks, things being turned into my fault, me apologising for everything because in the end it's easier to let it be my fault and apologise than to actually say that I don't think it's me anymore.
To the rest of the world we have the perfect relationship, he's loving and attentive, brilliant with my dc and provides for us, takes care of us. In reality I want to scream because I can't get rid of this feeling in my stomach and I don't know if it's just me, and what if it really is my fault and I am abusive and just can't see it? He once said I was so determined to be the victim that I was blind to the bigger picture and I'm beginning to think he's right and I'm just going crazy and I can't see my behaviour is what's wrong.
Don't even know what I want to get out of posting, I just need to know if it's me. I'll do anything to change if it is, I just need to know
So as not to drip feed too, I've no friends or family here, he's always been jealous of other men and the women I was friends with did drink excessively and he made me see that I didn't want that life for me and my dc, he really has helped me become a better person. He helped me when I most needed it, my life was a mess when I met him, he's protected me from a lot and has never asked for anything in return except that I'm open and honest with him. He can be the most amazing man, and there's a lot of times when he makes me genuinely happy, makes me feel like I'm the only woman in the world. I don't think I do that for him, and maybe that's the problem. I should be trying more to make him happy because he deserves someone who makes him feel as good as he makes me feel
No, you're not being emotionally abusive. But I think you're carrying a lot of emotional wounding. You find it hard to handle. He appears to find it hard too. I'm not sure if he's being abusive - or whether he is simply out of his depth.
You need to go to a counsellor and deal with the pain of your past. That will help you - and will help you find out whether this relationship is actually right for you.
I've delt with the pain of my past, I saw a counciller for a while. It's the talking about it with him I don't like, he wants sex afterwards and he wants to know every detail about whatever's happen first and I just can't cope with that. I just realised I'd not made that clear, I'm sorry.
But thank you, I was worried I was over reacting, I should speak to my doctor about councilling again. He really is a great person, a great partner. I'm just a bit too sensitive at times.
He wants you to re live your assault then have sex with you?
The rest of it sounds like two people struggling to cope with how each other deals with things.
But that's really concerning.
Thanks Bran I'm glad I was just being daft. He just has different preferences, he doesn't do it to be mean I don't think, I just hate talking about it and not in the mood for anything after talking bout it so he feels rejected
I don't think you are being emotionally abusive at all.
I don't think you did anything wrong by sleeping with the other man. You were not together, you have nothing to feel guilty about. You didn't have to tell him but you were honest with him which I think is a good thing.
I don't like the way he (?) says you should have know you were 'still his' - you're not a possession, he doesn't own you, you were single and will always be your own person. Even when you are in a relationship you don't 'belong' to the other person, you choose to be together and respect the rules that go along with that (or break them and accept that there are consequences). I can understand why he was hurt by what happened but by continually bringing it up, over a year later when you have asked him not to, it feels like he is punishing you, and you haven't done anything wrong.
Have you thought about having counselling together/apart?
Jealousy is a real red flag for me - either leads to controlling/emotionally abusive behaviour or just wrecks the relationship as they are so cloying.
Don't feel bad! You really don't have anything to feel bad about
I'm also a bit concerned about the pressure/guilt he uses around sex.
And how he 'made you see' you shouldn't be friends with your female friends who 'drink too much'. I had a very jealous, obsessive boyfriend who became emotionally and physically abusive and he was very critical of my friends, didn't want me going out with them because he needed me to be isolated to get away with the EA/saw them as a 'threat'.
Do you still have other friends/family/work/colleagues in your life?
Sorry if I'm reading into things but just a few things that leapt out at me based on my experience of EA/PA.
He sounds absolutely toxic. It's not you.
Thanks for your reply kitten feeling quite daft now. Think I should probably see the doc, my emotions have been all over the place recently (not pg). Think I was just massively over reacting, the arguments and comments have been getting on top of me lately but like pp have said it's probably just his was of struggling to deal with things. He really is a lovely person.
