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Was it abuse?

(30 Posts)
Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 10:38:18

I am having hard time getting over a past 8 year long relationship. It affected me in every way possible. It ended 6 years ago (I know).
I am currently in the process of facing up to this after deciding I don’t want to feel sad anymore.
But I wondered if the lovely MNers could help me with this....
I have always blamed myself. I started to get depressed in the last couple of years of our relationship, this made me angry, insecure and all the rest of the horrible things it does. I didn’t always treat him nicely and for that part I take full responsibility. The way he used to react to this was with anger. He grew up with alcoholic abuse father so this was all he knew. There would be times I would be beside myself in pain, having panic attacks. He would shout at me, try kick the door in. Threw things at me. On one occasion he grabbed my face. But this was only occasionally when he really couldn’t cope with me. And I think that’s why I blame myself. A lot of the time he was very sweet and thoughtful.
If this was you how would you look back and view this? I am very depressed right now as I am going through all this so rarely trust my own judgement of things.
Thank you if you’ve got this far x

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SoulofanAggron Tue 14-Jul-20 10:43:24

Yes it's emotional, verbal and physical abuse. They are usually nice between episodes of abuse, otherwise women wouldn't stay with them.

So sorry you had this experience. flowers

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 10:46:57

SoulofanAggron

Yes it's emotional, verbal and physical abuse. They are usually nice between episodes of abuse, otherwise women wouldn't stay with them.

So sorry you had this experience. flowers

Thank you for your response. But wasn’t this just because I was the way I was? As if I wasn’t that wouldn’t have happened? He is married now and having a baby. They seem so blissfully happy and she’s obviously much more level headed than me. I so wish I wasn’t like this

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Mims2 Tue 14-Jul-20 10:50:04

Sounds like he had bad anger issues and took it out on you.
He was a abusive to you but doesn't make him a bad person. He should have got help for how he handles his anger but that takes a lot of hard work.
Well done for leaving the relationship as it wasn't healthy for either of you.
Don't be sad, it was a lesson so now you know to spot the signs

PurpleButterflyAway Tue 14-Jul-20 10:54:59

In what way were you not nice to him?

The way he reacted is definitely abusive, and you’re far better off without him. However if you were also name calling/throwing things/screaming at him etc, your behaviour was abusive too. Sometimes two people who are struggling to cope with life can become abusive towards each other. They feed off each other’s anger and misery and it escalates into something awful and toxic. I want to make it clear that it in no way excuses his behaviour to you though.

However if it was a case of you pointing out things you were unhappy with and him reacting to that with anger and violence, that is outright abuse and he won’t have changed with his current partner despite how blissfully happy they seem.

Mims2 Tue 14-Jul-20 10:56:44

Just seen your update OP.

I had an ex who did similar to me and now he's moved on, we're good friends and he's married to a lovely woman.
He strangled me in anger and I took him to court and he pleaded guilty. We're now friends...
He wasn't a bad man, we just brought the worst out in each other.
No one is perfect, some men do have some serious anger issues, why do you think there are so many anger management courses etc. It's really common.

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:10:21

I just felt so unhappy and I took it out on him. So I would accuse him of not loving me etc. When I look back I think he really do it was just me sad it breaks my heart as he was the love of my life. I didn’t know I was depressed at the time. It made me feel like I didn’t love him so I left in the end.
I have been a mess ever since. I have a new dp and dad but can’t be happy. I obviously have a lot to work through..
Thanks for your replies. @Mims2 that’s good you could be friends in the end. I do agree he had anger issues.

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Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:12:59

Really did *

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Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:13:35

Dd* not dad! Sorry

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TooTrueToBeGood Tue 14-Jul-20 11:17:37

The devil is in the detail. His behaviour as you describe it was absolutely abusive. Yours is less clear. It's not impossible that you were both being abusive towards each other. That said, I believe abuse has to be judged not just on the actions and behaviours but on the impact to the individual, not least because there is a feedback loop and abusers are aware of the effects of their behaviour on their victim. You are clearly still suffering very strong emotional and psychological impact from his behaviour towards you but he does not appear to be doing likewise (though we cannot obviously know that for sure).

TooTrueToBeGood Tue 14-Jul-20 11:22:59

No one is perfect, some men do have some serious anger issues, why do you think there are so many anger management courses etc. It's really common.

My layman's view is that very few people actually have genuine anger management issues. If someone habitually loses their temper with their boss, colleagues, authority figures, people bigger than them etc then they have anger management issues. However, it's far more common that individuals are able to control themselves when they don't fancy the consequences but then lash out at more vulnerable targets such as their partner, children etc and that is more indicative of abuse than lack of ability to manage anger.

