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Frying pan to fire?(26 Posts)
Name changed because I feel ashamed as MN's shared wisdom saved me from a very damaging, abusive relationship four years ago and here I am back wondering where to draw lines and whether or not I'm seeing red flags
It's been overy two years since I finally got the courage to divorce (he was manipulative and used infidelity twice as punishment, rarely violent but consistently passive aggressive, dishonest about money and very narcissistic, isolated me from friends and family, etc.).
As punishment for leaving he went back on all financial agreements and left me in a lot of debt. I'm seeing that as the price of freedom as he'd have dragged me through the courts for years enjoying every minute and I didn't want DS to go through that. A very wise solicitor who saw through the manipulation straight away advised me to get out as fast as I could. So I did. It nearly killed my physically but it was the best decision ever.
Six months later I met my current BF. It may sound too soon, but the marriage had been finished years before the divorce, I was just trying to survive it and will be forever grateful to MN for helping me get out. But then maybe it was too soon given the aftershock and that's why I'm here. ExH recently messed me about again in terms of custody (never sticks to anything legal, but in a PA way that makes me feel guilty if I don't help him "for DS's sake"). So I've been feeling very low in the last two weeks, thinking he'll never stop. His GF recently left, I think that's why he's been trying it on more. Even came on to me a bit but that fell flat, so I reckon he's back punishing me now (through DS).
So I'm back here because I'm worried that my current BF isn't helping as much as I thought. Maybe when you feel at the end of your tether, things become clearer sometimes, I don't know. I doubt myself so much.
He's been ultra protective and saw through my ExH immediately. We were both very attracted to each other and it was wonderful at first, he was everything my ex wasn't: reliable, honest, straightforward, encouraging, supportive, helpful. I did notice he seemed to be cold to absolutely everyone outside a very small circle (me and a couple of people he calls friends but seemed to judge quite harshly, so me basically). I put it down to a serious car accident he'd had before meeting me and that cut him off from people, but I did have a nagging doubt that he was kind of harsh with people in general. But he was so good to me I ignored that. We did all the things I'd missed with my ex and he made me feel attractive...Above all, he understood that I didn't want to introduce him to my DS at first and respected that one hundred percent. He did eventually meet him and is distantly nice to him. We don't live together. He would have after the first four months but my ex was a fast worker too and I think that's one lesson I have learned at least.
Recently I've noticed how deflated I feel around him. The only subject that we seem to agree on is that my exH is out of order on the shared custody front. Any other subject I try to raise he answers with a yes or no and is generally dour. He grabbed my phone out of my hand yesterday and threw it to the side because he wanted my full attention (to just sit there not talking, pestering me for sex). I've noticed I'm careful to deal with all texts when he's not around to avoid angering him. He seems to dislike me having close, healthy relationships with my DB and DS and friends. Having taken ages to get those back after being isolated by my ex, I'm not willing to let them go, but I do have to watch when I contact them, which is not good I know. And I don't even spend much time on the phone.
Really the issue is that I'm terrified that I might be missing red flags and that I'm back in a relationship where I'm in a fog. He does loads of little DIY jobs for me that my ex never would do (or would half do, making things worse, and refuse to pay for anything..pure PA stuff) and is as supportive as ever if I ask for it. He doesn't manipulate me other than to go in a huff if I'm not in the mood for sex, which isn't great but he has never said anything nasty to me. Does feeling uneasy a lot of the time count as a deal breaker?
I read on another thread this morning that you don't have to justify being unhappy, that's all you need to know, or something like that. It made me cry.
Don't know what I'm asking here, maybe just for support. EA has messed up my sense of right and wrong and my parents are lovely but not a great template (DM puts up with a lot of bullying in exchange for security and I'm thinking that's what I'm doing, just in a different way as I'm not financially dependent on him).
I am getting therapy if anyone asks.
Sorry that was a bit long It's good to write it down at least.
Is he a positive in your life? Does the thought of him make you smile?