We had still been talking (well, arguing) when we had split up so in his eyes even though we weren't currently together we would eventually work things out so he saw it as us still technically being in a relationship so I had no right to, and he is right. I was stupid and drunk and wanted to feel good about myself for one night (except I didn't feel good, I don't have one night stands ever and just ended up feeling worse). So I technically still was his in his mind and I completely accept I was wrong, but I've not gone out for over a year now, not so much as spoke to another man unless it's been at the check out or lollipop man when taking the kids to school since it happened.
I used to have a few male friends and he hated it and got quite jealous when I was chatting to them (never anything sexual). I understand why though. I'm with him and he should be the only man I focus on so I eventually cut ties. Used to go to the pub or one of my female friends house for a girls night maybe once a week (never got ott drunk but quite giggly and tipsy, we'd have a bottle of wine each though not always finish it (I get quite tipsy on a glass or two) and he helped me realise that I was drinking too much when with them, if something had happened to one of the dc I wouldn't be able to look after them and because I've no family here I wouldn't have anyone else to rely on either. Plus I was constantly giving money to them/cooking for them etc and he said they were taking advantage and that I was never able to say no. He's 15 years older, I'm only in early 20's so he's got more life experience than me so he's able to see things more clearly than I am. I can be really naive and daft at times, he watches out for me though and if I'm doing something daft or making friends with people who'll just want to be friends with me because I can be a push over he makes sure I know that's what's happening. He's just trying to take care of me in his own way.
He wouldn't ever agree to councilling, I saw one through the nhs a couple years ago and he thought it was a load of rubbish. Said it was doing me more harm than good and he was right, I was crying constantly because of what it was bringing up and I was more anxious and worried during it than I had been before it.
I work part time but it's in a female only environment and don't socialise with them outside of work.
I've calmed down now, think I was just reading way too much into things and was being way too over emotional. We've stopped arguing now, he's happy and I'm feeling a bit better. Thanks for letting me know I was just over reacting, he really is amazing and think maybe I should stay off the relationships board, I've read too much which has made me question my own relationship when things are pretty normal between us. Will teach me not to be so daft in the future lol
You're not his property. First thing to strike me was he said you were still his during the split. He's treating you like property. I don't see how you're emotionally abusive to him. If you're not happy and he's not happy leave and become happy. It really is that simple
I am happy foofoo, I've said I over reacted and was being daft and too emotional.
It's not normal to give up friends for a relationship.
It's not normal or kind to make you talk about your sexual assault if you don't want to.
Counselling is hard sometimes, and can make you unhappier in the short-term, but in the longterm helps you to deal with it all in healthier ways.
I'm concerned that he is making / has made himself your sole source of support.
And he is constantly digging at you and crybabying about how awful you are, when you are not. And that isn't normal or kind either.
And he doesn't own you or have the right to sex on you whenever he wants either. Not normal. Not kind.
I'm curious about why you split up back then.
I don't think you're emotionally abusive.
What you're describing in your relationship is not normal. Or kind.
Agh - the more this thread develops, the more I worry about you.
It doesn't sound like you have any friends/family to talk to - so I'd say definitely don't stop reading mumsnet! You don't have to follow people's advice and people will always have different advice anyway but at least you can raise things/have a conversation. Also lots of older people on here (I'm 40) so lots of life experience/thoughts/advice to share here too!
It doesn't sound like you were drinking too much at all, a completely normal couple of glasses with female friends. Was this when your kids were at babysitters/with him? Yes, you're a mum but you don't have to be on duty 24/7 'in case something happens' esp as you had only had a couple of glasses.
I get being him concerned about your friends taking advantage but it's odd to advise cutting them out altogether rather thanputting up boundaries around money etc. How much of that decision came from you rather than him? Are you sure they were that bad?
Jealousy about men/isolating you from friends, using guilt/emotional blackmail/criticising your life choices are all red flags.
Can you make some new friends and just be careful about that (not lending money/being too nice) or reconnect with the old ones, making sure to not lend money etc.
A happy healthy relationship should fit well into the rest of your life alongside friendships etc. You'll feel happier and your relationship will be better.
I think you know things aren't right - it's not black and white and not about necessarily about ditching him rather than working things through. But this situation doesn't sound healthy.
NB - him being against counselling doesn't make him sound particularly sage/experienced/wise - therapy is incredibly important and actually a fairly vital - or at least incredibly useful - tool for life and relationships in particular.