PurpleButterflyAway Tue 14-Jul-20 11:31:17

@Soscared29 what you’ve described, it doesn’t sound like you acted anywhere near “not nice” enough to warrant a reaction like that. You felt he didn’t love you and told him so, he reacted by abusing you. Having been in the grip of depression and feeling like my OH doesn’t love me, I completely get where you’re coming from. The normal, loving reaction to your partner being scared you don’t love them is to reassure them, comfort them and tell them how much you do love them - not attempt to kick the door in.

Perhaps try the freedom programme? Or see about some counselling for yourself, talk therapy can be an amazing tool and it’s definitely worth exploring. Have you spoken to your doctor about your depression? There’s medication that can help, or if you’re not wanting to go down that route there are mindfulness practices that can do a lot of good too flowers

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:31:37

@TooTrueToBeGood I have pondered that too. We were abusive to each other when the arguments escalated but often I would retreat in tears and shut myself away he would continue shouting in my face/try and kick the door in. It was scary lonely time as I didn’t know what was happening to me. He would then get a lift into work with my parents and nobody knew this was happening. I would come home from work and go straight to bed, cry myself to sleep some nights. I was definitely depressed and so wish I had gotten help at the time. I know it is not an excuse for my actions.
But yes, how does it not affect him when I am still a mess? I had a mental breakdown that lasted months when we split. It was the most painful time of my life and I tried to take an overdose. I have started counselling recently and been recommended EMDR for it. I’m so sad it is still affecting me now. The pain is as intense as it was then and I am so desperate to put it behind me. I need to figure out what is keeping me there, I know that.

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Colourmeclear Tue 14-Jul-20 11:31:44

Sorry to hear you are still struggling. I think it's important to maybe look at what was happening when? I'm sure it wasn't your depression that made him abusive, it was most likely his abusiveness that made you depressed. It's like saying he shouted at me for being afraid, I'm so useless but completely ignoring that he threw something at you first. It was his action which fed your low self esteem. Does any of this feel true?

Would you be willing to see your GP and maybe see about counseling of some kind? I'd also suggest writing how you feel down. It's so difficult to keep all these things inside.

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:40:06

Soscared29

**@TooTrueToBeGood** I have pondered that too. We were abusive to each other when the arguments escalated but often I would retreat in tears and shut myself away he would continue shouting in my face/try and kick the door in. It was scary lonely time as I didn’t know what was happening to me. He would then get a lift into work with my parents and nobody knew this was happening. I would come home from work and go straight to bed, cry myself to sleep some nights. I was definitely depressed and so wish I had gotten help at the time. I know it is not an excuse for my actions.
But yes, how does it not affect him when I am still a mess? I had a mental breakdown that lasted months when we split. It was the most painful time of my life and I tried to take an overdose. I have started counselling recently and been recommended EMDR for it. I’m so sad it is still affecting me now. The pain is as intense as it was then and I am so desperate to put it behind me. I need to figure out what is keeping me there, I know that.

@TooTrueToBeGood thank you for understanding, it’s hard to articulate a lot of the time. But I have thought about what you said recently. As I have seen the same patterns creeping back in my new dp. Maybe twice he has got frustrated, but he has always put his arm round me and reassured me. I don’t deserve him. And I still blame myself for my last relationship and I am trying to work on forgiving myself

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TooTrueToBeGood Tue 14-Jul-20 11:41:21

I agree with Colourmeclear that counselling is something you should seriously consider. Trying to analyse his behaviour and understand why he behaved the way he did will never give you answers. You need help to heal from a professional. I'm sorry you have been through this and continue to suffer. Start by accepting that you are a victim of his abusive behaviour and did not deserve to be treated like that, nobody does.

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:42:19

Oh sorry I am making a hash of this thread!

In answer to your questions yes I am on ADs now and have started counselling. Should have done it years ago but was scared to face it.

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PurpleButterflyAway Tue 14-Jul-20 11:45:48

@Soscared29 my first message about your behaviour had been before you’d described what your behaviour was, please read my second post. You were absolutely not abusive, and in no way encouraged a response so aggressive from him.

You still struggle with it because you were abused. He wasn’t, he was the one doing the abusing which is why he can walk away unaffected. Every couple has arguments, arguing is not being abusive towards him. His response to you arguing back was though.

