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Does this sound like emotional abuse?(45 Posts)
Asking for advice as recently confided in a friend about trouble in relationship and they said it's emotional abuse but don't know if that's an over reaction. Sometimes DP can be nice but increasingly all I seem to get is criticism, my every mistake pointed out and made to feel stupid and small and worthless. I try to make conversation and he looks at me like I'm an idiot or says I'm mumbling. So I speak up more emphatically and he asks why I'm "snapping." He recently shouted at me in front of all the kids (two of his own from previous relationship and one of my own) when I was trying to offer advice on a situation said I was trying to be a "smart arse". Often in situation he relates back to me what happened in a way I don't think happened but it makes me question if I'm wrong and it really was all my fault. But I always try to be objective and see it from both sides. If I feel I've done something wrong I will try to apologise and sometimes he accepts that in a patronising kind of way. Will give me a hug for example as if to say "it's ok you messed up." Then he will be nice to me for a while and I question again if I've over reacted. I grew up in a household where my father was an alcoholic and so things were somewhat dysfunctional and I've always vowed I would never let myself become a victim of any kind of abuse. I worry that perhaps I'm reading too much into it but also that because of growing up that way as a child I possibly have fallen into a pattern of what feels normal and familiar to me. I do not want my young DC to ever experience what I went through so think I need to have a long hard think about it. Am I over reacting to this sort of thing? Don't get a lot of sleep as my DD has additional needs and so that takes a lot out of me which DP knows and has witnessed first hand. So I worry that he is playing on that at times to make out I'm being over sensitive or kind of mis-remembering situations as they happened. I have my own faults as I say have a lot of stress in my life and anxiety related health problems so perhaps I don't react to things in the best way at times but I do genuinely try to do all I can to make him happy and feel it's never enough.
What do you get out of this relationship now?. What is in this for you?.
Your friend is correct; this man is being emotionally abusive towards you. Abuse like you describe as well is truly insidious in its onset.
Your childhood spent with your alcoholic dad messed up your boundaries hugely so this also played its part here in leading you into the arms of this man; that also all needs to be unpicked properly through counselling on your own. We after all learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents and you were taught an awful lot of damaging stuff that needs to be unlearnt.
This man you are now with will never be "happy"; he likes having you around so you can wash his pants and feed him and to also put you down as and when he feels like it. These are not the actions of a loving partner.
I would also contact Womens Aid and talk to them further; their number is 0808 2000 247. They can and will also help you give you the tools. Men like you describe can take a long time, years even, to recover from so I would also urge you to enrol on their Freedom Programme and do this in person if at all possible as well.
This may be useful to see what is happening in your relationship:
Just found this on YouTube
If I could ask for one single thing about my partner (and my children’s future partners) it would be that they are kind. Your partner is not kind. In fact he seems to enjoy being unkind. He is grinding down your self esteem and sucking the joy out of your life.
Thank you all for your responses
Atilla I've been asking myself same thing what is in this for me. I feel like I'm still in love with him but don't like him any more as a person. Hate myself for sounding so pathetic as it makes no rational sense when I see it written down. Thank you for the number also. Think because it's crept up gradually it does seem exactly that - insidious. He was lovely to me when we first got together.
Bibbidee thank you will look at links now
Tilapia I think you are spot on he does seem to enjoy it although I hoped that was me being paranoid. And it is sucking the life out of me literally my health is starting to suffer badly from stress related ailments.
Now writing through blurry eyes as tears are coming and I know what you are all saying is true.
Thank you springydaffs All your kindness is making me want to cry again how much of a saddo am I??
Bibbidee both those links are shockingly accurate. I always prided myself on never being dependent on anyone and standing up for myself. I'm disappointed that I've let this creep up on me and wasn't even aware of it until now. Every one of those traits described in the video apply to me though.
Someone (most likely your mother) taught you how to be codependent; she herself was in a codependent relationship with her alcoholic husband. Codependency often features in relationships where alcoholism is present. I would read "Codependent No More" written by Melodie Beattie. You may also want to contact CoDA www.coda-uk.org/index.php
You may appear "strong" to others on the surface but inside your own insecurities from your childhood are still very much present. That is what this man picked up on; he is using your own insecurities and fears to further put you down to make his own pathetic self feel better. He takes away from your life rather than adds to it and wants to drag you down with him into his pit. He targeted you really so you really do need to leave him.