Please don't minimise your discomfort - you don't have to end the relationship but you do have to be genuinely happy in it. He should want that for you.
I just really don't want you to end up where I was
He made you sever your connections with your friends, male and female.
He makes you feel empty.
He gaslights you.
He won't let you go out.
He uses your past to punish 'undesirable' behaviour.
He has you blaming yourself for his actions.
You're being abused, lovely. Not all abuse leaves bruises and scars on the outside. But he is being and damaging you, mentally.
I'm sure he does his best to convince you that if you'd only be a certain way, a certain person, it would all be better. But a good relationship isn't contingent on one partner in it surrendering.
Your children are learning that it's a woman's place to obey and a man's to command. Your daughters will adapt to serve him and then another man when they leave. Your sons will know it's ok to make the person you love cry to keep control over them.
Please, walk away from this man.
You are strong, you are good and you are worth it.
I didn't say you are over reacting or wrong.
I am really concerned about his need to make you discuss you assault, then wants to have sex.
Does he get turned on by it? At the very least he has no clue how talking about it will effect you.
Were you really drinking excessively? Or is that his opinion?
Fwiw I don't think you are abusive. But I don't agree when mn'ers say that withdrawing is emotionally abusive. Sometimes it is. But sometimes people need time to process and be left alone.
Sorry, OP, this is not good at all. You should never ever give up your friends on another person's say so.
You say "He's 15 years older, I'm only in early 20's so he's got more life experience than me so he's able to see things more clearly than I am". If that is the case, then I am over 60, so my life experience beats his, and I say that everyone needs their friends and family and only abusers want their partners to be isolated as it makes it harder for their victims to escape.
And, IMHO, having sex when you are split up from someone is only your business and is certainly not cheating.
What foofoo said.
You don't sound happy, OP. I'm having a hard time reconciling all the things you describe in your post, and then your statement that you're happy.
What I see is that you are with a man who sees you as his possession. You're not even allowed to have your own emotional reactions! That mindset of his is not compatible with having a respectful relationship with someone.
I think you're going to feel as distraught and confused as what prompted you to start this thread, for as long as you stay with him. There can be no peace when you're this busy trying to figure out someone who just isn't able to relate to you like you are your own person.
Thanks for all your replies, me and dc went out as it's so beautiful today.
He has been my only source of support for a while now, (he's the only other person in my life apart from dc).
He normally only has a go or a dig about me when I'm being over emotional or over reacting to something, and Friday/Saturday I very likely was over reacting and being daft.
We split because I was still meeting up with my friends back then and couldn't take the constant arguing about it, even if I wasn't going out we'd still argue if they came over for a cuppa/I was making something nice for dinner etc. He wasn't watching dc when I went out, I had a child minder and she was always able to reach me if there was anything wrong at home and always seemed happy enough with leaving after I was home again (normally 10ish).
Not really sure how much drinking is excessive or not, I was never around alcohol much as a child and apart from in my late teens when I did get completely drunk a few times I didn't used to think I drank that much after I had my dc until dp pointed out it was the drinking almost every weekend (only one night, not for the whole weekend) that was the issue, he said most adults only drank about once a month if that after they had kids, he doesn't drink much either so thought he was right. Can't even remember the last time I had a drink now, possibly back last year at some point. I got tired of the arguments and he is really rational when it comes to things like that and I needed to grow up and it was easier to just stopped responding to their texts and calls (though probably still quite childish) so the decision was mine in the end I guess.
I don't really have much time to make new friends anymore, everything's so busy with dc and dp and work, tbh I'm not even sure I would know how to start making friends anymore, I'm a bit of an oddball.
I'm not sure if he gets turned on by it exactly when he wants to talk about it, I think maybe he just gets insecure. I can count the fingers on one hand with how many men I've slept with but he says frequently how he wishes he had met me before any other man had touched me so I think he wants sex after he's finished his questions because he maybe just wants to make me forget or something, he said something to that effect quite a while ago.
