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I can't do this(16 Posts)
I’m really struggling and I don't talk about this in real life. Too ashamed. I’ve never posted this online before either for fear he will find it, but I don’t think he knows about this site.
Long story short I was groomed by my ex when I was at school. He’d tell me I was ‘different’, ‘mature’, ‘special, ‘not like the others’, that he was the only one who understood me. Also told me not to tell anyone or he’d get into trouble. Physical abuse at school too which I didn’t remember until last year-I’d blocked it out and I am having enormous trouble coming to terms with it now. After I left school I continued to see him, we ended up in a relationship with him and had children too. Relationship was abusive but it’s only been recently that I realised exactly how much. Being so young and it being my first relationship I just thought it was normal.
I’ve been left with PTSD as a result. I can’t get it all out of my head, especially the sexual abuse, some of which I’m only just starting to remember (dissociation can be a very useful tool).
Part of me wonders if I’m overthinking it. Years and years of him blaming me and making excuses isn’t so easy to change.
What would you think if your partner:
Made you feel guilty for not having sex to the point of starving themselves? He used to tell me it was my fault, that ‘men needed sex like I need air’, that I didn’t understand how much he needed it, that it was a physical pain and was making him sick not to have it. I did give in sometimes. I honestly thought it was all my fault and that he was right. I tried to get him to wear protection once and he exploded, I honestly thought he was going to hurt me.
Other times he was very rough and left me bruised, bleeding, in pain but thinking it was just the way things went, or that there was something wrong with me. I’d mop up, cry where he couldn’t see. I never went to a doctor as at that stage I really didn’t see it for what it was. I have fragmented memories of his anger, of holding my wrists down, holding his hand on my head while I tried not to throw up, of me making him hurry up (he never knew this) so it would be over.
-When my baby was 3 months old he made me agree to him having sex with other women because I wasn't giving him enough. He made me feel so guilty for putting him through so much!
-He’d hit the roof if I spent anything he thought I shouldn’t. He’d be suicidal if we were low on money. I used to desperately try to top up the account so he wouldn’t see. He’d give me a certain amount of cash a week and that was it. I did have access to the accounts but it wasn’t worth his reaction using it. He always saw it as his money. We were always struggling for money even though he was on a good wage. He'd blame me but I know now he was spending it all on other women.
-Jekyl and Hyde personality. OK one minute, the next throwing things, kicking things, swearing or else cold, silent anger that had us walking on eggshells. Afterwards he’d act like it was me overreacting. He never hit me but sometimes I thought he might. He could be very kind, caring and gentle though.
-Threatened suicide constantly. I believed he was serious (I know now it’s a classic tactic)
-Would often tell me I overreacted when he said something nasty (such as the children will hate me) or that I ‘misinterpreted’ or ‘didn’t understand’ or often that it never even happened at all. I was left so confused and again, thinking maybe he was right even though I knew it had happened. He’d also say that ‘everyone gets angry sometimes’ and ‘this is just who I am.’ He’d get angry if the house wasn’t tidy enough or dinner wasn’t ready. He'd tell me to go into other people's houses and see how they treated their wives and then I'd have nothing to complain about. He'd say no one else he knew had a house as messy as ours. (it wasn't dirty or super messy, just usual child/young family mess)
He’d sit on the computer while I did dinner/bath/bed with the kids but get mad at me for not having things spick and span. It got to the point where I’d be trying to get the house ready rather than playing with the kids just to try and stop the anger when he came home from work. I’d also often put the kids to bed early so they wouldn’t be subjected to it. Then I’d get it for not having them up so he could see them.
-Many, many affairs. Some of which I found out about when we were together, some not til we split. He’d also not use protection and used the excuse that he ‘knew it was safe.’ He’d tell me these women ‘seduced him’ and that he wouldn’t have done it if we had more sex. Told me to ‘get over it’ or he’d leave. Always he was ‘sorry’ and ‘it will never happen again’. Incidentally he hates women and uses awful language to describe them.
-Very vindictive. If someone ‘crossed him’ he’d cut them off and make me do the same. I lost a lot of good friends. Those friends and family I did have he’d constantly try and tell me they were crazy, bad people, he’s make fun of them, tell me my family wasn’t normal to be so close. I’m still close to my family but there’s a lot they don’t know. Too ashamed to tell them.
-When I’d see my friends or family he’d be so jealous, berating me for talking about ‘personal business’ (eg anything to do with our relationship or any personal issues I had). I’d be so confused, thinking ‘isn’t that what friends talk about?’ He made me feel I was betraying him for talking to anyone but him.
