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Dazed after leaving, realising what I went through (TW DV)(27 Posts)
So I left my husband about three weeks ago. Now I am starting to feel safe again all the things that made me so scared are starting to come back to me.
He punched me.
He grabbed me by the throat and pushed me against a wall.
He stood in the kitchen in front of me and repeatedly stabbed a bag of shopping with a sharp pointy knife. He said that made him feel better.
He shouted at me the car and swerved it suddenly to scare me. So many times/
All my family is dead and I have no friends anymore. We kept moving for his job and Inloat touch. Looking back, he often got difficult after I
saw friends. He discouraged me from meeting up with people or doing new things.
I’ve been living in a daze for years trying to find a way out. And finally I did and I don’t quite know how I did it. But I’ve done it.
I feel broken though. But all strong and confident for the first time in years. It’s so up and down.
I have some ideas of what to do next, but I don’t really know if I will manage or if things will work out. I am sometimes very scared. I feel very alone. I miss my cat. I wish my mum was still alive so I could talk to her. So I could talk to someone who loved me and who was on my side.
Hadn’t managed to tell anyone about the things he did, not even my therapist. I was too scared. I know I need to talk about it.
I tried to work my way up to telling my therapist before and after I left but I put on too much of a positive spin on things, couched my terms too much. Too used to putting on a mask so I could survive I suppose and pretending everything was ok. She thought I was fine. Said how I described my marriage was beautiful, when I described how I thought we might not make it for a lifetime.
She even said after I left my husband that I should think about whether I still needed therapy or not as I seemed very enchanted with life again and maybe I didn’t need it anymore. She’s on holiday for two weeks now and she said I should think about whether I still needed sessions or not after she came back. I must have put up such a good front. I don’t know how I managed that. Felt my life depended on it probably. I usually manage to be quite eloquent and elevated and abstract when I am frightened as a way of avoiding panicking.
I realise how much I’ve used the word “I” in this post. I realise how used I have gotten to avoiding using the word “I” this last decade. How much I have vanished.
I want to be myself again. I will need to be by myself for a while. But I am so lonely and I have no-one to talk to.
I think the fact that you've shared this on here suggests that you are ready to start talking about it. Please do bring it up with your therapist, if you feel you can. If you can't tell her, you could always show her this post?
I'm glad you got out and I'm so glad you have found strength and confidence. You are very brave.
Hello OP. You haven't vanished - you just made yourself visible here. You are beautiful and stronger than you know. I'm so happy you got away. And that you're telling us how it was. Never again.
You'll make some friends soon I'm sure.
I don't really have anything to say, but you're not alone. I also am still very good at pretending I'm fine, everyone tells me how well I'm coping but I alternate between feeling numb, upset and happy. It's been 18 months since I left, it's going to take a long time for you to recover.
Find a new therapist and tell them at the start about your default position to mask everything and make a conscious effort to not do it.
I remember that feeling like I was coming up for air. You'll have more retrospective memories to deal with. I found that looking back with a different perspective I picked up on things that I'd either gotten used to, or minimised to fuck - and then afterwards I'd think of something and think "wow, how messed up was my head from this relationship that I thought that was ok?"
So in that respect, I found ongoing therapy very helpful in finding new boundaries and self esteem for myself - and that meant that when I was ready to date again I was tuned in to the early red flags and usually those guys never got past a second date. And I went on to meet someone emotionally healthy and respectful and we have a very happy life - but I know I probably wouldn't have had that if not for the therapy and working on my assertiveness and boundaries.
You are amazing. You found the strength to do the right thing and to get out, and you are now safe. This is the beginnning of the next phase of your life. The beginning of reclaiming 'you'.
I agree with pp - tell your therapist (or your next therapist if you decide to change) that you have a tendancy to put a positive spin on things. Practice your opening sentences when you tell them that you have come out of a frightening, abusive marriage and you need support through the next steps.
Can you look up any old friends and drop them a line explaining why you lost touch? Be open to finding new friends as well - take it slowly but you might feel able to join a hobby group for example. In the meantime, please be honest with your therapist.
You will make friends again IRL, and you have support here in the meantime. You've done something amazing and strong. You've done the hardest bit (probably the hardest thing you'll ever have to do).
Well done for getting out of that relationship! It will take time to heal, so now you need to go easy on yourself, and let whatever feelings come as they need to. Can you write it down for your therapist, or as PP said show her your post? Also can you get back in touch with any of the friends you lost while you were with him? They may know more than you think about why you lost touch.
Thank you. I am reeling a bit.
I just looked up the number for my local Women’s Aid. I think I will give them a call.
Good idea to be open with my therapist about my tendencies. I’m not sure if I want to go back to the same one or change. To be honest I did feel a bit rejected when she suggested I didn’t bed therapy anymore and I think that make things too complicated. I may need to be quite cautious with money for a while until the finances side of the marriage is sorted out. Funnily enough I think that side of things will go easily enough, it’s the one thing he was never really controlling about\ I do so now I need to invest in therapy to get through this but the next few weeks/months are a bit of a stretch. But it’s better that I got out than I had support whilst staying in an abusive situation.
Coming up for air is exactly right. I feel like I can breathe again.
