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Can a verbal abuser change? Is it ok to not be able to get over certain actions of the past?

(41 Posts)
Lalalandab Tue 12-Jun-18 19:41:08

I'm brand new on here. I've had an extremely volatile past couple years with DH who has done some horrific things very early in our marriage, and is now saying he realizes and wants to go to therapy before we call it quits.

Briefly- I got married 2 years ago and moved to another part of the world. I left behind a solid career, great life, family and friends to litterally to across the world where my husband worked and lived. One day after our wedding (litterally) he requested I start wearing certain clothes to be more modest (scarves to cover chest area etc). I was surprised a this was never raised before. I did it but hesitated and he started swearing and yelling and saying go back home if this is such a big deal for you, I wish I married someone more modest. Obviously massive fight ensued, with no apology. I was extremely hurt. Next day while going to honeymoon, another massive fight left me in tears.

When we arrived at honeymoon location he agreed to move past things as try to enjoy our time, only to ten minutes later after I smiled at a man, tell me I "eye f'd him" and called me a cu"t, whore, slut, bit** and said he won't stay with me and proceeded to try and book a seperate room. I, I think in shock, chased him like a dog and begged him to stay. I kept thinking how could this be happening to me 3 days after my beautiful wedding.

He stayed. No appolgoy. I faked it entire honeymoon, until we had some intimacy issues (Bc I was dying inside and it was last thing I wanted to do as it was my first sexual experience) and he threatened to leave and left two more times due to my difficulty with that area - yelling horrific things to me after I experienced pain or difficulty with intimacy and he would leave saying this isn't a marriage - I again chased like an idiot.

Fast forward 2 years. The extreme verbal abuse stopped- no more cu*t or whore (only once or twice more), but extreme reactions continued. Harsh words were used when he would get angry- you are useless, trash, I can replace you with someone younger, I wish you were raised better. But now I would respond as well and also verbally attack him in defense and sadly out of extreme frustration, resort to restraining him or scratching. So he says he has put up with me being physically abusive as well as verbally abusive.

As crazy as it sounds, we had good times in between as well where he was extremely kind and loving. But I can never stop thinking about the honeymoon. Ever. I have deep shame and regret about how I handled it and feel I set the tone for rest of marriage.

Is it possible to get over something a traumatic as that, or is it ok to after 2 years has passed say that I can't get over it? That i cannot get over how unfairly I was treated?

I left after a recent bad episode and suffered some health issues right after I left and have been recovering back in my original home. He recently came and has said he wants to fix things and get therapy together Bc he realizes he was wrong. He seems sincere and is saying we can't throw the towel in without giving therapy a sincere shot.

I am torn Bc I have hope for change but also severe resentment. And it's been months and I just can't make a decision. I also am older (35) and worry about having children if I have to start all over again.

Please be kind in responses.

user1483387154 Tue 12-Jun-18 19:45:51

You would also need counselling for your aggressive behaviour.

However even if you both do get help you may go d that it still doesn't work

It is also perfectly ok to say that you can not forgive his emotional abuse.

Shoxfordian Tue 12-Jun-18 19:47:42

Don't even think of going back to him

RitaMad Tue 12-Jun-18 19:50:32

Sod therapy with him. Go back home and have therapy for yourself. Rebuild your life without him. Calling you a cunt and a whore, controlling what you wear is unforgivable IMO.

EmpressOfSpartacus Tue 12-Jun-18 19:54:05

He threw the towel in long ago when he started abusing you. You really, really don't want to have children with this man - especially daughters, after the way he treated you. What if he wanted to move abroad with them?

futurestar Tue 12-Jun-18 19:57:57

Please don't
I left an abusive bully
He didn't change
People tell me they don't when the abuse is as you describe x

DameFanny Tue 12-Jun-18 19:59:43

You don't need counseling for your "aggressive behaviour". You were being subjected to sustained abuse - most people would crack.

You should however get in touch with Women's Aid and get a referral to the Freedom programme, so you can learn how to avoid abusive relationships in the future. Please do that?