-Scared the children to the point where they’d help me to calm him down. Threatened one when they were a baby.
There’;s a lot more but that covers the basics.
Tell me I’m not overreacting? That this is not normal in a relationship? Honestly I’m still trying to work it all out, accept it and try to understand that it wasn’t my fault. No matter how much I try I still have that voice saying ‘but if you’d done ABC then he wouldn’t have done XYZ.’ I have flashbacks, awful memories and nightmares, dissociation, anxiety…mostly people can’t tell but it’s unrelenting at times. And a huge amount of guilt over what I’ve put my children through. They still have to see him and still bear the brunt of it all from him. On the surface he’s a lovely, funny, charismatic guy. Everyone seems to love him, women fall over him, he’s in a super respectable position and does well financially. They don’t see it at all...until they get into a relationship or cross him in some way. I don't talk about it because I won't be believed. Also because I still blame myself and am so ashamed. I have had counselling which has helped a little but because I still see him, have children with him and can't get away it's not getting much better.
Oh dear. I just tried to edit as it's double posted in parts but I can't find a way to do it?
I'm not a psychologist but I think your ex has all the classic signs of borderline personality disorder, or possibly NPD.
He is seriously a very horrible person.
Is he your ex now? You got away?
I don't know really what to say except I'm sorry you had to go through this and you are very brave. Keep going to counselling - don't give up.
Thank you. I don't feel brave. He's my ex now, he left for someone else awhile back but I still have to see him constantly because of the children. I think that's one of the worst parts for me, he had me so convinced he'd hurt himself or my children if I left (yes he threatened them too) , so convinced that I needed him that I never did.
Oh OP you are not overreacting at all. He sounds like a thoroughly vile man who is no doubt using the same tactics on his current partner.
You have nothing to blame yourself for. You were young, manipulated and then ground down. These bastards are very clever at making you doubt yourself, making you feel sorry for them, changing your behaviour to appease them.
You don't have to do any of that any more. I know you have the tie of the children but as for anything else to do with him he can go to hell. Can you minimise any further your contact with him as regards the children? Are they old enough not to need you to physically hand them over? Don't speak to him if you don't want to, just text or email.
Remember, all the shame and guilt is his. He is the twisted one who has lived such an abhorrent life. You are now free and don't ever have to do anything he says ever again. Carry on with the counselling, maybe join a local support group if you have one. Could you share some of this with your family? You will be believed. It's amazing how we think nobody sees these people for what they really are. Often people do have a sense but just don't want to say anything.
Remember, you're free, he'll always be a grubby little stain. Personally I'd tell as many people as possible what he's like, these people thrive in secrecy.
His partner left after a rather nasty incident. He was the same with her
Part of me would love to tell people but they won't believe me, he's too charming. He tells all and sundry what an awful person I am, including the children. I refuse to do that to them.
My family know some of it but i've not told them about the physical or sexual abuse. I just can't do it. No one knows really except the dv service and counsellor.
Children are not daft and they will be in no doubt of the kind of person he is. They will work it out by themselves. And you might be surprised how many other people have already done so . You do not have to tell all and sundry all the details but whilst you are afraid to tell those closest to you he still has a hold over you. What about his contact with children? He is a risk to them surely.? Is contact supervised? You have been through a terrible time with this man but you have nothing to be ashamed of . I hope things get better for you in time.
Are you getting counselling? I think it would really help you in a number of ways, not least help you to see that you are not responsible for what he did and that others will believe you.
He is a very horrible man, and it would be really good if he didn't see the children at all.
You don't have to tell the children about your ex's behaviour. As a pp said, they will work things out for themselves as they get older.
And people will believe you. A charming smile and wining ways don't fool all the people all of the time. One of my friends has a charming ex husband, but we all know he's a complete shit, so treat him accordingly. Every time somebody says oh he's so lovely, I say he isn't to my friend and their children, and tell them just enough to let them know what hell he puts them through.
By keeping quiet about him you are letting him still have an element of control over you. He is stage managing how people see him, but happy to trash you at the same time. Blow his cover. Look at all the high profile abusers who've been unmasked over the past few years. People said and did nothing for many reasons, and the abuser carried on in plain sight. You only have to share what you are comfortable with, but let those close to you know why you split, and some of what you are coping with.
Never let any consideration for him affect your course of action. Always put yourself and your children's needs first. To be honest, he sounds so awful I don't think it would be wrong in your case to be quite open with your children about him. I don't mean telling them any personal details or slating him, but don't defend him, don't let things go unsaid, if they pass on details of horrible things he's said about you then defend yourself.
