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.
Mediation and an emotional manipulator(15 Posts)
I'm a couple of months down the line with a split from dh. 2 dcs, 10 and 12.
We went to see a couples counsellor and she was great. He was desperate to stay together and said all the right things, as he always does. The initial agreement was for him to move out with immediate effect. However, all that got slowly eroded away in the following weeks. He thought it would be too expensive, he would fall ill MH problems, my dd would hate me for chucking him out when he's ill blah blah blah.
So I came up with an option. We have a rental property. I said we could sell that, I'd deal with it all, and I'd buy a house close by, nothing fancy and he could stay in the marital home. It's a bigger house, kids settled here. He basically said no, it's his pension, he hasn't got one. I have a small one.
Then I think we kind of agreed that he would take the kids on full time and give up his job and go part time. I'm part time myself with the option to go full time. I think I agreed to this as I. So tired. But in hindsight not so
It rumbled on another week. I'm getting increasingly frustrated. He then says he's not stopping me move out. Quite different to the first declarations that he'd do anything to make me happy, even divorce me.
I've been doing some reading and have had a revelation in that he's been emotionally manipulating me. He's always Ill so he can't cope with x y z. Guilt trip. He had a traumatic childhood, poor him. He always has a worse problem if I deign to Complain. Any convo turns around to him, always. It's fucking exhausting. He's always the victim and worse off. I've been doubting myself...for years. It's like something on the tip of my tongue.
I can't look at him now without thinking 'I don't know you at all, do I ?' Then I start to wonder if I'm making it all up. He can be so reasonable. He will talk me round. I have been withdrawing for years and although I know that can't have been nice for him I think it was a self preservation thing to stop him convincing me of some shit.
It's like I'm joining the dots. He's acknowledged in an email that I won't talk to him because I think he will convince me. My immediate thought was 'why is he doing that? Is it because he can say look I'm mr reasonable here?"
Ah shit, anyway, I have tried calling the counsellor to see what she thinks and whether it's worth going for another session, or should I go to a mediator. Or cut the crap and go to a solicitor. My thoughts are now to force the sale of one of the houses and keep the kids. They should be better off with me, I think, but I doubt that now too but he's had hardly any input in 12 fucking years, now he's playing super dad
Thank you if you've read this far...
Hi Star, after reading your post, what concerns me is the comment ' he will divorce you to make you happy', I would say he is manipulating you, just playing along.
I do not think you can ever get the answer ' why is he doing that' .. you will never get an answer, because there is something wrong here... sorry to say this, has his behaviour got worse over years or has he always be controlling and convincing ?, is he seeing someone else.... when they get scared.... the lies get worse ....
Do not leave your children with this man! He will turn them against you.
Could have been me writing that post. My xh to a tee. Get a good solicitor, do what you want to do and what you think will be good for the kids. The manipulation still tries to continue but he doesn't have any control over me any more except for the child maintenance. You will begin to think more clearly once out of this poisonous relationship and you and the kids will be far happier.
Thanks. In answer - his behavior has got worse over the years. I would never have said he was controlling but since all this has happened it's cast a new light. The comment about doing anything to make me happy, even divorce me is what has really stuck in my mind. Now he's getting it all his own way. And I've let him so far. But no more
Reading up on emotional manipulators has really quite shaken me. Could he really be that bad? He comes across as soo reasonable. I feel like I'm making more of it than I should. Am l? One of the acid tests apparently is think of the reason you do things for him. Is it out of love or obligation/guilt. Sadly the latter. I'm so confused. Should I call him out on his behavior or just get my ducks lined up. It's the latter isn't it? He's being unreasonable, isn't he?
No I don't think there's anyone else. However recently he's been going to these meet up clubs. I overheard him on the phone saying ' we will meet up when you're a bit more chirpy'. I think he might have found some else to try and rescue.
Yes rhubarb I think I will think more clearly when he's out. I can't fucking wait
I've also thought about the influence he will have in dcs. Don't think my DS will fall for it but dd can easily be swayed
Hi OP. It really does sound that he's been manipulating you. I am just out of a three year relationship with a manipulative ass like that. I can relate to feeling like you're always the irrational one and that no matter what's wrong with you they have it worse. Look up about the fog (fear obligation guilt)- it explains tactics used to keep you in line. For me he used guilt, I felt sorry for poor him. It drained me to a ghost over three years, you're very strong to have coped with it for so many years.
I think the first step would to get to a good individual counselor (couple counselors can be biased into keeping a bad relationship together) for a session or two, have you been before? It will be invaluable in giving you the validation you need to believe that this is actually happening and that you aren't imaging things. That whole "Am I making this up" came up several times, I focused on one incident where I knew 100 per cent he was wrong and told myself over and over again that I didn't deserve to be treated like that. If you can get your hands on Lundy Bancrofts book "Why does he do that?" it might help too.
Personally I would cut my losses and get out now that you've seen the mask slip. He's trying to manipulate you out of your home. Don't let him. My ex played the "I'm doing this for your own good" card too, don't believe it, he's only looking out for himself. You'll be surprised how less exhausted you'll be when you don't have to cater to someone else's ego all the time.
Emotional manipulators thrive on their victims not believing they are that bad. There's no point on tackling him on it, he will either talk you around or turn vicious. Both will end badly for you and will make you think you're crazy. Look up narcissistic supply, it could be there's someone else but either way you need to cut off the supply from you.