I guess not so much now..it's like having a private body guard except that it's so cold sometimes...like he has this internal list of things I should do and am not doing. I didn't smile when I thought of him just there. My heart sinks more than it jumps these days. It's just so terrifying the thought of not having him around. I feel very attached to him, but from reading what I wrote it looks more like for security than love.
You are not pathetic.
If you feel deflated around him then that is more than enough to leave. If he grabs your phone out of your hand in order to get your attention that's more than enough to leave. If he is pestering you for sex that is more than enough to leave the relationship. All the other thing are more than enough to leave on their own, even without adding them all together.
Thank goodness you don't live together. Gather up any of his stuff that you have lying around and leave on his doorstep when he is at work. Don't see him again, send him a text saying that it isn't working out for you and good luck to him in the future. Do not see him again face to face as I would worry for your safety.
*Does feeling uneasy a lot of the time count as a deal breaker?* Yes, yes it does in my opinion. Is it really worth feeling uneasy and isolated from the people who you love and want to have healthy relationships with? You are already checking your behaviour when you are around him from what you say.
If you don't mind me saying, I think you need to learn to be on your own and to realise you can do this and that actually you can be good at it. And nuture those relationships with friends and family.
Thanks Auser and Kidnapped for answering.
I have wondered about the anger thing, it's like a cold unspoken force field that he's using to protect me (and probably him) but isn't relaxing to be around.
Thanks for the reality check Kidnapped. A small voice has been telling me that and I've not being listening. I'm not usually weak, and have helped quite a lot of people in my life. But I think now that he may be a form of bully I'd never me before, one that is good to women but hates men
Crikey - run run run
Run far and fast.
So many red flags here and you have spotted them already which is good.
After your last abusive relationship did you do Womens Aid Freedom Programme?
If not then call them right now and attend this course.
You need it and you need it quick sharp!
If my OH grabbed my phone out of my hand I think my instant reaction would be to slap him.
He's like your Ex unfortunately and you know how that goes.
Get out and keep him away from you.
Please do call Womens Aid though you need them - 0808 2000 247
xpost Ernie and yes you're right and I don't mind you saying so.
There's something so unfair about the state that EA leaves you in. I came out of the divorce with a lot of knowledge but nowhere near strong enough to make good judgements.
And I admit it, the protection was sooo nice. He's helped me break away from someone who's truly awful. My BF isn't as bad and wouldn't hurt me physically. But less bad isn't wonderful is it?
Don't tell him that you are thinking of leaving the relationship. Don't do anything to tip him off that you are going to finish with him. Please.
His awful controlling behaviour means that the only way you have of leaving the relationship is by terminating all contact without talking to him face-to-face. His behaviour has made this inevitable. You do not owe him anything and you need to prioritise your own safety.
thanks for the number hellsbells I'll try that after coming back from therapist appointment today.
Yes I do see the red flags, it's just like a part of me died with my marriage and I need MN for another push.
I feel crap also as overheard my DS talking about his "step dad" to his little friends, in a proud way. I'd never called him that and neither did BF. So he wants it clearly. And his own Dad isn't a good role model.
I need to keep my guilt in check but am having a bad week after being dragged back into exh's world of shifting goal posts and blame games.
Thanks for being there MNs
Yeah, that sounds FULL of red flags to me. The coldness to others is a red flag - I bet you feel isolated from friends by it, and finish yourself spending time with him alone. The grabbing your phone is a step away from grabbing your arm, which is a huge red flag. The feeling like you are walking on eggshells is a tremendous one.
If you aren't enjoying the relationship, if he doesn't make you smile, you shouldn't go on like that. You COULD try counselling, but if I'm honest it sounds to me like it has probably just run its course, and he's not the person you need for the sort of relationship you want now.
I know why you would think that after what I wrote Kidnapped. But his anger is directed at anyone close to me, never at me of DS (worst he'd do is stonewall), and he's the kind of guy that disappears if you break up with him, no questions asked.
He's done this with everyone else that's crossed a line (exW cheated, he's NC with both his parents). The trap is feeling sorry for him (very harsh upbringing, no support network to speak of). But none of that is my fault I know.
