If you left an emotionally abusive marriage with kids how did you tell people?

(33 Posts)
yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:12:05

I'm wondering just this. I'm nearly ready to leave after a long time - the kids are the best ages for it (compared to any older) 5 and 7.

He's been subtly but perniciously abusive for the whole time, and it has taken a long time to get my head around.

I've opened up to a few friends that I am having a very sad time and do not feel he has been nice to me. Obviously a lot of people we know are divorced for more normal reasons... I don't want to tell many people the whole story in case it will be bad for the kids in the long run, as he is perfectly functioning on the surface of things and I think they will be able to have a sort of relationship with him. But I also find it difficult with nice friends sitting there saying 'oh that's just what happened with us...' because it so isn't. I'm so damaged and hurt, but won't I be able to let anyone know how much? It'd be shocking for them to hear, really. But also I need some support.

If you did this, how much did you keep secret or tell?

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peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:26:24

damn, this is my relationship! My kids are 6 and 8 and i am leaving. Same reason as you. Everyone that is important to me knows what is happening and why. Everyone else can find out by word of mouth. I feel in my relationship that people see it as he is the "perfect dad and partner" but he is emotionally abusive. I worry that people will judge me for leaving him and think that i am splitting up a family. You are not alone. And dont worry what people think. “Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:28:44

Well done @peanuts02 - I hope your future is full of joy. It really helps to hear I'm not alone on this, though I'm sorry you've gone through it. I didn't even know it existed when I met him. Number one priority is making sure it never happens again. I hope you won't be left in dire straights financially?

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IComeInPeace Thu 14-Oct-21 21:32:50

I felt judged for leaving and i told people way too much.

If i could go back in time id say "it wasnt working, i tried, but i couldnt try for two! So it was time to be brave and leave".

peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:35:37

@yellowpigeons Ditto, i never knew this sort of stuff. In my mind you only left if someone cheated or physically abused you. Im fortunate that im self employed and financially it wont affect me at all. What about you? if you leave can you support the kids and your self? also im interested is there an age diffence between you and your other half? im 30 and he is 9 years older

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:37:30

Yep exactly the same age difference!

I work but not enough really to pay for everything, but I could get a new job (or try).

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peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:41:06

Its like your me haha. You will be entitled to univeral credit there are online calculators that you can use to work out what you would be entitled to.
Where you young when you met him? i was 19, and in hindsight i was very niave

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Mymapuddlington Thu 14-Oct-21 21:43:34

Just remember nobody needs to know your business and you’re entitled to say that.
‘It just wasn’t working’
‘We weren’t happy’
‘He was an abusive dickcheese’
‘I don’t want to talk about it’

And then just ask to change the subject. Good luck flowers

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:50:35

Yes, @peanuts02 - we were had. I hope you are not too tired. I am utterly drained. Still in shock, I think, that people could be like that.

From the comments so far I'm gathering it's best not to overshare, which is really useful advice.

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onlymyselftoanswerto1 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:56:24

I was like pp and told some people too much. Nobody needs an explanation, tell them as much or as little as you need to and they'll figure the rest out if they take time to. Took me 7 years to move on and trust anyone new and I think that really showed people that something more than it just not working had gone on. I wish you well op and the others that are going through this. It does get easier, but give yourself time to heal.

My boys were the same age as your kids and it was tough but we got through it and they are amazing men of 21 and 19 now - I couldn't be prouder and I'm as sure as anyone can be that they won't treat their partners/wives the same way they saw their dad treat me.

Sorry this was a ramble!

peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:57:49

@yellowpigeons i have been getting ready to leave since february. I think its safe to share what you need to for your own mental health with those who you can trust and know wont judge you. As for everyone else its simply not their business and you have to remember that he will be telling a different story to people. Mine was telling people he was suicidal etc and i told him if he is i will call an ambulance so he can be assessed to which he said no dont. So that just shows it was for attention

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:58:00

Well done @onlymyselftoanswerto1, that is an inspiring story.

Which bits were most tough when you left?

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yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 21:59:32

@peanuts02 yep, I've had that one before. I'm a bit worried about the actual moment of telling him as I wonder if he'll do this, or otherwise hurt me. I will have to do it though.

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yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 22:01:33

Also @peanuts02 well done. Do you think you are nearly there? Will you go before christmas?