LB2203 Tue 12-Jun-18 20:04:15

I'm so sorry you've been through all of that. It sounds awful. No wonder you've struggled and are not sure where to turn.

I know I recommend this a lot, but I really think you would benefit from looking doing the Freedom Programme, because his behaviour really is classic domestic abuse and so textbook. There is an online version, freedomprogramme.co.uk

He has done far worse than only be verbally abusive. He has been using a range of abusive tactics to control and degrade you. Starting with him dragging you to a foreign country away from all your support networks so you were completely isolated and under his control, and moving swiftly on to dictating what you can and can't wear. There is more to this than calling you names.

In that context, it doesn't sound crazy at all that there were "good times" in between the worst of his abuse. It's standard for this kind of abuse, because it's how he keeps you from leaving. You keep holding onto the hope that you can have more of the good, loving times if you only stick around, try harder, do everything he says, stop making him angry, etc. That feel familiar?

I'm sad to say, but his recent change in behaviour now he's facing down losing control of you is part of the abuse. It is not sincere. He's just saying anything he can think of to try and regain control of you. If this doesn't work I expect he will ramp it up or try going back to threats and name calling.

This short video shows what he's doing: m.youtube.com/watch?v=d5NHBn5p9vY

Lastly, even in the extremely, extremely unlikely event he was the one abusive man in a million who was genuine about changing, the professional recommendation for such men is that they should no longer be in the relationship with the woman they were abusing while they work on themselves. So joining a programme to change their behaviour is something they should be doing on their own, for their own benefit, not as a way to keep control of the woman they've abused.

What do you want for yourself? I suspect you probably know deep down that if you take him back this is the future you will have. Would you want a child to grow up in a home like that?

I'm sure others will be along to point out you're not too old to have a family, you still have options. Please don't stay with someone who has hurt you so deeply, over such an extended period of time, for that.

You can have a happier, safer, calmer life that looks nothing like the one you've had with him. You deserve so much better and it is out there for you if you stay strong. It must have taken so much courage to take that step and leave. Don't let him wheedle his way back in.

35 is so young. Visualise spending another 50 years living like you were with him - could you bear that?

You've come through so much, and it really sounds like it must have been traumatic. There is help for you to overcome the trauma he's left you with, but you will struggle to heal if you put yourself back into that situation.

I really take my hat off to you for managing to leave, and I just wanted to say again how sorry I am for the things he's done to you. You are not overreacting, or unreasonable, or bitter, or anything else to be traumatised by this. I don't know how anybody would be "over it" after 2 years when they've been trapped in a horrible, abusive situation since then, heaping more pain on top, and not had space or support to heal.

Your life is precious and valuable, and you deserve the chance to build a future for yourself in peace, away from his abuse and where you can have a chance to heal from the trauma. And if it's worrying you, that is not being selfish.

You tried your hardest, but you can't change an abuser, you can't take responsibility for him, his life, or his problems, and now it's time for you to focus on saving your own life and getting the help you need to recover.

Take care.

Thingsdogetbetter Tue 12-Jun-18 20:04:20

Ffs. Be more worried about having kids if you don't start over! Is that the kind of thing you want the father of your kids saying to them? Of course you don't, but that's what will happen.
The only reason he says he realised he's been wrong and wants to try therapy is to reel you back in. Don't fall for it. He's had two years to realise his behaviour is shite, and he didn't. And he doesn't now. He just wants you back, isolated, so he can continue being the asshole that he is.
Therapy together is NEVER advised when one is an abuser! If he thinks therapy will help him change let him do it alone for that reason. If he does mean it and wants to work on HIS issues, you can consider reunited in 12 months time after he's proved he's changed. He won't fucking bother! It's a ploy to get you back under his control.
Bet he sounded sincere when he asked you to marry him. And look how well that turned out! The bloody minute he thought he had you hooked he began abusing you! It shows how calculating he was. One day after your wedding! One bloody day!!! And he never stopped. He know it hurt you. He knew what he was doing. He just didn't care. And he doesn't now either!
You have time to start over and have kids with a loving, supportive, respective partner. If you give him another chance you'll be wasting years that you could have been happy in.
You're out, stay out! Don't let him suck you back in with promises of a future that just won't happen.

