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Struggling to accept I have been in an EA relationship

(11 Posts)
Hermonie2016 Fri 16-Dec-16 14:46:54

I'm separated from my stbxh after 15years. We have 1 dc together but each have an adult child from previous relationship.

When I met H I was a confident successful career woman with my own house. DD and I lived happily. I was very cautious about getting involved with any man and took it really slowly with H. He appeared so gentle and I never thought he could be aggressive.

15 years later I've ended the relationship because his aggression was just escalating. Family have known about the issues for several years however recently I have been talking to friends and when I explain what lead up to separation I find myself reeling afterwards as I realise that I have to accept I have been in an abusive relationship. Maybe it's talking about some of the incidents which I know I haven't exaggerated.

I feel it's almost like shock/denial or some defense mechanism as I can't quite accept that this has really happened.

I guess I have been looking for the 'why' as it seems so pointless, why was H so angry when we could have been so happy? Everything in our life was going well, no financial concerns, great jobs, lovely happy children. It doesn't make any sense.

I can totally understand why women keep returning to a relationship because you start to doubt if it really did all happen.
Has anyone else felt similar after leaving an EA.

I am fortunate that I have a good group of family and friends who are strong in supporting me in the weak times so I won't be going back but my brain seems to be struggling to process it all.

Janey50 Fri 16-Dec-16 14:59:32

Sorry OP excuse my ignorance,but what does EA stand for?!

pklme Fri 16-Dec-16 15:24:28

Sounds like you are in a good position at last! Well done you for finding a way out of the fog.

Hermonie2016 Fri 16-Dec-16 15:32:09

Janey50, sorry - Emotional abuse

beachbaby18 Fri 16-Dec-16 15:45:30

I am still in an EA marriage but left 4 years ago only to go back as I couldn't (and still don't 100%) believe that he was/is EA!

I struggle with it everyday yet if I share some of the stuff that Happens to my friends I can see how awful it is but when you are used to it, it becomes normal! I minimise it all and when I'm constantly told that everything is my fault you tend to believe it even though a part of your brain knows that it's just abuse.

Can't help you but DO understand, well done in leaving and DONT be tempted to go back x

I also have all the ingredients to be a happy family and struggle to see why we can't be x

ANewDawn Fri 16-Dec-16 18:01:32

yes me too. 16 years with my STBXH. I'm questioning everything about him, me and everyone I know. it's hit me like a ton of bricks.

Background: EA, him 'poor victim', needy, but controlling by playing on my heart strings. Has culminated in him trying to grab my phone off me, me on floor and him on top of me. Witnessed by the kids. Still a bit in shock. Still reeling. My head feels like a washing machine and I feel like I just want to shut down.

MyLifeisaboxofwormgears Fri 16-Dec-16 18:04:48

If you read Lundy Bancroft's book "Why does he do that?" you will know whether your partner is an abuser.
Lundy lays it all out - especially how the way the abuser works is to shift the guilt to them so you question yourself. Lundy was one of the first people who said that an abusive relationship is too complex to be dealt with by normal counselling and how abusers enlist the counsellors in the abuse.

If you are 1000 years old like me you can spot an abusive pattern miles off. The actual victim (not the pretend victim) constantly blaming themselves is a classic one.

Summerlovinf Fri 16-Dec-16 18:08:20

Have you tried writing things down? I wrote a list of things amounting to EA and emailed them to my sister. I asked her to phone me and read them out if I ever talked about getting back with my ex. Thankfully she's not needed to but it's been a useful exercise.

Hermonie2016 Fri 16-Dec-16 18:57:45

Beach baby, I can see why women go back and thankyou for a warning, as you remove yourself, you tend to look back with more favourably.

I have read Lundy and he does fit the profile of a abuser but he wasn't always like this.
Anewdawn, you have described how it feels.

Summerloving, I kept a journal and stbxh has emailed me with my 'faults' and they are controlling, such as I can't disagree with him especially in front of our son, he has to be able to make household decisions solely and I can't get annoyed with him ever.
I think the reality is hard to absorb.I know abusers exist, thanks to MN, but didn't think I lived with one.It has shaken me to my core and I've lost trust as the person who was due to care for me, who appeared so in love with me on our wedding day has harmed me.

ANewDawn Sat 17-Dec-16 10:41:19

Yes I'm not allowed to disagree in front of the kids. So many parralles

Here's for you and all in a similar situation:

“Do not hold your breath for anyone,
Do not wish your lungs to be still,
It may delay the cracks from spreading,
But eventually they will.
Sometimes to keep yourself together
You must allow yourself to leave,
Even if breaking your own heart
Is what it takes to let you breathe.”
― Erin Hanson

ANewDawn Sat 17-Dec-16 10:43:20

And this:
Sorry don't know how to link

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