Advanced search

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.

Is my husband controlling me ?? or is this my just desserts ?

(22 Posts)
Abigale01 Sun 23-Sep-07 15:25:15

Sorry this is a long story but i thought giving some background into our relationship would be helpful in inderstanding my situation.

My dh and i have been together approx 15 yrs, things haven't always been good between us and in the early days you'd probably wonder how we managed to get this far. I'd been sexually abused as a child and was a product of a very disfunctional family. I left or rather was pushed from home at 16 and made my own way in life albeit a rocky road moving from one abusive relationship to another eventually arriving at the point at thinking all men were barstewards and starting to treat them the way I had been treated in the past.

I was a very angry and screwed up individual in my late teens through my 20's. I didn't really know how to love i don't think and tried to run before i could walk in most relationships and fell hard when things didn't go the way i had planned. Being hurt so many times i built a wall that i would let no-one past, played hard to get and had commitment phobia.

When my now dh and i met i was still pretty screwed up and tbh have no idea what i saw in him at the time, he was nothing like the guys i'd previously dated or fancied, he was kind and sweet, sickly sweet almost. i'd previously been drawn to 'bad boys' i s'pose. i never in my wildest dreams thought this would go anywhere and treated him badly but i obviously didn't see what i was doing at the time, it was just normal behaviour to me. I would constantly push him to see how far i could go and if he would hit out at me like others in the past had done and pretend that i didn't care if we where together or not. I have no idea why i did this, i'd never encouraged anyone to hit me before it just happened out of the blue when all i did was love, i guess i just thought that if someone really loved you they showed it by getting jealous and abusive. (how sad is that!)

Through all the months of me pushing and pushing he never once reacted and slowly and without warning i feel head over heels for him and realised that he was different. Over the next few yrs i did everything i could to prove my love explain what i'd been through to make me that way and appologise for my previous bad behaviour. He seemed so understanding and our relationship went from strength to strength, we've had our up's and down's like most couples but weve got through everything thats been thrown at us. We have 4 wonderful kids together and you'd think that life was sweet.

Unfortunately this is not the case, we seem to have more downs than ups now and he's no longer the kind sweet understanding person i married. He seemed to switch off from me some yrs ago, so long now i reall can't remember and although hurting about this i switched off also, we both got wrpped up in our own things and didn't have musch time for each other. it really got me down but i was too afraid or stubborn to say anything so we just plodded on in what seemed like a loveless relationship. We still chatted together at times and still had sex on occasion but there seemed to be no love or intimacy.

I got quite depressed about it and eventually went to speak to the gp who put me on anti-depressants and i had counselling. looking back he seemed to thrive on the fact that i didn't want to go out and lost touch with all my friends, i became a hermit and we where together all the time, tbh we got on quite well and it didn't feel like a problem although sometimes i would feel like a caged animal, have a shout and cry about it then it all went back to the same routine and nothing ever changed.

It was like this for yrs then one day i realised that life couldn't just be like this and things had to change. I plucked up all the courage i could muster and sat down for a chat with dh and said things had to change and we had to work at this marriage or leave it. We decided to work at it, i got a job after being a SAHM for yrs and things started to look up. We became more more loving and considerate to each other and life was good again. That all changed almost 3 yrs ago when i discovered dh was seeing someone behind my back, i was devasted and didn't know what to do and the depression hit me again. We've tried to work through it but it still affects me and i'm finding it hard to move on, i have good days and bad days but he wont and never as spoken to me about it, he refuses point blank to discuss what happened, we've tried relate without success and if i dare to mention anything now he gets angry and walks out on me.

