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I think I was the abusive one(9 Posts)
So here goes. Sorry it is so long. It has taken a lot for me to write this down.
I have struggled with this for 5 years and I have berated myself for all that time, struggling to understand why. I think it is guilt.
I was with my ex partner for 8 years. Met when we were 16, moved in together at 21. He had a rocky childhood. Abusive dad, alcoholic stepdad. When we first met he had a hole through his wall and said he had done this himself after an argument with his mum’s bf. This wasn’t a red flag for me. I felt sorry for him and soon he became my absolute everything. My dad was often aggressive when I was younger, throwing things etc. He would sometimes hit me with a slipper if naughty (but I just saw this as old-school discipline) and slapped me round the face and called me a slapper when I first started staying over at said exes house (I was 17). Anyway lots of up and downs in those years, his mum practically left him homeless at one point and there I was ready to ‘save’ him. But I think I was dependent on him, not the other way round. During the last few years of our relationship I began to feel very down, sort of cut off from family and friends, not myself. I started crying myself to sleep and didn’t know what was happening. I would accuse him of not loving me, even though he would show me the complete opposite. I started arguments with him, would become hysterical so much so that I would have to leave the house and go for a drive or lock myself in the bathroom. I had a panic attack once. I threw things at him and would tell him he was ruining my life. I was horrible. During the last year I read an article about Frankie from the Saturdays suffering from depression (funny the details you remember), I showed him and said ‘this is me’. He didn’t say very much, I think he told me to go to the GP but probably didn’t know what to do. What he did though was retaliate in ways that made me so frightened. During arguments he would throw things at me too, kick doors off of hinges, he once pulled a knife out of the kitchen drawer and threaten to stab himself because I was driving him crazy. He grabbed me round the neck once.
But I honestly think if I wasn’t so horrible to him he would not have done this and like I say I have spent the last 5 years beating myself up about it. I brought that side out of him.
When I finally left I was utterly bereft, couldn’t believe I had done it and realised that I did love him, it was just my shit mental health making me think I didn’t. I did the usual begging, pleading, desperate things that I am utterly ashamed of now. He just said ‘you did the right thing’ and that he ‘used to get me, but didn’t anymore’. And well, my self worth has never recovered. I have started counselling and have spoke to a few professionals who are suggestive of PTSD.
But the most overriding emotion is guilt. I was an abusive horrible person.
You can't change the past but you can learn and move on. Guilt is so pointless when you can't do anything with it. You could do some voluntary work which would make you feel better about yourself. Try to be kind to yourself and keep up with the counselling. The future is going to be what you make it. And you deserve to be happy
Wait a minute... You need to unpack this properly.
What I'm reading here is a toxic relationship where there was blame on both sides. It was an awful relationship but were you really any worse than each other?
You know that one of the symptoms of PTSD is anger? .... Watching someone having an angry episode as a result of PTSD is scary and terrifying but that person is reacting because of a mental illness. They may be displaying abusive behaviour, but they are not an abuser.... Do you understand the difference? I know for the person on the receiving end it's scary either way, but you need to appreciate that you were mentally ill. And you need to find a way to forgive yourself. Because I think you sound like you deserve it.
Abusers don't take that much responsibility, you've taken it all. I think you are more of a victim than you believe. I'm not justifying what you've done but I see lots of positive things in your post. You self reflect, you feel guilt, you want to make amends and grow.....
You can't go back and change things but you can learn why you did it and learn to forgive yourself.
And also, just for the record
When he grabbed you round the throat that was him
When he took the door off the hinges that was him
When he threatened to stab himself (manipulation) , that was him
I'm sure you have a lot that you want to work on for yourself, things that WERE your responsibility. But try to understand the difference between what you were responsible for and what you weren't....
You say that your moods provoked him.... you could argue that he was responsible for your moods. And round in circles we go.
You are responsible for what you did, what you said. You are not responsible for his words and his actions. At all.
Thanks for your kind comments. Unpacking is definitely the word. I am in a very scared and confused place at the moment. @Lochie662 I mean I have PTSD from the relationship and breakup. I think (we’ll I know from years of learning about it) that at the time it was depression and anxiety. I see what you are saying. I think it doesn’t affect him because he knows it wasn’t him?
I know I am tearing myself apart for it and it is not healthy. I don’t know how to stop but I am taking steps.
Just seen your second post @Lochie662. I know you are right about that. I just want to move on so badly
It sounds more like you were very ill and the relationship became toxic for both of you, rather than you being abusive out of any sort of malice.
I think you need to give yourself a break
Reading this I think you were both victims in this relationship. I also think that whilst maybe at various times you both behaved 'badly' neither of you were inherently abusive. Abusers get a warped enjoyment from knowing what they're doing and it really doesn't seem like either of you did - you were both just lashing out as a result of the circumstances you were in.
Be gentle with yourself, you're not a nasty, unpleasant bully and never were.
You probably ARE better off out of the relationship and need to learn to love yourself, and learn from the situation. You're older and wiser now, and were very young to handle the circumstances of that relationship.
Try not to keep revisiting the past - accept and move on, don't look backwards, you're not going that way.
Wishing you all the very best and lots of healing.
Well , I have been in a similar place to you. Felt guilt for doing something awful. I just remember my stomach churning and feeling like I deserved to die.
I wasn't in your relationship, I don't know what it was really like, maybe you're right and it was all your fault, I see things in your post that tell me it wasn't that way though. I see things that make me think you're not abusive just really struggling a lot.
And if you're willing to put the work in to get better and be better then you need to start feeling proud of yourself, because you started from emotional rock bottom. And not that many people have to do that in life.
And it sounds like it was the relationship that caused the PTSD. Relationships aren't supposed to destroy you. They aren't supposed to diminish you. They aren't supposed to leave you begging for attention or love. This was a bad relationship, a toxic relationship. And it temporarily destroyed you, changed you.
You can still be you in the future, heal and move on.
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