That's exactly it Bran I just need time to process, I've never been good with arguments or people getting angry with me, I start crying easily when someone starts to shout at me so I kind of just shut down for a bit, it's not intentional though. Things just get way too much and when it's been going on days I need to withdraw so I can try and get my head straight. I honestly don't mean to hurt him by it but he takes it so personally and I just really started to question why I do it. I'm not sure what gas lighting is either?
Normally we are happy and have a good relationship, just sometimes i start feeling over emotional (which has been happening more since I changed contraception) and it leads to arguments and me shutting down. I've always been a bit too sensitive for my own good, and he honestly is a great person and he's changed my life about, he takes care of me and dc and he keeps us safe. I didn't mean to make him sound bad or like he was nasty, but I keep having a deep pit of anxiety whenever I see a thread pop up about what someone's dp has done or said and I hate feeling like this. I hate questioning things because before I started we were getting on great, everything's been good for months. Suddenly it's like I've had a mind transplant or something and I keep questioning things he says or does, and I know I should stop but it sits at the back of my head until I feel constantly anxious and on edge.
Anyway, thanks for listening. My stomach feels less in knots for finally having got it out. Honestly feel like I'm losing my mind these days, it must be to much sun!
It's not you, it's him.
Your more recent posts are quite chilling tbh.
He's controlling, gas lighting, getting you to question your own judgement, using 'concern' as a cover for the control he'd inflicting upon you.
It's not your drinking thatJs his issue, it's the fact that you had friends who might just suss him out.
Get away from this man
Sweetheart, you are not being "over emotional" or "daft" or "over sensitive". You are allowed to have your own feelings. They are not wrong. They are yours, and you get to feel however you feel.
He separated you from your friends? That is so sad.
He gets turned on by your historical abuse? He is possessive about your body and your sexual past? That is completely fucked up.
He scares me, OP. I don't like the sound of him one bit.
Firstly having a drink once a week (unless you are getting arseholes or turning nasty) is not excessive.
It's total bollocks that parents don't drink. Of course they do. I rarely drink, I am in a minority of the people I know. They are all great parents, but also enjoy a drink and there is nothing wrong with that.
Most people enjoy an occasional drink wether they have kids or not.
He objected to your friends visiting at all, you think he is the only source of support you have, he makes you talk about your sexual assault then wants to have sex? Again is it turning him on? Or is it just coincidence that he wants sex after forcing you to talk about a distressing event? Every time?
He is a abusing you.
I'm sorry IDontKnow but this relationship sounds really unhealthy. I think the feels you have are normal and natural - your gut's way of saying to you 'get out of there'.
He is jealous and possessive - wanting to be your only sexual partner, getting jealous of other men, the description of you as 'his' even when you aren't together, continuing to punish you for 'cheating on him' (when you didn't cheat).
Getting you to talk about your sexual assault when you don't want to is bad enough, but then expecting/pressuring you to have sex. I can't even begin to get my head around that but it's very worrying.
He has isolated you from your friends, made you feel that it isn't normal for parents to drink or have a social life (completely untrue - based on all my friends/colleagues/everyone I've ever known who are parents), even made you feel that your counselling (which may have been upsetting - but that could just have been part of the process) wasn't worth pursuing - as that's another outlet for you he can't control/way you might realise you're not happy with him/how things are.
You will feel safe and secure in a relationship that also involves trust, respect and mutual happiness. I don't think you are safe and secure with this man as this 'safety' depends upon him controlling your life, emotions, friendships and behaviour. You will end up getting upset, or questioning him, or doing something else he has decided is 'wrong' and at the very least it will be more arguments and unhappiness.
For me, he went from patronising/derisive comments that made me think I was stupid/worthless, to possessive/controlling behaviour, to criticising my friends and trying to isolate me from them, to constantly having to know where I was and following me on nights out, to punching me and putting a cigarette out on my skin. Even after I split up with him, a year later he saw me at a club and - because I wouldn't speak to him - he ripped the strap of my top and spat on me.
I really really don't want any of these things to happen to you OP
Being in a relationship should be a lovely, happy addition to your life. It shouldn't be about taking over and using manipulation, blackmail and criticism to control it.
Please at the very least try to get some balance with some activities you do yourself - eg an exercise class you go to regularly where you could meet other women - or making sure you have lunch with a colleague or go on work social events.
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