Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Am I being emotionally abused?(49 Posts)
I wondered if anyone could help. I haven't spoken to any friends about this but need some advice and support as I don't know what is normal anymore. I have been married for 6 years and have 2 small children.
Last night we had a minor argument started by me about him not listening to or dismissing suggestions I was making about what to do today. We are in a cottage in dorset. I can't drive as no reception on phones and tricky roads. Small fry stuff but I got cross because he said I hadn't done any research on this holiday and he then poo pooed any suggestions I made
It got ugly very quickly. He was standing up and shouting. He said I was a cunt, an idiot and thick. When I tried to explain why I'd said what I had he said I had false memory syndrome and that was why my mum and sister always fought with me. He said he was sleeping in the Kids room and then that I should sleep there. When I said no he got really aggressive and started insulting me. I started crying and said to stop and he said something like 'oh boo hoo you're such a victim'.
Then he leant forward (he was standing up) aggressively in my face and started saying what are you going to do, punch me, punch me, and I shouted at him to go away and he was in my face so I did punch him on the chest twice, fairly weakly. He was goading me - he wanted me to snap and he wanted me to punch him. He then looked thrilled and pushed into my face so I covered my face with my hands and cried. I shouted at him to fuck off and leave me alone. Eventually I got up and said I was sleeping with the kids.
He came in moments later to say sorry and to come to bed but I said no. I didn't sleep at all and cried all night. I considered leaving to a hotel but I can't drive and didn't want to disturb the kids. I've spent the day with him and the kids but I've barely talked to him. He's said he will do anything I want and to tell him what to do but I don't know what to do.
There are countless examples of him being similarly abusive. He's punched a wall, held me by my throat, blocked my way. Pushed me. Spat in my face. Not let me go. He says it's me that starts it and he is just responding and it's therefore my fault. He has never hit me and because I have hit him he says it's me that's abusive. Almost every time I've hit him it's him goading me, in my face, do it do it. He's delighted when I do. But isn't the reason for starting an argument irrelevant when it descends into aggression and abuse? Also proportionality is all wrong, I was a bit of a dick and end up being shouted at that I'm a cunt etc. He says I'm belittling and dismissive but why does that excuse abuse? Isn't his making it all my fault always in itself abusive?
This holiday he's shouted at me 3 times calling me a cunt and a bitch etc, all times he has apologised the day after. He was very angry and aggressive and I couldn't say or do anything to stop him (I tried apologising at least once but when he's in a rage nothing will stop him). I just try to read my book and ignore him. If I react it ignites. If anyone heard the things he said to me they would be disgusted. I'm so ashamed. One day our kids or my mum or neighbours would hear and might call the police.
He says all this is normal and lots of couples do this but it's not normal, it's disgusting and I feel like it's our dirty secret. I haven't told anyone apart from once after he slammed a door I told my friends and burst into tears. I haven't mentioned it since. On paper we have a great marriage. OH always tells me our marriage is great and he will never leave me.
Since we met he's been extremely controlling. Initially he thought I drank too much so we agreed I'd only have 5 glasses max so he'd count them and once at my friend's birthday I was enjoying myself so wanted to carry on drinking and he got so angry he shouted at me in front of everyone then aggressively came and threatened me in front of my friends, making me jump. He emailed my friends to apologise afterwards.
I always feel oppressed and told off about how I behave and like if I don't do or say what he wants me to when he wants me to that I am in danger of being shouted at and called a cunt.
His rage goes on and on. When I was at my mums house, he called me a cunt one evening, shouting and threatening. He snored all night but I couldn't sleep. The next day I Was quiet and upset (it was my last day at mums house). He said 'you'd better snap out of this or else'. He ignored me and called me cunt all day until I pointed out his bad behaviour and eventually he apologised. But I'd had a day of abuse with both kids and a 6 hour delayed train. He never puts the kids first (that morning I'd said first thing can we be friends and he'd given me an evil look and said no).
