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How do I hold onto my truth?

(16 Posts)
BlankTVscreen Tue 24-Jan-17 22:45:28

I'm trying to process things from my fairly recent split from exp.

He was emotionally abusive, verbally abusive, occasionally physically abusive and sexually abusive. We have DC who have all at one point or another witnessed one or more of these types of abusive behaviour.

Following split social services got involved and carried out an assessment. I just got the report from that and in it eldest DC told them that he was scared when he heard mummy and daddy fighting and thought that we were going to kill him in his bed.

My heart is breaking that I kept this little boy in this horrible situation and didn't even recognise it for what it was, for years. He was showing signs of distress - low self esteem, talking about self harm, behaviour problems, anxiety for years and I looked just about everywhere for an explanation and to try to get him help except where the problem actually was.

In the last months of the relationship exp would physically force me to kiss him, in front of the DC, saying it was important for them to see us 'expressing affection'. He would pin me against something, or block my path out of a room and hold my arms saying I couldn't go until I had kissed him 'properly' - a peck on the cheek or even the lips wasn't enough - it had to be with tongues or he wouldn't let me go. He would force my face towards his. I tried to push him away and break free. He did this deliberately in front of the children. He wanted them to see it. That's not right.

He is now saying that I was abusing him. He is not acknowledging anything, outright denying it. He is denying eldest DC who told social workers that daddy hurt him. Saying DC 'misinterpreted' play fighting. But if it hurts someone it's not playfighting anymore is it? That's the point that an adult should not get to, and if they do by accident then they should stop immediately and apologise - not try to blame the child and then do it again.

He is continuing the gaslighting he did throughout the relationship from a distance. How do I hold onto my truth (the truth). I can feel the fog creeping back. I want to keep it out and stay strong for the DC.

I'm on waiting list for specialist DV counselling. I don't know what to do in the meantime. It's hard to speak in detail to friends or family. I find it hard to say these things irl because they make me cry and it's too hard crying in front of people.

PyongyangKipperbang Tue 24-Jan-17 23:09:58

Try writing down as many memories as you can. Date them too if possible (doesnt have to be exact "around Xmas" "summer hols" etc). Then when you feel the fog coming back, you have that to read and confirm that you are doing the right thing.

Is he allowed contact with you? Try to avoid that wherever possible.

If anyone questions you repeat to them "I know that I am telling the truth, I was there". He will always deny it, but thats doesnt mean that you are wrong. You're not.

I believe you and SS are listening too. You have done the right thing by getting help for your DC

Keep the faith xx

everycloudandallthatjazz Tue 24-Jan-17 23:15:48

I am in a similar situation. It is so hard, I know. If you want someone to talk to, Women's Aid are very good?

BlankTVscreen Tue 24-Jan-17 23:43:43

Thank you for replying. No he is not allowed contact with me thank his. But even from a distance he is still able to reek havoc with my head. I know that it's up to me not to let him. I'm making progress, but it's very hard.

I have spoken to WA and they are wonderful. Also rape crisis have been very helpful to speak to. I also have a DV support worker. I'm very lucky to have a lot of support as well from family and friends - but as well meaning and lovely they are they don't always 'get it'.

I want to stop minimising things that have gone on. I see that I still am doing that, and it is not helpful to me. I need to be able to own what I've been through and tell it fully when necessary. Writing things down is a good idea.

I found out from the SS report that he was arrested twice for harassment and assault while we were together and he never told me. Both times the victim didn't want to press charges. I know who they were and the circs from the brief details in the report. But I never knew he was arrested.

BlankTVscreen Tue 24-Jan-17 23:44:06

Thank god - not his

PyongyangKipperbang Tue 24-Jan-17 23:56:48

And if you ever need proof that your truth is the real truth, its there in black and white. You are not his only victim.

The police know that, SS know that YOU know that.

Keep the faith, you will get there. Its early days but you will get there.

We are here for you flowers

BlankTVscreen Wed 25-Jan-17 00:07:58

Yes, although he wasn't charged. I only ever heard his side of it, although the arrest for assault; someone who witnessed the incident did call me at the time as they were so concerned about what had gone on (didn't say police were involved) but like a mug I believed his version.
Harassment - he threatened to beat up a neighbour. He denied it but I never truly in my heart believed him, probably because he threw a chair at me around the same time.
He's also been convicted recently of assaulting a police officer. When it's written down like that, if I was reading this about someone else I would be thinking - clearly he's a violent dangerous man.

I need to remember the facts. Those cannot change. Nothing he says can alter the facts.
And the things he did to me and ds are facts - even if they were not witnessed by anyone else.