There are maybe a few people I can try to get back I touch with again. I tried with one old friend a couple of months ago and we chatted for a while but she said she would phone me and she hasn’t. I don’t really want to push it and it’s kind of discouraged me from reaching out again. I think I might try I to find a survivors forum or support group first because I find it easier to talk about this anonymously. In fact it’s a lot easier to write than say the words out loud. That makes it’s more real when I hear myself say it.
But I am going to call the local Women’s Aid helpline now to say the words out loud because that’s peeling away another layer of the mask isn’t it and that’s an important step. I think if I do that will help with the the next step after that would be telling someone I know/can actually see in front of me. So many veils.
I used to donate prizes to the local Women’s Aid raffles a lot because I wanted to reach out to them but couldn’t bring myself to ask for help for myself. So I tried to help them to build up my courage. God this is complicated.
Women's aid sounds like a good place to start, and yes maybe a different therapist given that one doesn't seem to have had any idea of how things were for you.
Just got off the phone with Women’s Aid. We spoke for two hours. They went through the wheel of power and control with me. Eye opener
I realised a big part of why I didn’t tell anyone before was because I didn’t think anyone would believe me or be able to help me. Such a relief to be able to write about it here and then speak to someone on the phone.
The lady told me about the Freedom Programme and she is sending me over some information today by email. She’s also going to call me next week to set up some ongoing support sessions whilst I try to work my way through this and out of my marriage. She also said I could call their duty support line any time.
Thank you. I wouldn’t have been able to call Women’s Aid without posting here first. Thank you.
I don't know you but I wish I could give you a hug! You should be really proud of yourself for calling them and speaking about what you've been through. Thank god you're out of that place now - time to start rebuilding a life in small steps. It feels overwhelming right now but take it one day at a time
Oh well done!
My chat with WA was an eye-opener as well. It started me on the path to finding myself. I realised I always put other people's feelings before my own, and it made me utterly miserable - as well as a sitting duck for an abuser.
That chat remains, to this day, the most influential moment of my life.
Well done! Speaking about abuse, saying those words and being believed is one of the biggest steps. You apologised for using the word 'I' too much, but you should use it all the time when speaking about what you went through. Make your experience count in the world, not just in your head. He has done that to you, make you feel that your pain is only in your head. It isn't and it wasn't.
it’s a joy to hear you resurfacing. I wish you every happiness.
Oh my goodness sweetheart I don't know what to say but thank god you are ok and you have left!
You are so strong and you will absolutely come out of this much much better. Take care of yourself xx
It’s sinking in how much danger I was in.
When he punched me I fell over and hit my head on the doorpost/skirting board.
It’s very overwhelming and I am panicking a bit.
And yes, @Drinkingallthewine I was a sitting duck. My mum had just died when I met him and I was very vulnerable emotionally. Part of that was always putting other people’s feelings first because I felt I needed to do that to survive and also to be a good person. I had an abusive childhood and I learned to tune myself and focus on the other person in order to try and avoid being battered. I’m so scared it will happen again and I’m so scared I will end up totally alone for the rest of my life. I don’t mean just no partner but no friends and no family. Because I am so scared of people now.
I had an abusive childhood and I learned to tune myself and focus on the other person in order to try and avoid being battered. I’m so scared it will happen again and I’m so scared I will end up totally alone for the rest of my life. I don’t mean just no partner but no friends and no family. Because I am so scared of people now
You are not the first and you won't be the last. Your fear is the correct emotional response to all that's happened to you; it's the response of somebody who has developed boundaries. Your boundaries will be very high for a while, and that's fine. Don't try to force them down. Just get through each day, do what you need to do, and reject anybody with whom you don't feel comfortable, happy, and safe to be yourself. Gradually you will filter until you generally only have people who are good for you around you. It is no more complicated than that.
Just now... I'm thinking of a can of pop that's been shaken for years and years. It's going to have to sit still for quite along time for everything to settle. It won't just be calm straight away, but always getting a little closer to it.
Do everything you can to make today nice for yourself. Every day. Think about things you like to do, see, touch, smell. Make time on your own a time of being the recipient of kind thoughts, gifts, gentleness. Make time on your own something you don't fear. You will be close to people again in time, but now is for you.
You've done such an amazing and enormous thing that many are never able to. Rest a while.
Thank you @TheFoundations
I'm on your side OP. I see you. I understand what you went through and I'm so sorry he treated you like this. None of this was your fault and you didn't deserve it.
You're going to be ok. Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, see your therapist and get some support (perhaps the Freedom Programme). You're doing so well.
Signed up for a Zoom Freedom Programme today.
Your updates have made me well up. I’m so happy for you that you’re out of it now and starting to rebuild yourself. Women’s Aid are such an amazing resource and your support for them previously is coming full circle! Keep talking on here and to your therapist (think I’d be looking for someone new so that you don’t have to unpack all the masking you did with this one - she sounds like she didn’t probe very deeply if she allowed you to present such a skewed version of your relationship).
for you - onwards and upwards.
First thing, where is the cat? Did you have to leave it with an abuser? Can you get someone to grab it for you? They often use pets when they can't control you anymore.
You are a tower of strength 🌸