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How do I support my DP who was in an abusive relationship?

(19 Posts)
ZigaZigBahhh Tue 30-Jun-20 15:08:57

My DP - a man - was in an abusive / coercive marriage for 23 years. He is now two years into a bitter divorce and really struggling. In communications which should focus on finances or child arrangements he is being gaslit about the abuse and mocked for “playing the DV card” and the divorce is being drawn out. Finances are now going through court but child arrangements are not (yet).

He is very confused, depressed (on medication) and seems unable to be proactive and progress the divorce.

I’m looking for advice about how to support him. Starting with coming to terms with what has happened.

He had counselling briefly after his Ex assaulted him - but stopped after a couple of months because the counsellor was inexperienced and he didn’t feel like he was getting anywhere.

Currently I’m repeating myself going over and over incidents - but he’s still not able to connect the abuse with what he needs to do to move on and crack on with his divorce.

OP’s posts: |
Dullardmullard Tue 30-Jun-20 15:20:19

He needs to do this no you. You can only be there for him

Has he come to terms with the end of his relationship. From your post it looks like he hasn’t really.

Why didn’t he ask for another counsellor if the first was inexperienced. Yes some are crap but some are brilliant

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 30-Jun-20 15:21:56

You can't. 23 YEARS, he need skilled professional help.

Laserbird16 Tue 30-Jun-20 15:24:49

Try a different counselor. Some click, some don't. This is way above your paygrade

Menora Tue 30-Jun-20 15:24:56

Are you his counsellor? Are you trying to be his girlfriend? This man does not sound like he is in the right place for a new RS and unless you are trained and qualified you could make this a lot worse for him and you end up very disappointed by the outcome

You can’t love someone or hope them out of bad times or bad feelings in situations like this. It’s just not enough, and life doesn’t work out quite like that you find someone better than your abusive ex and all the bad feelings disappear.

If this was a boyfriend I would probably not continue the RS right now
If this was a friend or relative I would just guide them to counselling and professionals and be supportive

CMOTDibbler Tue 30-Jun-20 15:26:09

He needs to work on this himself with the help of specialist counsellors. A friend got really good help from ManKind but its been a long process for him

1235kbm Tue 30-Jun-20 15:27:54

OP you sound really enmeshed in this relationship and you need to take a step back. There's an organisation called The Men's Advice Line he can call and he could find a counsellor via BACP - they are doing online and phone sessions at the moment.

If he's on medication and still depressed then he needs to speak to his GP about that as the medication is evidently not working. He may need to increase his dose or change to something else.

Men do get laughed at for experiencing abuse, I've seen it. They can be victim blamed and not shown the same consideration as women. Give him the number for the Men's Advice Line, suggest counselling and a trip to the GP. It's up to him, however to reach out for advice and help.

Be supportive but don't try to act like an amateur therapist. He's a grown up and can find support for himself. You have your own life, hopefully so why not focus on that for a while? Look after yourself.

Fanthorpe Tue 30-Jun-20 15:35:11

You can only be a loving partner, it’s going to take a lot of time for him to adapt to a new sense of himself. Has he seen his GP? Definitely support him to find some talking therapy, look on the BACP website for therapists in your area, (he might like to see a male therapist) and look for someone with experience in DV.

Examine your own reasons for being with him as well, you can’t rescue him. It may be that he can’t offer you what you need. Make sure you keep your independent life, friendships and interests.

Fanthorpe Tue 30-Jun-20 15:37:00

Your post appeared while I was composing mine @1235kbm, I honestly didn’t just re-word your advice!

NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 15:45:53

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Wherearemymarbles Tue 30-Jun-20 17:52:26

What an idiotic post nomoredickheads

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 30-Jun-20 17:57:33


What an idiotic post nomoredickheads

I'm not sure it's helpful in this case. But it is true.

Chucklecheeks01 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:59:10

@NoMoreDickheads there is obviously one more dickhead about. Your response is horrific and shows why many men do not report to the police.

Do better.

EBM20 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:10:48

Coming from personal experience of 3.5 years of mental and emotional abuse that lead to physical abuse. Nothing you do or say will make it better. It takes time to heal. Know the triggers of flash backs and avoid them. For example my ex rang me 100 times whilst I was on a night out then when I got home beat me up. Now after seeing even 10 missed calls from a person sends me into a panic and triggers the flashbacks. My partner knows not to repeatively call me.
It took me a while to speak to my partner about it, I can now comfortably speak to him about it and he knows that I want to move out of the area before his restraining order is up as I have nightmares about it, especially with a baby on the way.
Being there for him is all you can do, let him speak about it to you when he is ready, never question it.

user12699422578 Tue 30-Jun-20 18:17:52

You are not his therapist. You cannot rescue him.

ThePathToHealing Tue 30-Jun-20 18:20:49

I think he will need a trauma therapist. My experience with the NHS is that they are hard to find.

I think you may need to refrain from focusing the divorce petition issue. Given his past it might feel a little controlling from both sides. Sorry if I've read too much into that. I can see how getting it over with can seem like the cure especially if you want to start your life with him. Let him know that if he needs help he can come to you r.e the divorce but that needs to be his decision. If he has a lawyer they should be able to help with the practicalities.

Read up on validation and validate his feelings. It's what has been most healing for me.

Sooobooored Tue 30-Jun-20 18:22:32

Re the divorce, is he having legal advice? A solicitor should be able to guide him through everything and ‘progress’ the divorce.

SimonJT Tue 30-Jun-20 20:13:44

There isn’t a great deal you can do, as someone who was in a similar situation (but thankfully only for about 14 months) I would carefully consider if he is actually capable of being in a relationship right now.

Another thing that I’m still learning is that because of what happened to me I do have a tendency to do weird things or overreact to certain situations. But it wasn’t something I was aware of until I was in a relationship, it did scare my partner on occasion when he did something completely normal and innocent in bed (not sexual) and I started shouting at him and hit and kicked him out of bed.

Bunnymumy Tue 30-Jun-20 20:34:00

Why is he dating?

Advice would be the same for a man or woman- you shouldn't just jump into another relationship after an abusive one. You need to take time to process things and work on yourself, single.

The dude ain't even divorced yet.

And you seem very enmeshed already, as pp said.

I don't he is ready for a partner rn.
And you probably know this.
Stop trying to be a rescuer.

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