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Is it emotional manipulation

(81 Posts)
isitmee Mon 27-Nov-17 18:19:03

I'm very confused and need some advice from knowledgable people.

I'm starting to think my husband has been emotionally manipulating me but he's got into my thoughts so much I feel like I don't know my own mind, even posting here is scaring me in case he sees it.

What is emotional abuse/manipulation?

Is it always bad stuff being said? He doesn't necessarily say bad things to me but tells me he knows what I need to do, think and feel for the best. I could elaborate but don't want to just now.

Greedynan Mon 27-Nov-17 20:44:47

This is copied from the relate website. It's long but I hope it's useful for you:

Most people know what physical abuse is, but when it comes to emotional abuse, people tend to think there’s much more of a ‘grey area’.

They might know it has something to do with treating your partner badly – name calling or making them feel small – but not be clear on what’s actually classed as emotional abuse, or whether it’s really as serious as other types.

But if you’re on the receiving end, it can be just as damaging and upsetting – and this is reflected in the law. The Serious Crime Act 2015 makes behaviour that is ‘controlling or coercive” towards another person in an intimate or family relationship’ punishable by a prison term of up to five years.

What constitutes emotional abuse?

There are a variety of types of behaviour that could be classed as emotional abuse. These include:

Intimidation and threats. This could be things like shouting, acting aggressing or just generally making you feel scared. This is often done as a way of making a person feel small and stopping them from standing up for themselves.
Criticism. This could be things like namecalling or making lots of unpleasant or sarcastic comments. This can really lower a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Undermining. This might include things like dismissing your opinion. It can also involve making you doubt your own opinion by acting as if you're being oversensitive if you do complain, disputing your version of events or by suddenly being really nice to you after being cruel.
Being made to feel guilty. This can range from outright emotional blackmail (threats to kill oneself or lots of emotional outbursts) to sulking all the time or giving you the silent treatment as a way of manipulating you.
Economic abuse, such as withholding money, not involving you in finances or even preventing you from getting a job. This could be done as a way of stopping you from feeling independent and that you’re able to make your own choices.
Telling you what you can and can’t do. As the examples above make clear, emotional abuse is generally about control. Sometimes this is explicit. Does your partner tell you when and where you can go out, or even stop you from seeing certain people? Do they try to control how you dress or how you style your hair?
How do I know it's abuse?

Sometimes, people wonder whether ‘abuse’ is the right term to describe any relationship difficulties they’re going through. They may feel like their partner shouts at them a lot or makes them feel bad, but think ‘abuse’ would be too ‘dramatic’ a word to use.

But the point of whether behaviour is abusive is how it makes you feel. If your partner’s behaviour makes you feel small, controlled or as if you’re unable to talk about what’s wrong, it’s abusive. If you feel like your partner is stopping you from being able to express yourself, it’s abusive. If you feel you have to change your actions to accommodate your partner’s behaviour, it’s abusive.

There may be many reasons for partners behaving in this way. They may have grown up in a family environment where there was lots of shouting or sarcasm, or been in relationships in the past that made them feel insecure. Sometimes in couple counselling, we are able to consider those behaviours, and the impact in your relationship. But while this might help us to understand, it can never be used as an excuse – so whether it’s on purpose or not, it isn’t OK. If you feel like you’re being subjected to abusive behaviour, remember you deserve to have a voice, and you don’t deserve to be made to feel scared or small.

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 00:01:46

Thanks that was a good read.

What if the person genuinely seems to be unaware that they are doing it and will not even consider it a possibility?

What can I do about it?!

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 00:30:36


Shoxfordian Tue 28-Nov-17 06:36:57

Its not possible that he's unaware he's being mean or critical or controlling

I think you know what to do about it....don't put up with it anymore and leave him

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 16:01:41

I tried and he's blaming me for tearing the family apart, telling everyone I'm dilusional because I take anti depressants

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 16:03:47

My head is so fucked with all of this, he is making me question my sanity. If it's not me that's the problem why do I feel so guilty??!

Ropsleybunny Tue 28-Nov-17 16:06:50

Can you contact Women's Aid for advice? It sounds very much like you are in an abusive relationship. flowers

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Tue 28-Nov-17 16:06:52

Because he's very, very good at it and is completely in your head.

Agree, you need to leave, even if not permanently, to get some space to think freely. You will be able to see what he has been doing to you. And you may find you don't need the anti-depressants (but obviously talk to a healthcare professional if you do decide to stop taking them).

Sorry you are going through this, but recognising that something is 'off' is a massive first step. flowers

hellsbellsmelons Tue 28-Nov-17 16:09:22

Because he's done a fantastic job on you.
Unfortunately that is exactly what abusers do.
They have you doubting yourself.
Running around trying to please and appease them.
Making you think you are mad.
I would bet money, that when you are away from him your MH improves somewhat.

Dozer Tue 28-Nov-17 16:10:14

Abusers rarely admit they’re abusive.

