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Am I being emotionally abused.....?(27 Posts)
I really need some support and outside views on my current situation at home.
I've been married for 19 months to DH and we have twins aged 3.5yrs. We've had our ups and downs, but DH has a history of aggressive outbursts and uncontrollable binge drinking. His outbursts are not frequent - usually one every 9 months - and I've decided to just live with them for the sake of keeping a family unit for my children. Usually he 'flips' from an amazing nice guy, to being absolutely toxic, insulting and verbally aggressive. They outbursts usually last for 1 - 3 days, I give him space, and then he decides when they end, and I usually know about it when he starts hassling me for sex. We then move on and things get back to normal (although he won't engage in talking about what happened, or has ever said sorry for his behaviour or the things he says when he's having an outburst). I accept that he has some issues from a difficult childhood, and I try to support him and give him the space that he needs. When he's not having an episode, he is a good man, who works hard and the kids love him.
However...... we are currently in the middle of the worst bout of aggression I have ever experienced, and it's really affecting me and I don't know if I can keep living in fear of him anymore. I've been doing some research, and have come to the shocking conclusion that I'm being emotionally abused and that he is a manipulative bully. I'm kind of shocked, as I'm asking myself how I could have got into a situation like this, I mean, I would have thought I could see it coming, but have been somewhat blindsided by this. I just need some external opinion, and some clarity that what I'm experiencing really isn't acceptable.
DH is freezing me out and using the silent treatment, but won't say why! Last Thursday (9th March) he came home from work with a beautiful bunch of flowers for me. He hardly ever buys me flowers, but he said he wanted to, for no reason, and then spent all evening telling me he loved me so much. It was a bit unusual, but lovely. The next day, on Friday morning, I was woken up by him groping me in bed. I batted his hand off - not bc I didn't want to engage - but bc I had been woken up and was a bit shocked and fuzzy/still asleep. He seemed to be annoyed by this, and got up and went to shower before I had even come around from my sleep. Then he wouldn't talk to me or look at me, and stormed out the door to work. Didn't call me at lunch (usually he does every day) and came home that night and wouldn't talk to me. That night he stayed up all night drinking and got blind drunk on a bottle of whisky and a bottle of vodka (I know, serious amounts of booze) - he was up until 5am drinking.
The next day, Saturday, we were supposed to be going for a family lunch with relatives. At 11am he was still drunk and slurring as I tried to get him up and ready. I told him he looked a mess and stank, and he started saying awful things to me like, "Noone would blame me if I left you. NO-ONE." and "Wait til you see what it feels like to be alone". I was really shocked as it all just came out of nowhere. We had a huge row and he told me to f**k off and go to lunch without him, which I happily did and we had a lovely time. We came home at 5.30pm and he was still passed out in bed drunk and hadn't moved all day.
Ever since then, he has refused to speak to me. He literally just ignores anything I say to him. With anyone else, and the kids, he is normal - smiley, happy, fun, - but he acts as if I don't even exist.
He's been ignoring me for 10 days now. I have talked to him and said I want to talk about things - he ignores me. I have got upset, and asked why he is doing this - he ignores me. I have laughed at him for his childish behaviour - he ignores me. He did say a few things the other night, he said "Well, giving you the silent treatment is clearly working isn't it? The quality of the meals served has improved, the house is clean and you're looking after the kids" .... I was GOBsmacked. He basically just admitted that his freezing me out was designed to manipulate me into being a 'better housewife'.
He is now doing petty things like putting on the laundry, but not washing my items. Or, cleaning up the kitchen, but not touching anything that I might have used. He's now doing things like telling the kids "we are going to the Aquarium without mummy", and takes them off without me.
He's freezing me out, but also manipulating my kids to be on his side. They're only 3.5yrs old so they have no idea what's going on.
Last night I went for dinner with a friend because I needed some space. I left him at home with the kids. When I got home, there was a kebab wrapper in the kitchen. I asked how he had got a kebab, and he answered "I went and got one", I asked where the kids were, he said "in their room". So - he went out to get food and LEFT OUR BABIES ALONE IN THE HOUSE!!!! Am I wrong for thinking this is completely unacceptable???? I don't care if he was only 10 mins, it is not acceptable to leave two 3.5yr olds alone in the house at night, right?
I would also like to add that he has a history of watching teenage porn, and has voiced some seriously concerning attitudes towards women previously. He is South African and does have a history of a difficult chidlhood - mentally ill mother, father who abandoned him etc. He's been in a lot of therapy over the years to try and get on top of his baggage, but this is starting to scare me now.
So sorry for the long post, but I had to get it all out.
I feel like I'm stuck with a monster who is making me afraid to be in my own home, and I'm worried for my children's safety.
Am I going crazy, or does this sound like emotional abuse to anyone else?
Yes, yes, yes and absolutely. Words almost fail me and leaving 2 toddlers alone in the house is beyond unforgivable. Your mental health, happiness and the welfare of your children are at immediate risk. If you were my daughter I would be doing everything in my power to perduade you to get out of this relationship and stay out.
No, you are not crazy. He is a vile, abusive, manipulative pig who knows exactly how his behaviour is affecting you.