LB2203 Tue 12-Jun-18 20:18:21

Sigh. So great how the MRA style responses manage to jump in first with their victim blaming bullshit. It's almost like certain posters sit here waiting for vulnerable people to jump on and screw with their head.

I echo DameFanny. Reaching breaking point in the face of sustained and prolonged abuse is not "aggressive behaviour". Just like trying to defend yourself from the never ending onslaught is not "verbal abuse". But if he can make you feel at fault and ashamed then it's easier to retain control of you.

"Interestingly", it's very common for abusers to deliberately push their victim to that point and then claim to be the victim, or that it's "six of one, and half a dozen of the other". As the OP's abusive partner did. Along with the first reply. hmm

Self defence isn't abuse. It's self defence. She has nothing to defend herself from anymore, the "problem" won't recur. What the OP needs counselling for, is the trauma.

How about we take issue with the man who tortured her for 2 years?

All of the blame and shame sits with him.

HollowTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 20:22:45

Bloody hell, OP, he's awful. The idea of you having therapy for your violence is laughable - therapy to help you leave him is what you need.

You will never be happy with this man. He's really awful. Get back to the UK as fast as you can.

Having a child with this man would be a nightmare. Don't worry about your age - you should worry about being tied to someone like this for life instead.

Lalalandab Tue 12-Jun-18 21:50:11

Thank you all for you encouraging and helpful responses.

I do agree I responded after extreme situations but I will get therapy to figure out why I say mean things or went crazy sometimes in response. I regret it so much as he now can say I'm so verbally abusive.

I do wonder if I went back back and just did everything he preferred without complaint (wear scarves every day without making sarcastic comments as I used to) don't make a big deal when he says things about me restricting my interactions with males- (there is a religious aspect he always uses). If I just did those things he really is nice and loving. But his ability to compromise is almost non existent. I sometimes think it's just a scarf who cares, or fine I can't go to after work events on my own if males are there. Maybe I can get over that.

I just need to courage I guess to end it officially. I have been in limbo for 6 months and I somehow feel sorry for him and feel sad he will have a second failed marriage.

AnyFucker Tue 12-Jun-18 21:55:19

Why did his first marriage fail ?

SnowGoArea Tue 12-Jun-18 21:57:14

If you do all those things he will just move the goalposts and find something else.

He didn't behave like that because of the lack of scarves or the other men, so changing those won't fix it. He behaved like that because he's full of anger, maybe because he's been damaged by abuse himself. Who knows the precise ins and outs, but it's a problem inside of him.

Anyone who actually had concerns about scarves etc would just talk to you about it, and respect your opinion if you disagreed.

Lalalandab Tue 12-Jun-18 22:02:36

First one failed allegedly Bc she cheated. Everyone tells me he will just find something else to get angry over but I have noticed that when I do those things without complaint he doesn't pick fights normally at all. It's just a matter of whether I can actually do that for the rest of my life.

AnyFucker Tue 12-Jun-18 22:06:39

Could you change yourself into a Stepford wife ? One who obeys all commands ? Is that any way to live or do you agree that women should submit to men ?

I don't reckon his 1st wife cheated. Who told you that, him ?

He is an inadequate. He needs to reduce you to his status to keep you. I hope you run very far away.

bluetrampolines Tue 12-Jun-18 22:06:57

They dont change

SnowGoArea Tue 12-Jun-18 22:07:03

But it might not happen straight away. It might initially appease his anger, but 12 months down the line when it's had the chance to build up again he snaps over something new. And then the floodgates open.

And what if you have kids because you think things are OK? Men who are abusive to their wives aren't suddenly delights to the chaotic, disobedient little people that storm into your lives. Parenting adds loads of new stress and pressure and things to get mad about....

EmpressOfSpartacus Tue 12-Jun-18 22:08:50

How do you know that if you do those things without complaint he won't push you further? How much worse would it be when you had to make sure your kids didn't annoy him either?

