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Do you ever recover after emotional abuse?

(13 Posts)
sniffle12 Tue 28-Mar-17 00:14:44

Was in an emotionally abusive relationship for several years - a big thing being that whenever I said no, or had a different opinion/suggestion to him, he would emotionally withdraw as punishment. So although in his eyes he never told me what to do/who to see, he knew I craved his affection so much that withdrawing it would have the same effect.

Fast forward 5 yrs and I am now married to a wonderful man, complete opposite. But I am still finding it hard to adjust. Tonight we went out for dinner and afterwards DH suggested moving onto the pub. I was tired and just wanted to go home so said so. Although DH totally accepted that, an anxiety was still triggered inside me. have I annoyed him, is he just saying he's fine with it, what if he thinks I'm boring? etc. It feels the same every time I say no or assert my wishes, even though I know DH is completely different and easy-going. It's my own fears now that are abusing me essentially rather than a man.

Do you ever truly move on from the anxieties/doubts that the emotional abuser left you with?

WingsofNylon Tue 28-Mar-17 07:26:31

Yes, but it take time and a deliberate effort. You can only control one of thoes. Have you worked on your anxiety? There seems to be a lot of self doubt. I wanted to write not but I'm in a rush. Just know that recovery is possible.

jeaux90 Tue 28-Mar-17 09:09:23

Yes you can move forward. I was with an abusive narc and I had to unravel a lot of conditioning after I left.

My advice is to see a therapist to work through this and your anxieties.

NellyTimes Tue 28-Mar-17 09:18:54

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 14 years, then single for five years before meeting my now partner and we have been together about 8 months. I totally get where you are coming from, I had moved on and rebuilt myself after my awful relationship and am a much stronger person now and my partner couldn't be more different from my ex, he is completely brilliant.

But I find myself forever worrying that I'll annoy him or make him angry or that he'll think I'm boring and pointless like my ex did. I know he isn't like that and wouldn't think any of those things at all, and I don't let him know that I'm thinking those things, but it's always at the back of my mind. I didn't realise that I still had these hang ups and anxieties until I started seeing someone else, but I won't let them ruin what is an amazing relationship, because then the ex has won by still having some control over me.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 28-Mar-17 09:54:19

Did you get support when your relationship ended?
If not then I would suggest some therapy/counselling would help.
Contact Womens Aid who can give you local contacts.

sniffle12 Tue 28-Mar-17 21:35:03

Yes you can move forward. I was with an abusive narc and I had to unravel a lot of conditioning after I left.

jeaux90 I was trying to find the word in my original post and couldn't quite, but 'conditioning' is just it. It's like a bad habit I've got into.

NellyTimes sad to hear you are having the same difficulties but I suppose the bright side is that we are now with people who deserve us smile Hopefully with time these instinctive reactions will adapt.

LimeySnickett Tue 28-Mar-17 21:55:01

Have told my H I want to separate - he isn't taking me seriously - part of the problem really, zero respect or regard for me. But this is exactly what I was thinking about today. I have been with him for many many many years and have put up with so much criticism and negativity about every thing i do - I feel kind of hardened as a person. I'm not sure I would ever be able to believe anyone who was nice to me and thought well of me.

jeaux90 Tue 28-Mar-17 22:39:25

Limony it's why I took 4 years after I left for myself. Just focussed on my kid, work, being around people who care for me and stayed single whilst I unpicked it.

I met someone last year and can honestly say I went into it with my heart and mind open. You need to heal before you can move on. You are conditioned over years to behave in a certain way, tread on eggshells and therefore not be your authentic self. My view is you have get back to who you really are first, be comfortable in your own skin and company xxx

jeaux90 Tue 28-Mar-17 22:41:20

Sniffle it sounds like you are with a lovely man but perhaps you need help finding your voice a bit. You learnt to project a specific reaction so you tap dance around to try and avoid it. Some counselling will help maybe? Xxx

Thattoldme Wed 29-Mar-17 20:41:52

Sniffle I'm proud of you for saying 'no'! That's progress. You may have felt anxious but you did it. I'm still struggling with the conditioning too. We'll get there.

pudding21 Wed 29-Mar-17 21:04:48

I am watching this thread with interest. 7 weeks out of leaving a 21 year EA relationship and still having contact with him because of our kids. I am still propping him up I suppose as dealing with his mood swings and change in behaviour that I haven't had much time to move on yet. I know I need to stay away, but I am still having twangs of "was it that bad" because I genuinely do miss him. I don't miss the eggshells, the critisism, the aggressive tone, his insecurities, tensions, the shitty comments etc but I do miss him. I know I have almost been conditioned to ignore and bury and not deal with anything because everytime I tried to ease things, make things better or discuss it and he would shoot me down, minimise and dismiss. So I need to first try and deal with my feelings head on. But I am scared. I am scared of falling to pieces.

I overthink everything too OP, with family, friends, colleagues. Mostly I can keep that in check in my head but its starting to get to a point I think I might need professional help. You DP sounds wonderful, and you have obviously come a long way, but I imagine you are scared of it happening again, and you try and stop that by overthinking. Its like a viscious cirle.

I feel stronger now than 7 weeks ago, but I know I have a huge amount of work to be truely an authentic version of myself.

My sister is designing me a tattoo (always wanted one, he told me he'd leave me if I did have one when I was 19, so never brought it up again). Which is a Shakepere quote "this above all, to thine own self be true" It will along the stem of a dandelion being blown into 3 birds, representing me and my two boys. It will go alongside my side rib under my bra small, with nice writing in black and white. Just doing that with her has been therapeutic smile

Aquamarine1029 Wed 29-Mar-17 21:28:21

You can move forward if you allow yourself to. You need to communicate with your partner and express the thoughts you have or they will destroy this relationship. Tell him about the paranoid, worrisome thoughts you had the other night. Express how you worried that he'll find you boring, which he won't, I'm sure. Keeping everything bottled up will get you exactly no where. If you can't work through this yourself then you need to be proactive and find a therapist before all of this baggage affects your new life.

sniffle12 Thu 30-Mar-17 19:55:28

I know I need to stay away, but I am still having twangs of "was it that bad" because I genuinely do miss him. I don't miss the eggshells, the critisism, the aggressive tone, his insecurities, tensions, the shitty comments etc but I do miss him.

Pudding I know exactly how you feel. I had to cut off all contact with DP1 because the thing about narcs is they can be the most wonderful people in the world when they need to be, or when everything's going their way. And particularly when their pride has just been dented by you leaving, they can play nicey nicey very well and promise to change, etc. I still find myself sometimes thinking back to good times we had, as just because there were bad times doesn't mean there weren't also great ones and fond memories. But I try to remember the bad as well and remember that no amount of good times is worth that feeling of completely losing yourself and your value.

Good look in your journey and I'm sure wonderful things lie ahead for you.

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