I 've become terribly depressed again and now he wont let me out of the house, i'm not allowed to take the kids to school or pick them up, go into town, shopping or anything alone. If i need to go anywhere he will run me and wait for me and it's driving me insane. This all seemed to coincide with me telling my dh that a male work mate had seemed to take a fancy to me, I'd jokingly mentioned it to dh and he didn't take it too well he started visiting me at work more often without notice and giving my work mate nasty looks and comments. He gave me such an hard time about it at home that it became unbearable and i gave up my job. He kept making me feel guilty and telling me i was a terrible mother for going out to work, he hated the fact that i was feeling good about myself, making friends and doing something i enjoyed, he would make nasty remarks about me thinking more about my job than my family so i gave it all up to make him feel better. He now checks my phone bills & contacts, emails, txts, he wants to know who's phoning me and what they want yet he does what he wants when he wants and will talk on the phone for hours out of earshot and tell me nothing and makes me feel bad if i ask anything.

I miss my job and my friends but he critised them at every oppertunity and i rarely ever speak to them anymore. I'm back to being a SAHM and full time wife to dh and he seems so much happier about it but i'm miserable and he doesn't care. have i brought all this on myself for the way i was at the beginning of our relationship and now it's my turn to pay the price ?

fawkeoff Sun 23-Sep-07 15:40:27

hun you dont need to justify his behaviour because you where a cow with him at the beginning of your the sounds of it your life was no walk in the park as you where growing up, and you have to realise that what he is doing to you now is totally out of order.he is a control freak and you cant let him do this to u hun.Have you thought about going to work again??

fawkeoff Sun 23-Sep-07 15:42:08

do you really want to spend the rest of your days being ordered and controlled by him??

splishsplosh Sun 23-Sep-07 15:46:22

No of course not, you deserve to be happy.

Have you told your dh how you feel? If you were able to discuss things and work at your relationship in the past, do you think that could work again? How about counselling?

You sound very unhappy and trapped at the moment - you were happier when working, having a life outside the home - if your dh won't allow you to have that, do you want to be with him?

Tinkerbel5 Sun 23-Sep-07 16:20:50

Abigal not its not your fault that this man has turned into the kind of men that you have previously dated, sounds like he is punishing you for sticking by him when anyone else would have kicked him out after having an affair shockhe will only not let you do things as long as you let him, he sounds mentally abusive, you have to start sticking up for yourself, take you children to school and if he tries to stop you then call the police, I dont think you need this man in your life as he is dragging you down

Tamz77 Sun 23-Sep-07 16:27:53

This is such a sad story, and I'm not sure if my advice is worth anything, but felt I had to reply.

1) If you think you in any way 'deserve' this treatment or are somehow having to 'pay' for past behaviour, then you are wrong. Life doesn't work that way; these issues are NOW. By bringing up your own 'bad' behaviour (if you want to call it that) you are only justifying other people's poor treatment of you. They don't need to be vindicated, they just shouldn't do it.

2) It is not up to your husband to 'allow' you to go out, collect your kids, have a job and friends etc. This is your life, these are your choices.

3) Similarly you are entitled to privacy eg in terms of phonecalls, text etc. Just because you are married doesn't give your husband the right to be invasive, and certainly not aggressively invasive.

4) Your H clearly has control and dominance issues which need to be addressed. I know this will be a terrible sticking point but things ain't gonna improve without. Does he know how incredibly s**t you're feeling? Is Relate or other counselling completely out of the question? You'd get good advice from your local Women's Aid (I've spoken to them myself and I wasn't the victim of violence, but emotionally and mentally tortured, something like yourself). Everything you've described your husband doing is abusive, don't attempt to downgrade his behaviour because, long term, it won't help either of you. My ex was the same (still is, actually); everyone I met or hung out with was/is a 'c**t'; I fancied all his mates (had to, I'm female and they were male, you see hmm ), etc. It's a means of belittling and dominating you because for you to feel belittled and dominated makes them - somehow - feel bigger, stronger and more secure.

5) Please please talk to people about this. Mumsnet is a start! I'd suggest your GP, Women's Aid, Relate/similar counsellor, your HV if your kids are youngish, friends, family...anyone who can offer support and an outlet for you, because you have so much to bear atm. It goes without saying that if your marriage is going to get past this then your husband needs to be prepared to talk too. To you above all.

edam Sun 23-Sep-07 16:29:09

He sounds frightening, tbh. A man who won't 'let' you out on your own, who forces you to give up your job and your friends so you are dependent on him and a prisoner in your own home is a scary, scary man. He has huge problems.