Thank you. I've been too scared to come back to this thread in case he finds it, but online is really the only pleace I can talk about it and get an outside point of view.
I really can't tell my children. He is still their father and they do love him. They know no different and stupidly I find myself talking him up to them. He's told them so many things about me, including that I hate him, that I'm trying to take them away from him and so to them if I did do or say anything 'negative' or if I did defend myself then it will confirm that what daddy says about mummy is true. No, it isn't supervised access though it should be. When we went through court I was so petrified of him I let him have what he wanted, didn't speak up and didn't tell people what he was like. Given what family courts are like here I likely wouldn't have been believed anyway. There seems to be a pretty firm belief that women falsely 'cry abuse' to deliberately destroy a child's relationship with the father. Looking back I did the wrong thing by not doing more to protect them but I was frozen with fear and threats from him. I do think he is a risk to them but while there is no absolute proof of physical harm and while the children defend him to the hilt there is nothing I can do.
Maybe you are right about others knowing what he's really like but I honestly think people do believe him. I did for years. I believed it when he told me about the awful women he'd had to put up with in his relationships. I believed it when he told lies about all his friends. I believed it when he said everything was my fault and he behaved that way because of me. Part of me still does. Why wouldn't others who really only see the surface?
I've worked with so many women with experiences like yours, and have heard so many fears about the universal love their abusers inspire. It is completely normal and a direct consequence of his abuse, but it really isn't true that everyone thinks he's charming and believes his every word. Nobody is universally charming, and it's a common feature of abusers that they claim a belief in their charm.
Keep up the counselling, keep blocking out that voice in your head that tears you down, that's just him.
Seriously, one client assured me her ex was "exactly like George Clooney". Imagine my disappointment when I turned up to Court to find a petulant rat-faced microman screaming at the Judge that he shouldn't have to go on buses, because he wanted the car and the judge felt she and the kids needed it more. WHat a swizz!
What is sad is that you are questioning if this is 'normal'
I think you should try to get more support, talk about it more and build your self esteem/confidence. I know that won't be easy. How old are you? Chances are still v young to start over
I don't care what psychological diagnosis he may or may not get, he's a t@&t.
The sexual stuff- I'm sure there are specialist organisations/support groups to help you there..
You're out of it now, look forward to the future. I don't think living in the past is going to help. Drop the kids off, try not to spend time with him, and move on with your life. You know it wasn't your fault.
Hi op. You've been through alot and now he has gone all you can do is look to the future. He is a horrible man and you deserve so much better x
OP - firstly you poor thing, you've had the most awful dreadful relationship where you have been abused and mistreated, not loved. What you have posted is heart breaking.The tragedy is that it will have shaped your thougthts, emotions and expectations as you've grown.
It's also happened so early in your life that you have little experience to bring to gain a full perspective. And perhaps, most horribly of all, even abusive relationships aren't devoid of creating feelings of being loved, wanted, or cherished - if only as part of the abusive cycle. It sounds to me as if you are struggling to come to terms with some of those feelings you had while in an abusive relationship, searching as to how you might have sustained them?
I suspect the full picture is that you were given and then denied, in order to control you, in order to make you feel that you could have those positive feelings again if you did A.B or C. Let me promise you that if you had done, something else would have led to XYZ.
I'm so glad you are getting some counselling and coming to terms with recognising the abuse you suffered. Please know that nothing that has happened was your fault, and that you are anxious because you're emotional wounds are not yet healed. OP - even a tenth of what you have described reveals that your ex is one person who cannot ever be given again the means to control or abuse you and it's understandable you want to protect your children.
OP - one other thing - you said he feared he would 'get into trouble' if your relationship was revealed while you were still at school. If you were under sixteen and he was considerably older, then he is a sex offender. It is up to you what you do with that knowledge - it's a whole new thread for which I dont have the experience to advise, but his resepctable facade is a familiar trait of many abusers, and it seems it is still working for him. Don't doubt yourself - the facts are the facts.
You can still contact Women's aid and do the FreedomProgramme. Talking to people who know what you are going through will help.
You don't need to bad mouth him, but just saying "there are two sides to every story", or "I can understand why OW left him", or "daddy wasn't nice to mummy" is not bad mouthing.
Each time you say something it will get easier.
Parental alienation is a form of child abuse btw and that is what your EX is trying to do with your kids. Please listen to them and make sure they know you love and value them.
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