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peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:05:02

@yellowpigeons if he says he is suicidal, tell him you will phone an ambulance. People who are truely suicidal dont often tell people. He will probably use it as a tactic to make you feel bad, its manipulation plain and simple. Just remember that. Also he will say things like you are throwing away "x" amount of years or you are splitting up a famiy. But you cant be the best mum to your children if you are unhappy. Has he physically tried to hurt you before?

peanuts02 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:06:04

@yellowpigeons i sincerely hope i am gone before christmas! He has already been talking to other women. He is that kind of man that cant be alone

onlymyselftoanswerto1 Thu 14-Oct-21 22:27:27

Actually plucking up the courage to do it was so so tough, once it was "out there " it was hard and I'll not sugar coat that- but I knew it was something I had to do for my own sanity and I had to follow through for my boys. Sometimes it feels like it's better the devil you know, and the fear of the unknown is strong, but when you finally get your freedom it will be worth it!

Good luck, lean on people - for every one who judges you there will be more who want to help and support you 🥰

everythingbackbutyou Fri 15-Oct-21 03:25:08

The only people who know the truth are either my siblings or a very few friends who are not mutual. My focus is on my safety and peace and that of my children. I feel very alone with the truth, and wish I could shout it from the rooftops.

ByeByeMissAmericanPie Fri 15-Oct-21 06:25:21

I left June 2020 after the first lockdown. I told the DC first who were at home about 24 hrs before I told him. They’re in their 20s.

I’d written what I was saying in a letter the night before which solidified what I was going to say… so if he kicked off I could still get my message across.

My family knew, and a few friends who lived far away from the area.

According to others, he’s told people that I’ve ‘Resigned from my position’ (a twattish remark from a captain of industry) but when people ask me what happened, I just tell them ‘I had to move out for my safety’.

And then look at them pointedly. They get it.

yellowpigeons Fri 15-Oct-21 09:35:41

You sound extremely brave, I’m sorry you had to go through all that- there are too many of these men

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Bypassed21 Fri 15-Oct-21 09:50:38

I left my ex, mainly because he was a bit sexually coercive - it's not the sort of thing you discuss with a wide audience is it? He was also emotionally manipulative.
For the most part I just told people we grew apart, the vast majority of people will just accept that explanation and move on. I did tell about 2 of my friends some details just to be able to vent. I also had a really great counsellor who obvs I offloaded a lot too which was extremely helpful.

I'm 4 years post separation now and nobody ever asks.

He still swans around playing the victim to anyone who will listen and I never try and correct anyone - my kids think the sun shines out his **se. I know why I got divorced and that's all that matters really.

EmotionalSupportBear Fri 15-Oct-21 10:01:03

the people closest to me know the truth, i was honest with them, and our marriage was deteriorating for years before i finally walked away... years of EA, threats and a couple of occasions where it was physical.. not to mention sexual abuse/harassment/coercion and borderline rap.

Everyone else i just told we weren't getting on, and i decided to leave, i think i've elaborated a couple of times to say i got tired of being shouted at.

He still (also) plays the victim, but honestly, i don't give a shit, i don't owe anyone an explanation, and i have never spoken about it on my social media, other than to say we're not together any more.

yellowpigeons Fri 15-Oct-21 11:09:33

This really helps me. The fact that you can see it, and what it's like, but it remains almost totally hidden to anyone outside is just such a bizarre and damaging psychological experience for me. To come to terms with the reality that he has been abusive/manipulative for years I've also had to see what a lie I've been living. It makes me feel bad, and shocked, tbh. I can't unsee it now.

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yellowpigeons Fri 15-Oct-21 11:12:32

And also I'm not sure how to handle the cognitive dissonance with the kids. I think they probably think they've heard 'rows' (which is what he calls it when he reduces me to a shaking, crying wreck and I try to reason with him). But they do beleive their dad is a good guy and I don't want to dismantle that. How do I manage that?

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Fizzbangwallop Fri 15-Oct-21 11:37:09

You might find that some people will have already seen through him without you saying anything.

Be in no doubt that your children will have picked up on how he behaves towards you. It’s incredibly damaging for them to hear their father bullying their mother. Your children already know that he isn’t a good guy if they’ve heard him abusing you. Good luck with your new life and happier future!

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