I think part of why I'm struggling is that he was charged with assaulting me but found not guilty because it was just my word against his. So even though I know I told the truth, I feel like maybe I was wrong. Even though I know I wasn't. I know what happened and I told the truth. He lied and got away with it. That's really fucking hard to live with.

BlankTVscreen Wed 25-Jan-17 00:16:52

everycloud I saw your post on the 'why do you hang out in relationships' thread. I similarly posted about relationship issues here years ago when dc1 was a baby but did not LTB. Wish I had sad

I watched Call the Midwife this evening on catch up - made me quite upset (DV theme). I've never before felt the need for those 'if you've been affected by issues raised in this programme' notices - ironically i don't think they did it after this one, they really should have signposted to WA.

everycloudandallthatjazz Wed 25-Jan-17 04:43:33

Everything you say, I can relate to. flowers The feeling of "am I going mad", "was it really that bad?" are very real... but that is where abusers are very cunning; they twist things to make you think somehow it's all YOUR fault. But have a think: how many of your current problems are caused by him, either directly or indirectly? I would hazard a guess the answer is most or all. So there you have the root of the problem. It is not you.

I was always a really strong person before all this; he reduced me to a nervous wreck. I'm getting better but there are days when he still harrasses me, throws me curveballs and tries to manipulate me through the children. Sometimes I feel physically sick at the thought of what he has done and sometimes I feel exhausted just thinking / relaying things in my mind.

The scars that he left run deep... so much deeper than I first thought. I had DC very close together and so a lot of the time I was pregnant or had a newborn, and I was especially vulnerable. He used that to his full advantage. He was primarily emotionally abusive but also sexually and financially to a degree - if you haven't read Lundy Bandcroft's "Why does He Do that" I can recommend it, althoufh be warned it is hard to read at times as it cuts so close to the bone. It says victims of emotional / psychological abuse often have longer lasting issues than those whose partners are physically violent - again something I can believe.

The hardest part is that my ex doesn't drink or take drugs, and he has a very well paid and highly regarded job. He is very "laid back" around other people and people generally love him. All this has meant that invariably some mutual friends have believed him and whatever he has said about me and seemingly cut me off. This is frustrating but I keep telling myself that if they are that willing to hear and believe only one side of the story then I don't want them in my life either. On the flip side, the support, kindness and generosity of my friends, family, neighbours and DV experts has been breathtaking

Sometimes when my brain feels foggy, as you describe, or he ramps up the abuse (currently manipulating me via his solicitor), I brace myself and think "no, you will not break me and you will not win" and "I have to keep strong for DC". On happier days I think of how much lovelier life is now he is out of it - I genuinely haven't missed him even for a minute - and also that after what I have been through, I will come out stronger, eventually.

Does your life not feel better now you no longer live with him? 🙂

BlankTVscreen Wed 25-Jan-17 07:40:37

Yes, life is much better now grin and I haven't missed him for a second either.

I know that I'm so lucky to have found the strength to escape him. I leant my copy of Lundy Bancroft to a friend - I think I'll ask for it back.

Mine is also harassing me, albeit by my solicitor. The latest letter threatened to have me put in prison if I don't do x y and z. I know he cannot do that, and even found it a bit funny when I first read it. But the fact is he still does have power over me because of the DC, and can drag me into court any time he likes and cost me thousands in legal fees not to mention the stress.

I think I'm feeling the stress of the sole responsibility for decision making that all the single parent threads mention. I have to protect the DC, which i have done in leaving, but now I have to keep them safe at a distance from him. They haven't seen him since he left and I am trying to work out how to make it safe for them to do so. And to process and control my own feelings at the same time.

It's great to be free, but shit to have to continue to deal with the fall out from these utter bastards actions. flowers to you. Are you getting counselling or anything? I'm really hoping so much that when I start that it will help but I'm worried it won't be enough, and once I start to dredge everything up I will get overwhelmed again.

everycloudandallthatjazz Wed 25-Jan-17 08:14:54

I understand exactly when you say about processing and controlling your own feelings. I have thought about counselling but tbh so much else going on at the moment as trying to sell joint house (the family home) and my DC are both pre school age so with me pretty much all the time. Once I have moved I will do the Freedom programme and then possibly counselling although I think it may be painful re-living it all: I have had to do it so many times already with police/ SS/DV support workers.

Oh the solicitors letters - yep, been there. Still there. The only tip I have is make sure your solicitor doesn't waste too much time replying to his drivel. My solicitor replies more concisely now to save me money as she has seen what he is like and actually some of the stuff he churns out is irrelevant.