Untill recently, I was in a relationship with someone who was abusive and manipulative. I failed to see it untill Mumsnet opened my eyes, and I got out of that relationship. Like you, I was walking around on eggshells, and I can't stress enough how much it has wrecked my esteem and mental health.
And he left your babies alone? What kind of man does that?
You need to get him out of your life, and away from you and your children. He will slowly warp your mind untill you don't know which way is up. Massive hugs to you xx
Totally agree with HerOtherHalf.
If you were my daughter I'd also be doing everything in my power to get you out of there.
Yes, Yes, Yes. He is a monster and you need to get out.
I am very worried for yours and your children's safety.
Oh my god. Get you and your children out of this highly toxic environment as soon as possible.
It is domestic violence. It's such difficult thing to process that someone you live could do this to you.
This is the ((http://www.nationaldomesticviol
This is horrific emotional abuse! My step-father did this to my dm for years. Same pattern, about once a year or so. The trigger would usually be something minor, for example he'd buy her little presents and if she wasn't grateful enough he would give her the silent treatment. The longest it lasted was 4 months, in which time she'd be treading on eggshells. He'd use me as a confidante, telling me all the ways dm was a terrible person, and being a child I was totally taken in by him, I hated her as a teenager. Once my siblings and I reached teenage years he did it to us too as we were less easily controlled.
The mental health has been awful as a result, as has dm's. She eventually got rid of him after 22 years.
I feel like I'm stuck with a monster who is making me afraid to be in my own home, and I'm worried for my children's safety
And you are. I'd recommend getting out now and don't look back. When he sees you not responding to your 'treatment' where is it going to go? It can only escalate. What is next is violence...get the fuck out whilst you still can.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. He is abusing you and abusing your precious DC
When I realised I was being abused by my exH I called the national domestic violence helpline (0808 2000 247) and spoke to an advisor who helped me immensely. She understood his behaviours, the effect he had on me and his script. She kept finishing off my sentences correctly and kept saying "this kind of man...". She gave me the strength to take action to get him out of our lives and encouraged me to speak to a solicitor, who was also a huge source of strength. I would advise you to do the same.
Sadly, I have found myself in another controlling relationship but I'm taking steps to remove myself and DD from it. I fear that with your situation there is a great sense of urgency to act - he doesn't just sound toxic but actually quite dangerous.
Do you feel you are able to start to take action to remove him from your lives?
I stopped reading at the point where he got blind drunk and was verbally abusive the next morning. I couldn't read anymore.
I suspect this has blindsided you because he's been slowly chipping away at your boundaries throughout your relationship with manipulative and bullying behaviour. The man he is during his outbursts is the real him, the other 'nice' side of him is just an act.
Please get away from this man as soon as you can get a plan together. You cannot live in constant fear of another outburst. That is not a respectful, loving relationship. It will be hard but it will also be the best thing you can do for yourself and your children.
This torture will take a terrible toll on your mental health, OP.
Please don't allow yourself to live with this inhumane abuse -
you and your babies deserve better.
Talk to a lawyer, work out in yourself if you'd be better off living apart from him or divorcing him. If he really is great 99% of the time then I'd argue it's not as simple as "he's abusive, so leave".
From what you've told us though, I wouldn't put up with it
You said yourself you "can't keep living in fear of him" You are constantly treading on eggshells waiting for the next outburst. Who would want to live like that? Also a lot of people have difficult childhoods but don't use it as an excuse for bad behaviour. Leaving the children would be the last straw, what if the house went on fire or one of them choked?
It sounds like he is abusive, verbally and emotionally, also trying to force you to have sex then being abusive when he doesnt get his own way, uggh.
I do have empathy for abused men who have sought out therapy for their abusive childhood but this man still has unresolved issues which he is projecting onto you and your children.
Sadly your children - as long as they are witnessing these dynamics are being moulded into their father.
They cannot develop normally or emotionally healthy whilst they are exposed to this.
Please consider your children's future very carefully before you decide to give this man another chance.
If he really is great 99% of the time then I'd argue it's not as simple as "he's abusive, so leave".
Such sound advice, after all abusers never ramp it up during that 1% do they?
Oh wait, hang on...aren't 2 women killed by their partner or ex partner every week in the UK alone?
He sounds exactly like my STBXH, the same pattern of mood swings but with 10 day frequency.
He's be abusive, agressive, confrontational, blame me for everything, put me down to the kids and other people.
After 4 day's, he'd decide he was feeling ok again, so the charm offensive would begin.
He never used has lighting though, he's to needy to ignore.
The anxiety, stress, walking on egg shells is totally not worth it.
It took me far to long to realise the kind of relationship I was in.
He has been in 3 years of therapy, anger management and CBT, it's made no difference.
If you want my honest opinion, leave now.
Fuck that OP. Why are you with him? He isn't a 'lovely man' or a 'good father' he's an emotionally abusive bastard and you need to get your kids away from him
Op, oh my God. He is incredibly abusive. The sexual coercion, the insults, the manipulation and the irresponsibility towards your children. This will get worse and worse. Please start planning to leave.