Read somewhere that a man who hurts you is not a good person to listen to about yourself: ignore his opinions.

If you’ve already left, go no contact unless you have DC so need to sort out practical arrangements.

Even if you haven’t already left you can seek RL support.

Kr1st1na Tue 28-Nov-17 16:17:07

What if the person genuinely seems to be unaware that they are doing it and will not even consider it a possibility

It’s still abuse.

They dont need to agree it’s abuse or even that it happened at all.

You feel guilty because women always feel guilty all the time whatever we do.

We stay in bad relationships for the children or because we were brought up to believe that marriage is hard work. Because we don’t want our kids to come from a broken home or we don’t have enough money to leave. Because we know our partner willl be an even bigger shit as we try to leave and we are scared. Because we think we love him or can’t cope without him.

But sometimes it’s right to leave. Sometimes the damage caused by staying is more than would be caused by leaving.

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 18:13:33

Wow already this is helping! The crying is confusing me, he keeps breaking down and crying because I'm hurting him so much, he can't bear the thought of not kissing the kids goodnight every night

RandomMess Tue 28-Nov-17 18:22:08

Sounds like he's gaslighting you!!

Instead of asking you what changes he can make to work out your relationship he is just piling on emotional blackmail - that's abusive.

Dozer Tue 28-Nov-17 19:01:05

Of course he’s sad it’s over: that’s natural. He can co-parent the DC, even share residency, if his true concern is being a good parent.

Presumably you’re leaving him because, over a long period of time, he made YOU extremely sad.

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 22:51:50

Well without going into to much detail I've recently started to get support for something and it's completely opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, I expected him to support me but instead he's completely against me getting this help, tells me I don't need it and I should be getting help from him and not outside influences. This help has made me look into my inner self and true feelings so now every time he tries to control me "for my own good" I'm kicking back and saying no so obviously this has caused major friction, huge arguments about everything. He's even resorted to snooping through my phone and says I drove him to it

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 22:55:22

I've been feeling too scared to say it's over, I'm scared to buy cigarettes I'm even scared to bloody fuel the car, that's not fucking normal! Is it??! I've had a lot of space over the past week due to his work ect and I really feel like I'm starting to see everything clearly but he is so strongly implanted in my mind I'm constantly doubting my own thoughts it's so horrible. I feel like I've woke up and realised I've been living with a complete stranger and I can't take it in, I feel in shock

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 22:56:24

Oh and I made an appointment with woman's aid too hopefully that will help although I keep thinking they will tell me he's done nothing wrong and I'm just being nasty ☹️

cordeliavorkosigan Tue 28-Nov-17 23:06:13

There is zero chance that they will tell you he's done nothing wrong. He's isolating you, preventing you from getting outside support, making you scared to do normal public activities like fueling the car? going through your phone? NOT OK. Doesn't sound like he cares much for how you feel. This man does not love you.

I hope you leave. You sound strong. You are strong! even if you don't always feel it.

StressedtoHellandback Tue 28-Nov-17 23:13:31

I have been having all sorts of things said to me for a few years now. I really believed all the criticisms. It got to the stage that I even thought I was too stupid to wash a cup at the sink. I was almost housebound believing that I was useless.
It is such a hard job to convince ourselves that we are capable functioning human beings when all we get is moaning and criticising. I got out of the reach of the person and although for other reasons it has made my life a bit worse in the short term I really hope that I am strong enough to stay away

Disquieted1 Tue 28-Nov-17 23:20:58

This thread is really vague. For a start, what is this external help you're getting? Have you found religion?

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 23:24:35

I'm having moments of feeling strong then the emotions start and I feel completely powerless again but I'm really having to talk to myself every time I feel emotional about it, remember the way I'm feeling and I don't want this for my kids. It's daft things like I moved his jacket earlier and even tugged my heart strings, presents he's bought me in the past, songs, the list goes on but it's just stuff I need to remember the facts. He claims to love me more than anything and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, grow old together but obviously only if I'm living the way he wants me too

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 23:25:58

I know it's vague and I apologise for that, I don't want to be identified as I said earlier he's snooping and knows I use this forum

UnicornRainbowPoo Tue 28-Nov-17 23:28:07

flowersbrew The shock is a normal reaction ime, when someone first pointed out to me that my relationship was abusive it really threw me and I had several major panic attacks. All of our marriage he’d told me I expected too much, that all relationships were hard, that I was too sensitive and emotional. I wasn’t, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that someone who was supposed to love me could actually deliberately hurt me, because that is what he was doing and he knew it and didn’t care.

It’s two years since he left and life is so much better without him. We are not divorced yet but getting there.

You can do it, stay strong, keep talking on here and seeking as much RL support as you can. There is a very big bright light at the end of the tunnel. 😊

isitmee Tue 28-Nov-17 23:31:53

My goodness that's exactly what he says to me! That I'm never happy and he gives me everything he can just to make me happy and it's never enough and I'm just completely ungrateful

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