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Was it abusive or just wrong?(14 Posts)
I’m separated & I know I need to move on from it all but despite years of therapy, I still really wonder if my marriage & relationship was truly abusive. I know no-one here is qualified to decide that but I think I just need to let it out. My sister never seemed to think that my marriage was abusive which made me question myself.
We started going out young & it was fiery on both sides - we just had a lot of arguments but they were almost comical rather than threatening. DH had a short fuse and treated me badly at times & I once threw an object on the floor in anger and it broke. I was a little shocked I did that.
Anyhow we broke up & got back together a few times and then we eventually got married. When others were around I came across as bossy at times - telling him what to do (e.g.) ‘please close the curtains’, ‘pour your friend his wine’ while I make dinner etc. It hurt me I came across as bossy as to me I felt like I had to spell everything out to DH.
Once married, I went for counselling as DH was regularly losing his temper at me (not doing enough housework, bothering him while he slept, making noise in the morning, eating too much junk, drinking too much wine). The therapist said DH was abusive but I always have my own perceived bossiness in my mind too. The worst thing I did was get drunk one night & told him he had all the traits I didn’t want in a man. He told me the next day (we had both been drunk) & I gave up alcohol for months after that & only drank in moderation after that. I apologised profusely.
DH continued to go out & get so drunk he would vomit (& I would clean it up & take care of him) but he had issues with my frequent drinking (two glasses at a time max) & one night when I enjoyed a glass of wine he blew up completely, slammed the door and went to the pub!
While we were separated but living together we went to the pub one night and he carried my bag home as my back hurt. When I wouldn’t hold his hand , he gave me back the bag and said ‘you’re still my wife.’ He kept ranting angrily and I just counted my steps as we walked home.
Anyway this is long enough already even though I could write so much more. It just bothers me how I seem to be perceived as ‘the bossy one’ to the outside world yet it really honestly didn’t feel like that from the inside. I’m still confused ... & I know I really need to move on!
I still really miss him & having someone to talk to about my day. I think about contacting him regularly.
Hey op, sorry you’ve had a bad time of it. I don’t know if your relationship was abusive, but it does sound like it was toxic and that you weren’t good for each other. Do you feel better now that you’re out of it? Would it make you feel less upset if you knew it cstsgeorically was abusive? What I’m trying to say (badly) is that it doesn’t really matter in a way. It’s over. Thinking over and over about the reasons it was bad might stop you from moving on from it and stop you from learning things from it that will help you in the future.
There are some incidents that would be categorised as abusive (he used to tell me when I had enough to eat and took my plate a couple of times & he wound shout at me for not doing things his way & treat me very differently in front of others). BUT ... IYWYM ... it shouldn’t matter & I think that’s the problem. I suppose it just makes me doubt myself. My therapist categorically calls him controlling & abusive & that makes me wonder if I can spot these proverbial red flags & I worry I’ll never have a healthy relationship. I used to bend over backwards for him & served him meals daily. I was a good girlfriend. In the later years I had done a lot of personal development so I never raised my voice and had learned the vocabulary to communicate better ...
I’m rambling! Thanks for reading!
“Please close the curtains” is bossy???? Crikey, OP, he really has done a number on you, hasn’t he, if he’s made you believe that a simple polite request is bossy! Just how subservient did he expect you to be?!
You are still carrying baggage from this abusive relationship. And yes, I have no doubt whatever that it was abusive, as your therapist has already told you.
But you are still wavering. Still trying to shoulder the blame, still thinking you were too bossy, that if you’d just been nicer, meeker, more of a doormat, it would all have been fine.
The short answer is No it wouldn’t. You would have walked on eggshells trying not to upset him, and your self esteem would have sunk ever lower with each new restriction you placed on yourself. No wine, no noise, no fun, no expressed needs of your own, no control even over your own food portions. You would have been a slave in all but name.
You need to avoid men altogether while you work on your own needs such as raising your self esteem and your own minimum requirements for a relationship. Think about what you want from a man, not just what you can give to him. You should demand respect, love, consideration, equality and companionship as essentials from a partner. You need to believe that you deserve these basics, that you are worthy of them.
I’d continue with therapy while you sort these issues out, and avoid a rebound relationship where you risk recycling the same problems.
Good luck, OP. I hope you eventually find a decent man when you are ready.
Thank you @Babdoc
It was others who thought I was bossy. A male friend of mine said he thought I was bossy & that really hurt me. Then he quizzed me on who got to choose the movie in the cinema etc. I’m a ‘strong woman’ so I guess this is all confusing for me still.
The behaviour you described in your first post indicated a lack of communication skills on both sides. Your description of his behaviour in your second post was abusive behaviour.
It's hard when you feel connected to someone but no good is going to come of getting back in contact.
You need better boundaries, to raise your standards and work on yourself for a while. When you have self esteem, confidence and feel happy with yourself, you'll want someone who treats you respectfully, is kind and makes you happy. That will never be him.
There’s so much more I could write about it all & how I felt badly treated but I know I’m supposed to be moving on - however we’re meant to do that!
Your initial post makes it look like faults on both sides it just didn’t work. And yes repeated instructions can make someone look bossy.
Your later post on the food is weird and controlling.
You need to move on op . The relationship didn’t work. How long have you been seperated? And who ended it.
On my initial post I was really trying to give both sides so I revealed the worst of my behaviour but there was some very controlling behaviour on his side. So I don’t know why I’m asking when I know controlling behaviour isn’t right. Maybe I’m surprised I don’t hate him or I’m surprised at how nice he can be in other ways. I have some memories of him treating me horrifically and all after we married. I guess I’m realising his behaviour spiralled into abuse but I’m realising that that doesn’t mean I was a ‘perfect victim.’
Op, what are you looking for, are you looking for people to validate he was abusive? How does this help you? Is it about allocating blame? I mean that gently
And as asked, how long have you been seperated and who ended it? Has he moved on?
It's impossible to know from the outside but the important thing to remember is the thing that's 100% clear - it was a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships should never be revisited. The dynamic is poisoned and it's unrealistic and foolish to revisit.
Yeah I think it’s more the opposite - maybe I’m looking for validation that it wasn’t. I could get validation that it was abusive very very easily by listing off all the terrible things that happened, nasty things he said etc & presenting a one sided account ... but i don’t want to do that & I don’t hate him at all. I still care a lot about him but I worked a lot on myself & he didn’t. We actually get on better now than we ever did as a couple.
Anyhow I’ve been overthinking it all with the lockdown & having more time . I need to make some peace with the past & move on in my own way. Thanks for the comments. Bye bye
I'm realising that that doesn't mean I was a 'perfect victim'.
An abuser will always turn things around so the victim believes that they are at fault in some way. That's how abusers get away with it for so long, because the victim thinks if only they could change their own behaviour, then the abuse will stop.
It's time to let go now.
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