He hates it when you feel good about yourself - this says it all. He's a controlling, abusive bully. Call Refuge or Women's Aid - domestic violence doesn't have to be actual hitting.

You say he won't see Relate. So I think your only option, for your own safety and sanity, is to chuck him out or leave yourself. If you stay, he'll get worse and worse. And it may end terribly.

What would you want one of your own children to do if they were married to someone like your h?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sun 23-Sep-07 16:33:26



0808 2000 247





AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 23-Sep-07 17:51:40

You are being totally controlled; you are a bird in a cage of his making. He is a controller. This not only affects you to your detriment but your children as well. They learn from all this.

Would second all the suggestions made to contact Womens Aid.

Would also suggest you read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft. He is a leading author on controlling types.

Ultimately you and your children will have to leave him if you want a life of your own.

Abigale01 Sun 23-Sep-07 19:41:18

Thank you for all your heartfelt replies, to answer some of your quaestion -
I would love to go back to work, dont get me wrong i adore my kids and love spending time with them but they're not babies anymore, youngest is 7 eldest is 15. I don't feel i need to be here every minute of the day and i shouldn't need to be with dad here too but i know he'd never let me go out to work again, that sounds stupid i know, it's not like he physically restrains me, what i mean is that he will make things so difficult and unbearable for me and wears me down so much that i don't have the energy to fight for what i want so i do what he wants for an easy life.

he does scare me sometimes when he loses his temper but i'd never let him see that and he's not been physically violent for some time now, the last time was when i found out about the other women but tbh that was as much my fault because i went on and on about it and was screaming like a banshee and he was desperately trying to make me beleive i was wrong. I lashed out at him and he hit back so it was 6 of one half a dozen of the other.

he refuses to talk to me or anyone else about it because he says its in the past and over now and i will get over it if i stop thinking about it.

I too have been accused of fancying every man i come across and i wonder if dh has ever really trusted me. I was such an outgoing person when we met and had lots of friends and socialised regularly but slowly that all ended because he would make it so difficult for me to enjoy myself and would put all my friends down. There were times when i'd made arrangements to go out when our 2 eldest where young and because he didn't want me to go out he buggered off in the car all night so i had to stay home with the kids. We'd moved away from all our family and friends because he wanted me to himself at first i thought it was romantic but it eventually made me resent him.

I have spoken to womens aid in the past but the thought of moving my children into a refuge feared me to death and i so wanted to get back with the man i married and hoped one day he would be back. In my heart i still want that man back, i know it's really sad and cheesy but i listen to love songs and think why can't i have that ? why does my dh not love and cherish me in that way.

When i try to tell him how crap i feel he tells me i'm wrong, he says he does love and care for me but he never ever shows it, he says he's not good at that stuff but he is, thats why i fell so much in love with him because thats how he was and he made me feel so wonderful and special, i really beleived that he would do anything for me that i was his world. Now i feel like bottom of his list of important things, he'll do anything for anyone else but will watch me cry and do nothing about making things better for me. I've heard the words i'll change, i'll be different so many times that i still want to beleive it but i don't think he ever will and that tears me apart.

And finally to answer the question about what i'd do if a guy was treating one of my girls this way .......... i'd probably be arrested for answering that truthfully but to say there would be nowhere in this world where that guy would feel safe would be an understatement but i know i don't value myself as much as my chidren

PondusLector Sun 23-Sep-07 19:58:43

It is never your fault when someone becomes physically violent towards you.

Your situation sounds so hard, I don't really have any advice different to the above, just wanted to offer some support. It must be so difficult to consider such drastic action - but you are strong. You have proved that by surviving already.