I guess the sinking heart in my user name says it all.
I won't tell him face to face you're absolutely right. I can't predict his reaction. Even if it wouldn't be violent to me (he's said in the past that he's put a fist through a door rather than hit anyone, and I truly believe him), I know he'd take it so bad that he might have another accident.
Writing things down is so hard but necessary
after being dragged back into exh's world
Womens Aid can help you with this as well.
Sian that's exactly it, I do feel like I can't be spontaneous re my friends and family...fuck it's so obvious when it's someone else, why do I put it to the back of my head all the time and doubt my judgement?
Could this be a symptom of EA from before? Anyone else been there?
Haven't tried WA before but this time I'm less in a mess and have the energy.
Just can't stop shivering it's the fear I think as was quite warm before writing.
So glad I did though thanks all
About to have therapist session but wanted to say that this has helped a lot...it's now clear for me that I feel frightened of his reaction if I want to leave (not so much of him) so that's hopefully something she'll help me with.
We don't live together but he does spend a lot of time here and has a lot of clothes and stuff so it's as if.
Just trying to keep an MN perspective on things, which I lose in his company. The world seems a dangerous place when I've been with him, like I couldn't do it alone.
I know that I didn't used to feel like this. After separating finally from exH it was like I'd remembered what I used to be like. Quite independent and strong, not the wimp, shrunk version I became...now it all feels too much again
See those hills? Run to them.
I guarantee he sees you as a 'rescue'. He's trying to control you through physical and am emotional manipulation.
You are not his equal.
I was in exactly the same situation as you and 4.5 years down the line found myself with a shattered sense of self esteem, a very bruised arm and a custody battle. Mr White Knight is very rarely as White as he seems at first...
Oh banty I'm always sorry to hear when someone has been there too, however helpful the posts are. It seems wrong to say thanks. No-one should have to live that feeling of battered self esteem.
You're absolutely right about the rescuing and I need to learn to stop. I really did think of him as a white knight, however hard he could be on others.
But I can't bear the idea of him one day being like that with DS (with me it has kind of started, silent treatment if we don't have sex) and already he's sometimes sulky if I play with DS too much (I always try to include him but he's not exactly enthusiastic).
The common theme here is he's unpleasant to be around if
-I don't have sex as often as he'd like (at least once every night)
- I give him my exclusive attention
- If I don't reply to any texts or calls on his company
- If I help him with things he's avoidant about and could do himself
I'm struggling to find a good reason for this strong attachment I have to him..misplaced loyalty (he helped me get out of exh's control), fear? I really don't know..and am wondering after reading MN if understanding is necessary. It just seems to keep me stuck...appointment now will be back. Thanks so much xx
Please run. Do it for your DS. Don't stay hoping it will get better.
Also, it's unlikely to be misplaced loyalty and more a deep-seated believe that you are incapable.
If you're honest with yourself you know that isn't true - but Mr White Knight will want you to believe it
Ohhh, that he gets sulky if you play with your ds too much?
Look at this positively: you didn't let him move in, you have recognised where this is headed. But yes, you do need to end it.
You have picked another flavour of abuser, but abuser he is. The list of his behaviours in your last post is enough to tell me that and I suspect you are still minimising.
You don't have to figure it all out but just look at the compromises you have made to keep him "happy" and still he is cold and coercive
Stop it now, before it escalates further. Because you know it will.
AF I never got the chance to say thanks for the last time back at end 2012..I carriew your posts on a piece of paper to remind me I wasn't crazy...so thank you and you were right then too. I probably am minimizing. Focusing on the good bits and ignoring the elephant. You sais something about crumbs from my exh and here I am again and also feeling a failure as should know better
Banty that rings true, I don't believe I'm capable..I know something's wrong with all this but am struggling to trust my own judgement. Coming on here is really helpful. I know you guys are all right and counsellor agrees so it's down to how now. It's exhausting.
category yes the sulking is what first made me wake up a bit..
Sexual coercion is never, ever ok even if the rest of the time he is an absolute saint.
Good luck, love. Don't waste any more of your precious time.
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