Your kids are better away from him. He managed to fool you and emotional manipulators have managed to fool plenty of capable smart people who would be the last people would expect to be victims. Don't underestimate the influence he could have over your kids minds, he has the added trust of being their dad.
Tinz in completely right, Narcissistic supply, it will only get worse, you are coming across as you already knew but gently needing clarification.
The children need to be away from this man.
But maybe there are only a few incidents and it's not that bad?
I know all this shit. We recently both went through family crap. His db is an evil narc and his dm is borderline. He's been doing all the research. My df is a probable narc. I think dh might be borderline. The one thing that has stopped me thinking all this is true is that I think he's a good person with a good heart. He must be? I was looking at whether border lines are bad per se I was that worried about him being BPD
I've been trying to put my finger on this for years. Talking myself out of it, it can't be true. If it is, he's doing it unconsciously surely? He's desperate and can't help himself.
I've got the sandy Bancroft book. I read through it and thought nah this is not dh. Maybe I should read it agian. Are they bad? Or sad? I suppose it doesn't really matter because the effect is still the same.
He is stitching you up piece by piece with his fake illnesses and emotional manipulation.
Mediation and counselling are a waste of time with an emotional abuser like this. You need a lawyer and a divorce with a proper court settlement and please don't leave your kids with this man. He will be using them to manipulate you for the next 10 years!
What would you define as only a few incidences OP? I thought I knew it all too, I had dealt with narcissists, I thought my ex was lovely and couldn't be further from an emotional abuser. I never talked about him to anyone because he made me feel guilty for talking about him. It was when he left me for another woman (which I didn't know at the time) that I started talking about him and the little things he had done that drove me cracked.
Everyone was shocked. The little things that I had normalized and thought were okay- they really really weren't. The craziness I had lived with, I'd dismissed as the little differences between men and women. I've three brothers and not one of them would behave how my ex did.
I thought he had a good heart. But I saw that he only did things if they benefited his image that he portrayed to the public. When he broke up with me he told me that I could use the house for as long as I needed. Of course I told all his friends about his lovely offer. What they didn't hear was what happened after: as soon as I moved out he revoked the offer and told me that I'd taken too long to get my stuff out and was utterly nasty.
My ex is a sociopath so he might be slightly different from your husband.
The long and short of it though is his behavior whether conscious or unconscious is selfish as hell and it having an effect on your mental well-being, if not your physical well-being. You need to get away from him. If you can't believe that he's abusive that's fine. The fact that he's toxic for you should be enough for you to leave.
Yes long and short of it is he's toxic for me. You're right.
Incognito - I know nothing really about mediation. I assume that it's for 'normal' people?😀
A few incidents - no I'm just deluding myself. Its daily. He can sit down for tea with us all and it'll kick off usually between him and DS. He can be verbally aggressive. Yesterday DS was having a strop about something he didn't want to eat. Dh told him he had to eat it or go hungry. Fair enough. DS started saying that he'd hit dh on the head with a squeeze bottle. Not ok told him to pipe down. Dh then says aggressively go on then go on then hit me on the head with the bottle see what happens. I told dh to calm it down. This is possibly the worst reaction Ive seen to date. He can really go off at a tangent with DS. He says DS triggers him. Usually he walks off then comes back and blames me for not backing him up. I've let some behaviour go but I've recently in last 6mos or so calling him on his behaviour. It's unfair and quite frankly childish
I did 6mos of counseling last year up until Jan this year. Counsellor said leaving him could be my salvation. 😟 I buggered about a bit then eventually told him it's over around 2 mos ago
Oh yes and he has often told me not to talk about him specifically his illnesses as he doesn't want to be judged
Also we moved half way across the country and I don't have many freinds around here. He doesn't either. Always wanted to go out with me. Like I wanted to spend time listening to him droning on and not being able to escape
Stars I'm sorry that you've had to go through all that. Its typical behaviour to always blame someone else. I think it could be beneficial to go back to that counselor for another session or two.
I understand the denial and the "it wasn't/isn't too bad". Its a natural thing to not want to see the truth of the person we love or think we love. It might be worth reading the Lundy book again, ignore the non-relevant parts but there'll be help with the behaviors you can see now. I was lurking on mumsnet for years while with my ex. I was reading excerpts from the book thinking "nope that's not my bf at all". It was only after I accepted that he was abusive that I began to read the profiles and see similarities.
The not wanting you to talk about him is so that you can't be told by your friends and family that what he's doing is wrong and so you can't access support. I didn't even talk to my best friend about my ex, she was shocked at how much I was holding in and even though she's a staunch romantic, once I told her all she was the first person to tell me to cut him off. I used to so sick I couldn't get out of bed yet he always had it worse. I had a debilitating migraine he had a worse headache, a chest infection his cold was worse. It meant when I was sick I still had to care for him instead of myself, its not a life. You deserve better!
You need to see a solicitor too, just to see where the land lies if/when you decide to get away from this man/manchild.
OK Cut the shit now. You need to rethink the whole way you view this man. He is the enemy, full stop. Treat this like a war, and prepare each battle.
Work out what you actually want.
How much do you want to work vs The maximum you are prepared to work
How much do you want to be without the kids vs What is the maximum you are prepared to be without the kids
How much you are prepared to pay him in maintenance vs How much you want to be paid in maintenance. (Remember 50/50 should be a null deal - no one pays anything)
How much of the assets do you want to keep.
Stop thinking of whats good for him, work out whats good for you. Keep with the counseling by yourself and see a SHL. You are risking a lot to keep his peace.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.