I think Edam and the others have said what I wanted to say. You clearly deserve better.

warthog Sun 23-Sep-07 20:02:44

i may be waaaay off base here but:

is it possible he was the way he was in the beginning because of the way you were? that it suited him to play the martyr and he wasn't actually really like that? he sounds quite manipulative to me.

either way he has no right to do what he's doing now.

Abigale01 Sun 23-Sep-07 20:23:34

I never thought about it that way before but i cant imagine he was doing that tbh he did put up with alot from me and i know that and he was loving and thoughtful for quite a while before i noticed these little changes in him that now hes like a totally different person. He does throw at me what i did and said in the past though and although it hurts i can only apolgise so much for it i can't change the past and i've tried so hard to make up for it since. even when he was unfaithful he put the blame on me for making him feel unloved

Even when i say to him that if i met him now i'd run a mile he reminds me so much of the abusive men in my life before, he gets annoyed and says he's nothing like those bastards !!

I wasn't going to say this, but as i'm being open and honest about everything i decided to admit that i really enjoyed the attention my fellow work mate gave me, he made me feel worthwhile and appreciated but i knew it was all just like that because he fancied me and it would never be like that if anything where to happen between us i can't honestly see me having anyone in my life that treats me that way forever.

Abigale01 Sun 23-Sep-07 20:26:11

I've just realised that maybe dh saw the changes in me and thought i was so much happier because of this guy at work and thats why he's being so overprotective of me now hmm

lilacclaire Sun 23-Sep-07 20:56:03

Abigale01, he is every bit like the abusive men in your past only in a different way, he is psychologically abusing you as opposed to physically.
You are not allowed out on your own shock
Read your original post again, please and ask yourself what you would say to the person posting it, my first instinct is to say run and don't look back!

Oh and womens aid in my (not personal) experience put you into your own flat and support you and the kids until they can safely rehouse you.

Abigale01 Sun 23-Sep-07 21:12:39

I know what your saying, i read what i've posted and i think OMG what are you putting yourself through, i know it all sounds so bad but it almost feels like its not me anymore i'm talking about a 3rd person i'm so used to the way things are i know when i spoke to womens aid before she said they had a large house with seperate family rooms with a shared kitchen etc and i know it wouldn't be so bad but i'm scared that if they offer me a house i'll get somewhere really horrid. A feeling of jumping from the frying pan to the fire springs to mind. I have contacted the council yrs ago and they told me that my family is too big and i would be on the housing list for yrs cos they dont have enough houses big enough and they dont come available often.

I've considered private renting but dont know where i'd get a deposit from as i have no control over any money.

Another fear is at 40 with 4 kids how on earth do i start all over again, who'd want me and would i ever be able to trust again to have a relationship if miracle of miracle i ever met anyone. surely its gotta be better the devil you know ?

fawkeoff Sun 23-Sep-07 21:34:46

i reaaly do feel sorry for u hun, but you cannot spend the rest of your breathing days being controlled by this manipulating shit bag man.Have you thought about putting your name down for a house with a housing association???? or even going private rental, the social and housing do help towards bonds and you will get full rent paid if you leave him, pluse benefits for you and your children.even if you decide to go back to work there is still financial support for you.Have you thought how your life is going to be when the kids leave home???.i really think you should consider not being with this man anyymore...because if it where me i would rather spend a lifetime alone than be with someone who barely lets me breathe

fawkeoff Sun 23-Sep-07 21:36:53

please let me stress to you that the housing will help you with a bond...they dont like to tell you this,but they do.

fawkeoff Sun 23-Sep-07 21:38:50

and if you do leave and you start to claim income support you can get a loan of up to £1500 pounds which you dont have to pay interest for and they take about 10 quid a week,also the housing will give you a decorating and furnishing grant.i think you should really consider your options hun and go to the C.A.B for further advice x

bamamama Mon 24-Sep-07 05:45:57

Abigale - this story is so sad, as everyone has said you really need to seriously consider leaving this 'relationship'
Your children are old enough to see what's going on and this cycle will be perpetuated. (however this isn't your fault)
Your husband is not "overprotective" he is a controlling bully who believes that using your past against you will put you in your place while telling you to get over his crap past behaviour.
Please try and imagine what life will be like for you and your children without him (arrangements to keep him in you dc's lives can wait for the moment). A job, friends, freedom.
I really think you need further counselling to come to terms with your past and this relationship. Once you've worked through this I would hope that you can see your future more positively.
And, for the record, he is a complete shit and his treatment of you makes me angry