He thinks I belittle him but I feel he's oppressive and controlling. He wants me to behave how he wants when he wants.
I rarely insult him. I do think he has a high sex drive that is unfulfilled and maybe he is punishing me by being abusive and angry
But it's a vicious cycle - if I don't feel in a loving safe place why would I wank him off?!
After he apologises he desperately needs love, wants me to hold his hand, says 'love me'. If I struggle he gets cross so often I just do it. I often do it or say I love you without meaning it. I feel oppressed by it and like I can't escape.
He is so outwardly charming that no one would believe he is so abusive (including our joint marriage counsellor or the therapists he has seen, and also friends and family).
He has shouted at DS and his mum, making both cry. Again he would suggest this was because of their behaviour rather than his temper.
I have no safe place and I don't think I trust him. When we get home I want to put a lock on the spare room door so I can lock myself in. I wouldn't put it past him breaking the door.
Sometimes he says things like I'm like my mother and he can see why my dad drank (he was a drug addict and alcoholic). I guess I always believed this was all my fault and I deserved it but I feel a lot calmer and I don't 'goad' him and I still get attacked. But maybe I'm withdrawing my love and affection which makes him even angrier.
I know he has a temper but I feel he is abusive. I always knew he was since day one but still I married him and never consider leaving but we are in an abusive cycle that is disgusting and damaging and it never changes.
So what do I do? Do I leave him or ask him to leave? He says he will change and do whatever I want him to do but this is about the 5th time he has said that and he never changes.
Once when he scared a neighbour by slamming a door in my face, he contacted the DVIP (domestic violence in person) charity but he never followed through with it.
Slowly he descends into calling me a cunt again and slowly we get to the stage of threatening and blocking, goading and insulting.
I don't want to be a victim but I feel like I tacitly accept it because I feel i deserve it or it's my fault. He says regularly no one else would marry me.
But then when he's fine he's so lovely I forget the bad and feel lucky and carry on.
It's been 3 times in the last 2 weeks though and I don't think I want to take any more.
Next time phone the police. . And press charges. .
Yes, you are being abused. He won't change, no matter what he says. Get yourself organised, (money, support, documents) and leave him. I am so sorry, no one should have to live like this.
Don't wait till next time. Get away now and contact Police. There are numerous assaults already that you can report.
The only acceptable level of abuse within a relationship is NONE; he crossed that line a long time ago. ALL his behaviours towards you are abusive and abuse is about power and control. It also thrives on secrecy; you need to bust open the secret now. Infact you have already done that small but important first step by writing about it here.
You are being abused and just as terribly your children are seeing their dad abuse their mother as well. This will damage them as well. You do not have false memory syndrome at all; he is saying and using such words to keep you under his control. That is what he wants really; to keep you in a gilded cage of his own paranoid making.
I would also think that your own family of origin dynamics led you straight into the arms of this individual as well. I get the impression they emotionally abused you within the family home.
Abusive men can and do manipulate counsellors so I am not surprised to see that some have taken his side. Joint counselling by the way is never ever recommended with abusers because of this. They can also appear to be quite plausible to those in the outside world but even then the mask slips because its an act they cannot maintain. Read up too on the cycle of abuse; the nice/nasty parts is a continuous cycle and very much recognised as being abusive.
I would call Womens Aid on 0808 2000 247 and make plans to leave this man, you need to leave him because he will destroy you and your children from the inside out otherwise. You cannot currently fully protect them from his abuses of you and your own recovery from him will only properly start when you have left him.
I have 2 small children and it is not so easy just to leave. He has offered to change and to do what I want. If he goes on some sort of anger management course, could he change? I'm sick of being miserable for the children.
Thank you. Another problem is I have my own issues - I'm grumpy and insecure and angry too sometimes so he has convinced me that I am the abusive one.
I haven't told even my closest friends because I feel like somehow it's our secret and I'd be betraying him in doing so and we could never go back. I wonder if part of me likes being in this abusive cycle.
He says he's never been like this with anyone else.
And how many times have you heard similar from him before now; its all simply designed to give you false hope and to keep you within the home. He wants you simply to control and abuse you as and when he sees fit.
He has not got an anger management problem at all; his anger and violence is solely directed at you and you alone. He can and does control himself around other people doesn't he; you write that friends and family like him. He presents a good act to these people and fools them. These men do not change; their abuses of their intended target in this case you, only further escalates. Its already escalated.
Look at his parents OP; he learnt this from somewhere and its likely to be one of them.
As pp suggested. Contact women's aid. They will advise on how to best to exit. He.will.not.change.
From your numerous examples, this relationship is certainly not good for you. Noone should ever treat you like that - not for any reason. You don't have to take it - but do consider acting without telling him first - otherwise you open up yourself to more intimidation. Talk to women's aid or find a friend to stay with (one that can help you stand up to him).
I strongly urge you to contact Womens Aid when you are able to do so; they will talk to you about this and will not judge you at all. All calls to them also are confidential.
I would think you would want to teach your children positive lessons about relationships; just what are they learning from their dad in particular currently?. That his abuse of you as their mother is acceptable?.
Tell ALL your friends.
Go see a solicitor. Plan your escape.
He has offered to change. Yeah right. He has done fuck all about it. Bloody nerve implying that you have to ask him to not call you a cunt, spit in your face and put his hands on your throat. Like those are some special weird requirements you have that other people don't demand.
Call Women's Aid. You are being severely abused.
He is abusing you. Please don't punch him no matter how much he goad you. He will use that against you.
He is a horrible and sick person. You deserve a man who respects you.
I hate to say it, but I think you're in that cycle. Sadly, he wont change until he realises how much he needs to... and at the moment, he doesn't need to. The thing is anyone can say they are doing to do something. Change, attend a course... it's the doing that really counts as trying. like previous posters say.. he may never change. It's a hard thing to do. In fact he seems to be escalating.
It's really not easy - you're totally right. But, if a friend wrote that post to you, what would you think? I'm immediately concerned for your safety and that of your children. I'll say it bluntly - your situation is not ok. You can do something now, or wait for something worse to happen.
I had similar situation growing up, neither of them where bad people but they had awful tempers, and were particularly awful after drinking. There were dramas, injuries, broken bones... But that's their story.
Sometimes people just do not realise what they are like. Please call a helpline. I just saw an advert for one in the doctors. I'll try find it.
It's not easy to leave but you must. You and your children deserve better. Staying with him will damage your children. The abuse and violence will escalate. He cannot be fixed with anger management. Read "Why does he do that?" By Lundy Bancroft. Most important and life changing book I ever read.
I'm also stuck with him in a rural cottage in Dorset right now. I've told him I'm leaving him but suspect I won't. Is there no middle ground? He is mr charm personified in every other aspect of his life and is a good dad. I feel like a fucking victim and like I've brought this on myself. He wants to talk and will likely try to convince me I'm the avusive one: maybe we are both abysive. I criticise him a lot.
Woah! This is classic domestic abuse - he can't take ownership of his actions, blames you, says it's your fault, that you drove him to it.
I've worked with victims of domestic abuse in Crown and Magistrates courts when victims come to give evidence after their partners have been charged with assault, GBH or worse and the defendants always try this.
You are not at fault and do not even begin to let him think you are. Get out before you too are giving evidence in court because this will not get better it will only get worse.
If it helps remember you have a responsibility to your children to not only keep them safe but to keep yourself safe and at the moment you're not safe. Call the police if anything close to this happens again.
The fact that he's charming in other aspects of his life is typical of an abuser. There is no middle ground. You only get one life. Stay with him and have a miserable life or leave him and have any life you want. A life where your children do not have to witness this abuse. He is not a good father. He is abusive to his children's mother. They are likely to grow up normalising the abuse and end up in abusive relationships themselves. If you don't want that for them you must leave.
Reread what you have written: it is not about people believing if you tell them that he is violent. They all know he is violent: mother, friends, neighbour, your children. They are all waiting for you to leave or ask for help. Your children hear this and are frightened of him. Please ask for help.
Of course you're being abused. This vicious, spiteful abuser needs to go asap because you are in a very mentally unhealthy relationship which will damage your mental health and your children. He most definitely is NOT a good dad.
Keep your children safe and get away from him before his behaviour escalates further as he is not going to get help. He sounds vile. He shows typical signs of a controlling violent abuser and in keeping his secret you are enabling him to continue doing what he does more and more often....and it won't get better.
Yes, he is abusive: physically as well as emotionally: for example, holding your throat, not letting you leave. Verbally as well (when he calls you a cunt, take it as a compliment - they have warmth and depth. Don't say that to him, though.)
Of course, leaving is very difficult with small DCs, but with planning it is possible. You want a safe place to hide from him - with your DCs, of course - and the best two places I can think of are a refuge and your own place. Up to you if you want to go with the refuge option: I think it would be great, because you could learn a lot about abuse while you're there.
It will take planning, which is why people are suggesting WA. While you plan, there are two important things to do. Firstly, keep everything a secret from him. Just pretend everything is normal: do what you've done in the past, act as if you have never and will never think of leaving. Secondly, stop believing everything he says. He will be in your head, in your thoughts, it will take years to disentangle his thoughts from those that are truly your own. For now, whenever you think, "he says...", assume it's bollocks. Eg: he says I'm the abusive one because I hit him and he's never hit me: bollocks. (Very common bollocks among abusers, too - he's not even original! )
My mind is boggling. What is your definition of a good dad?
Thank you all. I've kicked him out the cottage into a hotel until we have to drive home to Bristol. He tried to say we have a good marriage, then that 'there are levels of abuse' and mentioned various things I've said or done. I said I didn't want to talk and he needed to pack a bag and leave. Finally he said don't take my children away from me.
I've sent a long email to my counsellor and forwarded it to my 2 best friends along the lines of the above.
I've asked him to think about temporary accommodation when we get home until I work out what I want to do.
I'd like to stay in the family home for the children and ask him to move elsewhere.
I'm very close to his parents and considering speaking to them about it. They are lovely and he has not learned his behaviour from them.
Some hand holding (I'm now on my own with no car in a rural cottage and will need to walk down several fields to get to a cafe for food with 2 small children!) would be appreciated.
A horrible part of me thinks I lOve the drama. I grew up in a house with an aggressive addict father and depressed mother and spent nights under the duvet in terror listening to violent arguments, sometimes where the police were called. Maybe I think that's what love is. Maybe I'm addicted to that adrenaline. But I don't want that violence for my children and I want peace now. The cycle of love and misery is draining the life out of me.
"A horrible part of me thinks I lOve the drama. I grew up in a house with an aggressive addict father and depressed mother and spent nights under the duvet in terror listening to violent arguments, sometimes where the police were called. Maybe I think that's what love is. Maybe I'm addicted to that adrenaline. But I don't want that violence for my children and I want peace now"
I thought you saw verbal and physical violence within the home and that became your normal and your warped template. Something your so called H said made me think that is what you saw.
Your last sentence here is what you need to focus on now; no-one protected you from the violence when you were small and your children really do need you now. History also has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Women in abusive relationships like yours is often write the "good dad" comment purely and simply because they themselves can write nothing positive about their man. As again is the case here. He is not a good dad to his children if he abuses you as their mother. The only acceptable level of violence in a relationship is none.
His parents may be nice but ultimately may have loyalties to their son rather than you. Be careful in all and any dealings with them.
Can you leave this cottage tomorrow and travel to somewhere less isolated?. I presume he made you pick this place purely because of its location to further isolate you.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.