I had a mother like this, and it has scarred me for life. 90 per cent lovely then abusive. When I was a teenager she attacked me with a knife
Luckily I escaped but I can't forgive my dad for letting it unfold and never having the courage to leave.
I had similar with my stbxh, ignoring me whilst but being lovely to the dc.Its bullying.
I was given flowers for being a wonderful mum (think I had pleased him) and then a few days later I was an awful mum, he couldn't trust my parenting.It was the start of the end and 2 months later he left.Unpredictably is the cause of walking on eggshells and will cause you anxiety.
In my experience our wedding and his work place seemed to trigger the toxic mix.He felt secure in ramping up his abuse which I'm sure was caused by his abusive childhood.Whilst others say it shouldn't cause his behaviour neuroscience now knows certain experiences in childhood rewires the brain.
Stbxh had counselling but his lack of insight meant he can't take responsibility.
If you believe he is a product of his abusive childhood then consider what will happen to your lovely children who ARE absorbing this.If you part you can minimise the exposure and protect them from this cycle.
Similarly stbxh started to take greater risks with dc, who we're older so less impact but it's a symptom of his self centeredness.
No one ends a marriage easily and you may feel you need to try to fix things.Maybe email him to explain his behaviours are unacceptable (also useful record) ask him not to leave the children alone and suggests he sees a GP for excessive drinking.
I doubt he will listen.Start thinking of what you can do to separate.Do you have funds to rent? Is he likely to leave if asked? What is your support like?
If at any stage you feel frightened please listen to your instinct and just go.Our but feelings are there to protect you and your children.
You don't need to divorce straight away especially if he leaves.I started proceedings straight away and stbxh has been very hostile.In reflection I could have waited for him to emotionally catch up as he wasn't aware I was at the point of divorce.He's now more hostile which will just make the divorce expensive.
Thank you all for your responses, I have found them incredibly supportive.
1. Your reactions have helped me understand that yes, I am being abused, and no it is not ok. It's difficult to come to terms with, but reality is starting to dawn on me.
2. I called the National Domestic Violence helpline, who were wonderful. As I described my situation, she said it's a textbook case of emotional abuse and sexual abuse, and advised that I need to take steps to remove myself from the situation.
3. I realise I need to protect my children, and they are completely my first priority. I am now making plans to leave. It won't be immediate, as I need to sell some things to get some money together, but I will start looking for alternative accommodation asap. And you know what, I can't wait!!!! I'm actually really happy to have made a proactive decision.
christmaswreaths thank you for your post, it is helpful more than you can know and has helped me face up to what I've been mulling over recently:
I too had an abusive mother, who was charming to outsiders but abusive behind closed doors. She used to leave me at home alone (and sobbing) from the age of 8, so she could go out drinking (father was abroad working to support us). She had affairs and used to bring the men back to our home so she could have sex with them, and didn't care that we saw / heard. When I was 13 she once left me locked in a car outside the pub on a freezing January night from 6pm to midnight while she went drinking with her mates, and then drove us home, drunk.
My father stayed married to her and put up with her abusing us all. When she had rages we would all tiptoe around her on eggshells, and he would grovel and apologise for anything, just to get her to be nicer again. He died 10 years ago, and while I miss him terribly, I will never forgive him for letting her abuse us the way she did.
I've recently been mulling over the idea that maybe I have recreated that early pattern of abuse I experienced from my primary caregiver, and have married a male version of my mother. I have. And you are all right - I need to recognise it and remove my children from this situation, so that they don't grow up to experience it themselves.
Thank god. Get out of this now. I was an abused child by my parents and it it the one thing that freaks me out most. Your post was frightening. The blind drunk thing was just the start, but the rest is creepy. Keep us posted on how you get on. Just one thing. I know you say he had issues and abuse as a child, but it's no excuse. Being a frightening, violent bully has no excuses ever.
apologies if I jump in feet first and I haven't read every response
Well done OP to get the ball rolling and made the calls
Please please please make sure you do not let it slip you are taking any action till you are ready to move
If you feel that you have enough time and he will not go too mad, do try to get him to see someone (GP, Therapist - even if He's been in a lot of therapy over the years obviously haven't worked and never will)
He will really kick off if he thinks there is any chance of been abandoned "again" (that is what he will think, never that he caused it)
OP I am so glad you've realised the situation you're in and are going to leave him. What an abusive prick. I'm so glad you rang the helpline, I did it 5 weeks ago and that gave me the validation I needed to ring the police. The support I have had on here was so important and actually changed my life.
This is the start of your new life! Keep posting on here if you need to vent or if you need any support.
I am sorry OP, he sounds awful. The amount of alcohol drunk in one go - he sounds like there is something seriously wrong with him. I can only imagine the stench of that amount of alcohol in his system. He clearly has no self-control, and that is worrying in itself, but allied with a temper could have some horrible consequences. Silent treatment for 10 days? Mocking you? Trying to get toddlers on his side? He sounds a total loon.
Glad you are thinking of a positive future! Remember to keep your cards close to your chest and don't tell him of your plans. Make sure you have as much support and security as you can muster in place when you do leave. Hopefully Womens Aid and other organisations can offer you more advice and support .
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