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Freedom Programme

(18 Posts)
SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 00:05:03

Hi smile

I posted on the Red Flag thread with a few red flags that then turned into a bit of a ramble about my awful marriage that I left 6 years ago.

I've been reading lots of threads on here over the last couple of weeks, and wondering about the Freedom Programme then thinking, no, it's years ago now, so I won't bother. Someone on the Red Flag thread mentioned it though so tonight I emailed my local one which is in a town about 20 miles away. I'm hoping the list was up to date and they still do it as I feel it would help me to move forwards.

I also currently work with a man who is charming but I've realised he is a bully. Luckily I only have to work with him once more before a long break. My boss is aware now (it was she in fact who told me that the behaviour I was describing was bullying) but I've only just consciously realised he is a deeply unpleasant man and that I'm very intimidated by him. Over the time of working with him I came to the conclusion that I would never get into a relationship again. I think this was because my subconscious was picking things up that my conscious wasn't.

However, I would like to meet someone. And I think because of this work stuff and reading Mumsnet I've concluded that if I don't get some awareness and develop some boundaries I'm just going to end up in another abusive relationship or never be in one at all.

My father was psychologically and physically abusive to me when I was a child so I've never had proper knowledge of healthy male relationships. I read the free online chapter on the Freedom website and the male person who is described as "Friend" sounded like something out of a fairy story tbh.

I have difficulties with relationships in general anyway because of the mental health difficulties I've had since childhood, so I think learning about types of abusive men and being able to recognise them better will help enormously.

I lived on the internet when I was married as my XH always got angry when I went to stay with my (one) friend as he was jealous, so I definitely want to go to a group if there is one.

Those of you that have done it - does it help in the ways I think it might?

Thanks. smile

numbmum83 Mon 16-Oct-17 00:07:59

Try women's aid for a local domestic abuse course too .
I found the dv course life changing, it amazes you when you go back to the start just how much you didn't realise and how the signs are there .

DancingLedge Mon 16-Oct-17 00:12:19

Absolutely. Everyone I've ever met who's done it feels they've gained a lot .
I'll bet you will too.
Protects you in future relationships,of different kinds, and makes you feel better about yourself, as you fully realise what wasnt your fault.

SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 00:33:34

Thanks very much. Women's Aid has a forum that I've joined but there doesn't appear to be anything local to attend in the way of a course. However, the local domestic abuse charity offers a variety of things including counselling and one to one sessions to talk over aspects of life after leaving. I'll keep it in mind.

I have an internal fight constantly to convince myself that I was abused and that it wasn't my fault. I find it hard because there was no physical violence, just emotional and psychological as well as the controlling aspects (that I hadn't even recognised until very recently)

DancingLedge Mon 16-Oct-17 00:37:22

What you've just written means you SO will gain a lot from the Freedom programme.

SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 00:54:01


I did a lot of unhelpful and damaging things over the years which causes some of the internal conflict. He didn't make me do them, ergo it wasn't abuse. But then I tell myself that I did them because I was in an abusive situation and that I was trying to make things better the only way I could, and that my thought processes were totally fucked up which meant I couldn't make well thought through and sensible decisions.

DancingLedge Mon 16-Oct-17 00:58:42

Once you start to experience the freedom of truly realising what was abuse, that it wasn't your fault, you will be liberated to resolve your own stuff. Which is almost certainly smaller and more forgiveable than it seems now. flowers

Apileofballyhoo Mon 16-Oct-17 01:00:25

You come across in your post as such a lovely warm person. It's amazing to me that we put up with so much shit because we have no idea it's not normal, as we never experienced 'normal'. flowers

DancingLedge Mon 16-Oct-17 01:01:04

What are you now thinking about the Freedom programme?

SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 01:39:44

I emailed the local facilitator and am waiting to hear back from them.

My thoughts are that it would be nice to meet other women who have experienced abuse because, although my friends have been supportive, they don't really have a clue what it's like. I'm also thinking I want boundaries. I want to know what is normal.