You’re probably still stuck there for the same reason thousands of women stay and mourn the loss of their abusive partners, you can’t make sense of what happened and you feel like it was you that was the problem. If only you’d been good enough, happy enough, agreeable enough. If only you’d been able to be exactly what he wanted you to be, then none of the abuse would have happened. You feel responsible, you feel that you weren’t enough and you’ve not been able to get closure for it.

It’s an incredibly long journey to closure and healing from what you’ve experienced, but it’s well worth making it. You’re trying to make sense of a situation you had no control over, that’ll never happen but you will eventually be able to move on with the right help and support.

At least that’s what they tell me. I’m trying to start that journey myself, not quite ready to get though. But you are away from your abuser and that is the first step, I really hope you are ok and manage to work through this flowers

Mims2 Tue 14-Jul-20 11:50:24

I think you should re think your current relationship with your DP if your still going on about your ex? You don't sound happy with current DP?

TooTrueToBeGood Tue 14-Jul-20 11:54:12

If it helps, you are not alone. My wife was horrifically abused by her first husband - emotionally, physically and sexually. The damage he did to her is unforgivable and even now, 20+ years on, I still see signs of the impact he had on her, though thankfully she is 95% recovered and much happier and more confident. He moved on to a relationship with a woman my wife knows well and we are assured he has not abused her. That left my wife with the same sort of questions you have - was it her fault? The answer is no and let me use an analogy to try and explain why I believe that, aside form the fact that victim-blaming is logically flawed from the get-go.

Imagine I am a mugger. I go out tonight to ply my trade and before long I spot a likely victim - a man of slight build and physically unimposing. I attack him and leave him lying in a pool of blood as I make off with his wallet. Later on I spot another likely victim, another slightly built man. However, this man is highly proficient in martial arts and it is me who is left in a crumpled heap. So should we point the finger of blame at my first victim for not having learned how to fight? Of course not. Equally, should we blame my wife for the abuse she suffered because her abuser's subsequent partner is somehow better equipped to deal with him? Again, I would say of course not. I'd add that he has not changed. We meet with relative frequency at family events and he is still very much an aggressive and bullying personality.

LessCumbersome Tue 14-Jul-20 12:05:55

I'm reading your posts differently to how you're saying them OP. So you think you were abusive to him and he was correct to react with such anger as to try to kick the door down and throw things at you? I agree with PPs , I think your depression was due to being in a relationship that you didn't feel safe. That's why you kept asking for validation in the form of "do you love me?". You have been in this state of confusion about what happened for six years plus. To me this doesn't indicate that you are the perpetrator of abuse but instead are the victim of it.

As to him moving on and appearing blissful, that doesn't say anything, it doesn't indicate that you were the one at fault. You have moved onto a man who supports you when you struggle and nothing like what has happened in your previous relationship has reoccurred .

You need counselling to unpick this. I'm glad you're getting it.

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 12:26:39

@Mims2 I am not happy in general as I still carry a lot of this pain from my past. I don’t think it is a reflection of him, just of my mental state. But I do think I should have dealt with all this before getting into a new relationship. I truly thought I was ok, but it has crept up on me recently. It’s not fair on him I know. I am so lucky that he tries to understand and is sticking by me.

Thank you for all your insights. It does help hearing from others as I really struggle to make sense of it all. I am really hoping counselling will help me and I can be happy

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Itsallpointless Tue 14-Jul-20 12:26:45

Hi OP. It sounds to me that there were communication difficulties in the relationship anyway. Coming from an abusive environment, he most certainly would've had underlying issues he hadn't dealt with, trust me, they don't go away, so his 'blissfully happy' projection is purely superficial, I'm sure he has a lot going on in his head. But that's HIM.

Now YOU, I think what you're struggling to come to terms with, is whether if you'd acted differently, then you would still be together 'blissfully happy'. I think you may be looking back with rose tinted glasses OP, when the reality is very different. I am feeling similarly at present OP.

I'm very much 'if it's meant to be'. He couldn't cope with your depression, but didn't try to understand and support you, just got angry, we all need help at times, and he wasn't helping was he? That's not a firm foundation for a relationship in my opinion.

Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 12:29:25

I have also explored the fact it was a very codependent relationship. As in so much of how I felt about myself was through him. I tick all the boxes for a codependent. Do you think that would also mean I struggle to get over it/him?

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Soscared29 Tue 14-Jul-20 12:33:29

No he didn’t help @Itsallpointless. I remember when he split he said “I used to get you. I don’t get you anymore” and that really crushed me. It really hurts when someone you love so much rejects you that way. Maybe I thought well if he doesn’t get me then who will (including myself).
I’m sorry if this is rambly nonsense! I still feel so low at times that it is affecting me and just want it to go away

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