You're talking about giving up your freedom. Your life. For a controlling abuser who might be kind to you if he feels like it. Don't. Really, don't.

LB2203 Tue 12-Jun-18 22:16:11

He said his first wife cheated.

Would that be the same kind of cheating he accused you of for smiling at a man?

Abusive men always have sob stories about their previous partners. It's so you feel sorry for them and won't listen to the ex if she tries to warn you.

LB2203 Tue 12-Jun-18 22:25:36

Also, children would never be able to follow all his rules. But I think you already know that.

I'm not convinced you believe you could live like that yourself without ceasing to exist as a person. Any children wouldn't have even had a choice about it.

And I guarantee you the rules would continue to become more and more extreme. And not being permitted to even look at another man as you walk past is already pretty extreme.

None of his rules are about religion, they're about control. Abusive men in the UK from all backgrounds adopt the exact same tactics. Accusing their partner of cheating with any man she has contact with as a way of limiting her social circle and isolating her.

It's not your fault for wanting to make your own choices and have a social circle beyond him. It's his fault for forcing things on you and refusing to accept no for an answer. You are perfectly entitled to say "I don't want to dress that way" (or "I don't want to have sex, it's too painful") and have that respected. Anybody who respected you would respect your choice.

Genuinely, why would you want to live as a shadow in fear and misery for the rest of your life?

You're worth more than that.

You're already out. You did the hardest part. Now it's just about healing and regaining your strength and self esteem. You can do that too.

CleopatrasMum Wed 13-Jun-18 09:11:42

You want children. If you go back and.have children, believe me, how he behaves bow will be a walk in the park compared to how he behaves then! Even if he never directly abuses the children, you will be far more trapped than you are now and.he will know that. His abuse of you will escalate and.it will be much harder to leave than it is now.

He has shown you who he is. Believe his.actions, not his words now. You are still young at 35. Don't waste your life on this dreadful loser.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 13-Jun-18 10:27:27

he wants to fix things and get therapy together Bc he realizes he was wrong
Why together????
If he is admitting he was wrong, why does he want you to go with him!?
I'll tell you why.
Because he is an abusive cunt and he can then use what is said in there as another stick to beat you with.

Why are you considering changing for an abusive 'man'???
If someone loves you then they love YOU!!!
Exactly as you are.
They support you. Love you. Cherish you. Honour you.

If you are in the UK then please contact Womens Aid.
Do their Freedom Programme fast!!!!
And keep this vile prick away from you!

The fact you are even considering taking this creature back speaks volumes about you and what you are prepared to do and change just to keep a 'man'
Get some counselling for yourself.
Womens Aid can tell you about specialists in your area.
I do wonder what you learned about relationships in your childhood.
To feel sorry for an abuser..??? Just no way.
Tell him to fuck off!!!! And do some work on yourself and your boundaries. They are way way off!!!!

Lalalandab Wed 13-Jun-18 17:37:25

He says he would like to go together Bc he does not have an anger issue with anyone else except me. The sad part is that although this actions in the start of our marriage were completely uncalled for and inexcusable, due to my building resentment, I as I said, became very mean in my responses, telling an swearing back after he would lose it on me. So he says we both have issues that we need help with. I've never scratched anyone either in my life but I lose it oh him after being treated what I think is extreme and unfair. So I wonder if we are mutually abusive. I'm trying to self reflect and be honest with myself.

SeaEagleFeather Wed 13-Jun-18 18:31:16

His problems are very deep rooted and come partly from his culture but are not embedded deep within him. The religion is an excuse.

If he is genuinely sorry then he can show that by behaving better to his third wife.

Get out yourself because to reprogramme himself would take literally years and he will be a very bad father. At 35, you've got about ten more years realistically. It isn't long enough. Also, you don't speak as if you love him any more (who would?) and -that- is reason enough.

And yes, some things you just can't get over. Frankly his words and attitudes are just as bad as either of you having an extra marital shag. Don't believe otherwise, because often cheating comes from a bad attitude and boy, he has lots of those already.

He married you on false pretences -he misrepresented himself to you completely- and he is not the man he promised to be. You can leave.

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