My self esteem/ confidence has always been low, and my XH is a bit of a loser, never making an effort with anything or working towards anything worthwhile. He worked in the same job for 20 years although he hated it after five years. He was waiting for redundancy to come up..... It eventually did, but who in their right mind stays at a job they hate for fifteen years waiting for a redundancy package. What nonsense! So, I want to meet someone with a bit of oomph to them, and I think learning about abuse and all that stuff will help me to not crumple and run away when presented with a normal man.

Someone who doesn't sit in the back seat of the car with a bath towel and more or less eating Immodium like sweeties whenever I drive. (He did that for a while until his anxiety about my driving subsided) Someone who doesn't writhe on the floor in agony with gallstones yet accuses me of not cooking a meal correctly and giving him food poisoning. (I admit I was deeply hurt by this yet found it hysterical at the same time).

God, he was hideous. Some of his abuse really was OTT and was farcical and I couldn't take it seriously. I don't suppose those times when I laughed at him did me any favours in the long term, but I had no idea what was happening back then.

The first concrete "evidence" as such that he was an abuser came when I goggled "unreasonable behaviour" afr we split up. I thought that if I tried to divorce that way I wouldn't be able to find more than one thing to put on the form, but in the lists I came across there were 20, 30, 40 things I could write. That upset me. I'd convinced myself we'd just come to a natural end of the road. I didn't do it in the end as I was too scared of him, I waited 2 yrs. I thought he would counter it with accusations that I was insane and I was frightened of being locked away. (This was because he gaslighted me and I had no idea what was real and what I had imagined, but I didn't know that at the time).

Anyway, yes - I think it's time to confront all this head on and not avoid it any more. smile

SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 01:46:24

Something that makes me smile now is that for years he refused point blank to do any housework because it was my mess so I could clear it up. Miraculously, the moment he moved out, I stopped being untidy....

Hallelujah! halo

@Apileofballyhoo Thank you smileYes, exactly, so much of it feels so reasonable at the time we end up convinced it's us that aren't normal. Hard to move forwards from that even a long time afterwards

SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 02:21:25

I've been googling Gas Lighting and found this extract on another Mumsnet thread.... Everything on this list was me. sad

"How do you know if you are being gaslighted? If any of the following warning signs ring true, you may be dancing the Gaslight Tango. Take care of yourself by taking another look at your relationship, talking to a trusted friend; and, begin to think about changing the dynamic of your relationship . Here are the signs:
1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can't do anything right.
14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses."


SevenStones Mon 16-Oct-17 13:03:43

I got an email back from the group and another lady who actually runs the sessions is going to get in touch with me. They run them once a week.

Having to get over the fact that I need to do this is difficult. I'm angry that I have to.

Also over the years I've pushed myself to be successful so I'm not like him, but I think I've pushed myself into a life that isn't actually mine. I'm really stressed and making myself ill by forcing myself to be this person.

I think addressing the abuse head will help me make better decisions all round.


Trailedanderror Mon 16-Oct-17 13:07:13

Every woman should do it. I deliver it and advertise as 'finding out about relationships.'

BatshitCrazyWoman Mon 16-Oct-17 13:38:56

Sorry to crash your thread, OP, but does anyone know if the online course is as good? I work full time and can't attend the one held in my borough.

OutToGetYou Mon 16-Oct-17 16:06:56

I also want to do the online one.
I could probably find time but I don't really want to squeeze it in to my life, I'd rather try and do it remotely.

That list doesn't really apply to me - but I worked out a while ago that the reason my relationship didn't work was because he was constantly trying to gaslight me, was abusive, but I pushed back so we got into rows. I wouldn't cover up for him, no way. Nor apologise to him. Some of it applies, I did often wonder if I was 'too sensitive', mainly because he constantly told me I was.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 30-Oct-17 16:56:19

@SevenStones how are you getting on?

Annoyed5678 Mon 30-Oct-17 18:24:36

In the freedom programme they say abusers lets say a man is the abuser, he has learnt this behaviour off another male whilst growing up. My ex abused me but his family seem to have a solid relationship and can't imagine his mother would be in that sort of relationship but I ask how do they learn this if not from males growing up? And how come all abusers are pretty much text book abusers learn the whole script word for word? Sorry if I seem nieve try ing to make sense why they are like this

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