I would definitely recommend talking to a DV support worker: SS should be able to recommend someone you can talk to. I am finding mine to be invaluable sometimes when I just need someone to talk to and to sympathise.

You have done the right thing for your DC (and you!) Don't blame yourself for not leaving earlier as sometimes (especially with emotional abuse) it creeps up on you and gradually gets worse and it is easy to either start normalising it, make excuses for his behaviour (he is stressed etc) or become so worn out with it you struggle to find the strength to leave. Or a combination of those reasons - plus there are added complications sometimes: practicalities of leaving and financial constraints. For me, it was the fact I was worn out / exhausted from the constant criticisms, name calling, smashing stuff up, his anger. Dealing with all that and two young DC, with my family miles away meant that it took a while for me to summon the strength to leave.

I am so so glad I did leave though, sometimes I sit down for a whole hour to read when the DC are asleep 😄 and it is so lovely to do that without being told to "get up and move so you can shift that baby weight, don't just sit on your fat arse" or being accused of being a fat lazy bitch for daring to sit down for 10 minutes. In fact, by the end of the relationship, the last few weeks I had become so unwell from not being allowed to rest (at all) seven days a week, that I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded all the time and was convinced I was seriously ill / my thyroid was dodgy. Since he's been gone, I haven't felt like that.... so again, he was the root of the problem.

BlankTVscreen Wed 25-Jan-17 10:00:45

My god yes - I was not even allowed to sit down to eat breakfast without being told how lazy I was to do so, and he hadn't eaten so neither should I. This from a man who would sleep for hours during the day and wake up to shout at me about how everything had gone to shit because he wasn't 'managing' me. Then he'd try to prevent me going to bed, and wake me up once I was asleep either by looking for sex, wanting to 'talk' or stamping and crashing around in the kitchen and watching loud TV.

Doing whatever I want in the evenings after DC are asleep is such a luxury.

In some ways it's good to remember because I was starting to forget and doubt myself again. Then I went in a workshop about the effects of DV on children and I re-realised that his behaviour had been abusive.

I totally get what you say about it feeling too painful to go over things again. I have long periods where I can't be bothered to dwell on it or go over it, but then at other times I really want to talk about it, like last night.

I think I'm looking for validation, maybe because I've had so many years of only feeling like I'm allowed to feel anything or do anything if I had his permission or approval. Like the kissing thing, when I told the social worker she said 'you know that's not right don't you?' So I know that she understands but it feels so painful, even though on the surface it's just a little thing and the tip of the iceberg in terms of his sexually coercive behaviour. I feel like I'm holding onto that one thing, and wanting to hear again and again how wrong it was but I can't bring myself to really tell anyone about it in any detail.

You're lucky in some ways that your DC are so young - even though I can totally see it must be so hard having to look after them all the time while dealing with so much else. At least they have had less time to watch and absorb his techniques. My eldest is 9 and I see him acting like his father at times. I just hope to god that I've got him out in time, and that the help I've got for him is enough.

everycloudandallthatjazz Wed 25-Jan-17 10:45:06

Doing whatever I want in the evenings after DC are asleep is such a luxury

This ^ is one of the things that you can draw on when you feel overwhelmed by it all. I do. It is so nice to be able to curl up on the sofa with lots of chocolate 😛 whereas before I would get The Look if I ate what he thought was too much chocolate, followed by words of contempt if I dared to carry on eating it regardless. Ironically enough I have lost a stone since he has been gone, without dieting and with the strict exercise regime having gone out of the window too. Less emotional eating I guess!

Also think about how much nicer it is not having to walk on eggshells all the time. Think about how you are now free to live your life free of control.

As for your son, all you can do I guess is explain to him that his dad was wrong to behave the way he did - and bring him up to respect women. He is hopefully still young enough to start modelling himself on you rather than his awful dad 😘

BlankTVscreen Wed 25-Jan-17 11:59:00

Yes you're right.

Yours sounds horrible, i hope it gives you a small glow of satisfaction knowing you've lost weight without him!
I've also lost weight - stress diet wink
Mine used to comment on the amount on my plate every meal time, without fail, and point out to any guest how much less he ate than me. Despite being the same height and a good 4 stone heavier, not all of which was muscle by any stretch. Twat. They have so much in common don't they, the twats. Urgh.

noego Fri 27-Jan-17 14:02:00

For emotional support whilst waiting for your counselling an when you need to talk to someone confidentially day or nigh call Samaritans.

BlankTVscreen Fri 27-Jan-17 17:38:35

Thank you

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