It doesn't matter really if you label it abuse or not, it's crappy behaviour that you don't have to take. I thought it was normal for ages too, but then I met someone who is nice and I realised that I'd put up with some shit in my time. Also reluctantly noticed that being with a nasty person had made me less than my best. Hope you can find someone you deserve.
All of that makes sense Atilla. He is not very happy in himself and I get the feeling at times he is resentful of achievements/qualities of mine (not that I think there's anything that great) so I wondered if subconsciously he was trying to make himself feel superior. I don't mean that in an arrogant way just from some things he's said I've picked up on that's how he feels so I keep trying to understand why he seems so angry at me at times.
Thank you Elsie. It has become normal to the point it's made me start to walk on eggshells with other people. I made a minor error when giving a friend directions the other day and started profusely apologising. He just laughed it off like it's nothing to worry about and it hit me that I've come to expect people to lay into me for the slightest thing.
Thanks Tilapia feel very sad but the support here has really helped am very grateful for all your advice
Someone (most likely your mother)
Not necessarily your mother op.
You're not a saddo
Often in situation he relates back to me what happened in a way I don't think happened
Abusive behaviour , makes you doubt your own reality
I have been in this situation , before I finally left I used to think about secretly recording him so I could play it back and be sure of what had actually been said ( crazy I know )
These things do creep up on you , you try to believe it didn't happen and out it to the back of your mind
You sound lovely , don't put up with it . He sounds an arse .
Thank you pajamagirl that's very sweet You don't sound crazy either haha with the recording in fact I had to write down exactly what happened after one of these events recently and what he said made no sense. It was just for my own peace of mind to reassure myself.
Thanks springydaffs yeah I will do recently actually did look up this term as it's exactly what it feels like xx
Don't know why I'm posting again because you have all given excellent advice and rationally I know it's all true. Yet can't stop feeling miserable and heart broken. He gave me silent treatment for couple days (fairly common occurence) and I messaged him just wanting some kind of sign that maybe he cared. Then found myself pathetically grateful for any messages longer than a couple words long. I honestly hate myself. Can't stop crying, can't eat, sleep is even worse when I do I have nightmares. What is wrong with me I must be even more messed up in the head than him. I mean I know what's wrong with me and why I'm like this. Just don't want to have feelings for this man any more as rationally on paper I see he is horrible to me Thanks to anyone still reading it just hurts so badly.
You remember the "good times" but with further reflection they were probably all and only on his terms. Do not get sucked into the sunken costs fallacy; that basically causes you to keep on making poor relationship decisions.
This man only cares for his own self; he does not give a monkeys about you and never has. He has given you spaghetti head by his actions of gaslighting you and has put you in the low place you are now in. This has been his aim all along; to mess with your head so that you are easy to further manipulate, gaslight and control. He targeted you really to exploit you further to his own ends. His actions are all about power and control and he wants absolute over you.
Silent treatment as well is never about being silence; that is another form of emotional abuse. He is using silence to get you to comply but the responsibility for going silent on you is all his alone. He also wants to drag you down with him into his pit; such men really do hate women, all of them (in particular starting with his own mother).
You will ultimately need to go cold turkey with this man so no contact of any sort from you to him as of now. As mentioned before it is well worth calling Womens Aid.
I can't really say anything more than what's been said by pp. I just wanted you to know that it will get better, I swear. It's like weaning yourself off anything - cigarettes, alcohol. Very hard but you know the craving will go one day.
Take care of yourself sweetheart xx
Thanks Atilla I know you are right. So angry at myself for being dragged into this. A lot of it does seem about him wanting power over me. Yet my brain keeps remembering the "good times" like you say and trying to trick me into thinking it could all still be me over reacting. But yeah I feel like he hates me but wants to use me as a toy for his own pleasure. And stupid me has gone along with it. So disappointed in myself.
Thank you Guardsman xx you're right it is exactly like that. I just hate this horrible broken feeling want it to be months/years in the future and feeling ok again. Or I find myself either wishing I had never met him or i had just never been born. My whole life seems like one sad messed up thing after another.
I agree it's (like?) an addiction.
You have to go cold turkey. As excruciating as that is, hold out, bcs the obsession will pass quicker than you think.
Have a look at SLAA and CODA
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