Susianna Mon 24-Sep-07 06:44:49

Abigale, honey I've just read this thread and I can relate to a lot of what you describe.
Firstly, let me say that yes, when you start to write down how your life has become, it does feel like it isn't real, like you are talking about somene elses life, and that you must somehow be a fraud - I felt like this with my last partner. I couldn't quite believe it was happening to me, didn't want to see it as abuse because that would mean i was one of 'those women' and I had never thought of myself as a victim like that - I suppose it would have hurt too much. And I was lucky in that it only had been a few months, not a lifetime with this man.
The fact you are noticing and writing about this situation shows that you have some sense of self left, that actually, you know this is wrong, and are beginning, just beginning, to tap into the huge anger that has been building up inside you.
This is a GOOD THING.!
I understand where you are coming from re the 'devil you know' and I also thought this when I was with my ex - 'nobody is perfect, and if he loves me and is prepared to put all this effort into me, (even in a negative, controlling way) then surely at least I have someone who loves me, or cares about me, and that is worth having'. That's what I thought but I never considered the effect it was having. Especially on my children.
That is what you must think about. You can resign yourself to being treated badly, but the fact is the world doens't stop, it all moves on, and aside from the risk of your kids growing up thinking that it is right for a woman to be treated like this (I learnt a lot from my parent's interaction, and still can't manage to have a decent relationship with those patterns in my head) you are also, I hate to say it, at risk of his behaviour becoming worse. It could be ultimately dangerous, honestly, men who begin with emotional abuse and menatl abuse will often, and I mean often, gradulally move up the scale and start to attack you physically - just as he has started to prevent your free movement and so on.
Please believe this, he is dangerous, he is unwell, and whatever the reason for the development of this game, it is happening and you really need to get out.

I think you know that already and I think you are brave and intelligent. I got out after about 8 months - that was 7 months too long - I had to cut my losses and face the horrid, scary anger I had, which surfaced after he had gone - it was horrible and I wanted to keep it bottled, so I never had to feel it, cry for my children and what they had seen...but the longer you leave it, the more there is to face and who is he to take over your lifetime? To own you like this?

I think it would be good to start by phoning your local refuge, they are very supportibve, and have all the tools in place to help you (you don't have to want to leave your home or anything to use their services). Basically they will help you to leave the relationship or at least to protect yourself whether you decide to leave him or not.

I'm so sorry but it does sound like he is abusing you and I believe it will only stop if you remove yourself from the situation. Seriously, he won't stop now uless he has nobody to control and that means you have to go.
I am so sorry and I wish you every bit of strength to deal with this. Well done for recognising the signs. xx

KaySamuels Mon 24-Sep-07 07:09:13

I think you know deep down that you don't deserve this, and the anger you are quashing is comng up in your returning depression. You do not deserve to feel this way. He is abusing you and you should leave for your sake, but also your kids sake. You are right, they are old enough for you to have a job, and it is not healthy for them to see you controlled like this either.


Try and get some advice - if the council cannot place you anywahere surely they have a duty to help you go priivate? I am sure you could get a crisis grant or some such for a deposit and furnishings, go to a call box if you can (does he work?) and ring the numbers on this thread, and your housing office - they may have someone who deals speificaly with women leaving abusive relationships so even though it will be hard do tell them when you call.

Please do not let him keep you down like this! Show your dd tht women should not be controlled like this, that you should be happy, independant, have friends, make phone calls! I am so sad] and angry for you and wish you lots of luck and support.

K x

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: