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Is he still abusing and controlling me?

(44 Posts)
twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 16:54:40

I have been lurking for a while but this is my first post here. I've seen that you are all so helpful and full of wonderful advice for people, and although, to be honest, I've tried to avoid posting by hunting for someone in the same situation, I haven't been able to.
The reason for the avoidance is I just don't know where to begin.

My partner and I have been together 3 years. We have a 2 year old child and we live together in a council flat in both of our names. Since the start, he's had an alcohol and drugs problem. When he would drink he would fly into violent rages, never actually 'hitting' me but throwing things, pushing me, grabbing my throat. He was extremely loving afterwards, and I craved that, really, as I was very insecure. I saw his deep paranoia (for the first year I couldn't raise my eyes above pavement level in case I made eye contact with a male - this continued on and off but has thankfully stopped now. He didn't TELL me not to raise my eyes but would scream and shout and call me slag, slut, whore, so I made the desicion to do it and I think he liked that - it wasn't his fault that way) as love for me, that he couldn't bear another man taking me away.

Things came to a head last August when I had to phone the police and he was arrested for assault. It was a minor incident, in comparison but things had been getting worse for a few weeks and I felt at breaking point. He was convicted of assault and sentenced to attend the IDAP program (domestic violence course)as well as a two year community sentance.

I made the decision to give him another chance. I know many people would say that was stupid, I should have left while I had the chance - but I'd believed for ages that if he was just made to see what he was doing, how much he was hurting me he would change.

He is attending the program and has made postive changes to his life. He rarely drinks, certainly doesn't get drunk often and if he does, which is probably once or twice this year, we have agreed that he won't come home and will sleep at his dads. He hasn't touched drugs since the arrest.

He is very careful not to exhibit controlling behavior, as the course is teaching him. For example, he will always be positive about me going out for the night, not try and make me feel bad (or, as he used to do, worried, like "well if you go out tonight I know what you are like you'll probably get drunk and get off with someone well just wait until I go out tomorrow then you'll see")

He has changed - a lot. I don't feel scared to come home anymore. Yet I don't feel happy. I decided to forgive and give him another chance - he told me he wanted to change for the sake of our son and me. But I still feel like he owns me.

I feel like the course is teaching him how to control me in a new, more undercover way. Could I be being paranoid? It's so hard to give an example, I've read here about emotional abuse - he displays many of the 'classic' signs - the 'jokes' that I'm an idiot, the accusing me of nagging however nicely or reasonable I ask him to clear up after himself. The telling me that he gets to make more decisions because he earns more money. I work 26 hours a week and run a small business from home that isn't very profitable, to be honest. He wants me to get a 'real' job so that we can get 'things' a corner sofa, a flat screen TV - these things don't matter to me. He wants to keep our son in nursery because they can 'provide for him better than I can - they do more things with him that I do"

He reminds me constantly about money and how much I spend an that he pays the council tax and the gas & electric. How he drives me around, as I can't drive. How he supports my business by taking me to craft fairs. I'll say "Oh I cooked dinner, would you mind just washing your plate so I can have a little sit down?" "You sit down all day, I'm on my feet, and by the way, did you take any money out of my bank/go to the bank for me/clean the litter tray?"

I feel like maybe I'm not giving him the chance that I told him I would, that I can't forgive him for how he has been in the past. You probably know as well as I do how hard it is to leave someone - I don't have any family around here, he knows I don't have anywhere else to go or any real finance to do so. I've asked him to leave but he says he wants to live with his son - and I won't take that away from him.

We just had a big row because he came home for lunch and said he had to go really soon, I said, oh but you get an hour and he started saying that I was so needy and clingy and needed him here and can't I cope without him, I must be jealous of him and his job because I don't do anything all day (I work evenings)

Does anyone have any advice for me? Is there a way to get him to realise he is still hurting me, just on a less obvious level than before, or do you think it's time to give up?

Thank you for listening xx

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Wed 10-Jun-09 17:01:04

In answer to your headline question, the answer is yes.

These courses, like anger management courses, are becoming famous for bieng very very useful for abusers to learn how to talk the talk while still continuing to abuse their partners more subtly.

He still has the abuse mindset and Ireally wonder what goes on at these courses - nearly everything I've heard about them is negative.

doggiesayswoof Wed 10-Jun-09 17:09:30

Is he still abusing you? Yes.

Classic example - belittling your parenting by saying that your ds is better off being in nursery than with you. This will wear you down, if it hasn't already.

On some level he wants to hurt you. If not, he wouldn't laugh at you and constantly make comments about how inadequate he perceives you to be.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 10-Jun-09 17:09:45

I think you are still being controlled too, only much more covertly than before. But its still control. This is all about power and control; he is still abusive towards you.
But you allow yourself to be controlled too.

Having a partner with drink and drug issues is bad news anyway. He has also been violent towards you - anger management classes are of no benefit at all if violence has been present within the relationship. Pushing you, grabbing your throat is violent behaviour.

People only really change if they want to; many controlling men never change. If anything their control escalates over time.

I realise you cannot help whom you fall in love with but your insecurity no doubt played a huge role in attracting you to him.
This man is no decent role model at all for your child.

I would suggest you also speak to Womens Aid - they can help you and further advise. This is not a good situation at all for either your or your son.

I would also suggest you read a copy of "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents - what are you both teaching the child here who is caught up in the middle of all this?. You have a choice ultimately - he has no say at all.

dittany Wed 10-Jun-09 17:19:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Schnullerbacke Wed 10-Jun-09 17:35:23

I would have to agree with the others, it does sound as if he is still controlling you.

We all make choices, such as how we treat other people. He has been on a course to control his temper and would have had the chance to reflect on his behaviour. If he is still hurting you, its because he wants to. Simple as that.

I can imagine how much you want him to change, noone wants to break up with his partner, especially when there are children involved. But you don't feel comfortable in this relationship, you are not being treated in a nice way, so please don't stay. Life is too short and you don't want to look back later in life and wish you had done things differently.

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 19:10:37

See, I had a feeling that you would all say these things. I have gained some strength since the court case that I thought I had lost and I can see through him more clearly, but still the thought of leaving him is uncomtemplatable.

I want to be happy. I spend hours dreaming about how I would have the house if he wasn't there - I'm not allowed to put any shelves up because he is 'waiting'. I don't know what we are waiting for. I hate our dining table - but I'm not allowed to get rid of it. I dream about not having to clean up over and over again after him, about not having to wake him up in the morning, about being able to make decisons on my own.

Yet despite this I'm clearly too weak to walk out. Where would I go? What would I do? I would have to qut my job as he looks after our son every single evening - as I am often reminded. With noone to watch DS I wouldn't be able to work. My work have been very good about the problems he has caused me but I don't think much more will be tolerated. I would have to move out of my flat - what would I do with all of my craft business stuff? I can't drive, I have no independance. I just don't know what to do or where to go.

I don't love him anymore, really, I know I don't. I've told him this and he just gets angry and starts storming about saying he's going to call some girls that he knows I've always felt insecure about - and if I don't love him why would I care?

FabulousBakerGirl Wed 10-Jun-09 19:13:12

Are you still sleeping with him?

Do you have any family?

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 19:21:42

I haven't had sex with him for a few days because I have been a bit fluey but generally although I feel rather detached during the act. He tells me constantly that he prefers oral sex anyway - often I have to give him oral sex in order for him to complete tasks - i.e Will you tidy the front room while I am at work? "Will you give me a b.j if I do?"

If I then say to him that I have to do this to get him to do anything he'll say "I would still DO it without it, it just makes it better for me" Chances are if I don't offer the oral, he either won't do it or he'll pick a fight with me instead.

I do have family but they do not live in this town, or the next. They live over 200 miles away and I have no close friends left here, certainly not that I could turn up with a baby.

FabulousBakerGirl Wed 10-Jun-09 19:24:44

Read your last post as if someone else posted and then think. Think really really hard about the environment you are bringing your child up in.

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 19:32:42

Obviously, I understand that it sounds pretty awful.

I doubt myself constantly now - am I being stupid? Should I really make him do any housework when he does work really hard and does pay for more than I do in the house? When he is trying? He has changed - I can't deny that. He controls his anger better now and he doesn't lash out.

Our son rarely spends time with both of us. I work all day Saturdays - really Sunday is our 'family' day and we generally visit my partners grandparents or his Dad. We don't often visit my family as they are quite far away. So my unhappiness with DP isn't affecting him right now. My DP thinks everything is fine - that is what is confusing for me - he geniunally thinks that we have a good relationship and that I don't have much to complain about.

SammyK Wed 10-Jun-09 19:33:12

good post FBG


OP you deserve better. much better.

mrspnut Wed 10-Jun-09 19:34:04

Please contact Women's aid, even if it's just to discuss your options with them. They can tell you exactly what services are available in your area and they may be running The freedom programme in your area.

FabulousBakerGirl Wed 10-Jun-09 19:36:32

My DH works long hours and still is dad the minute he gets in, doing what needs doing with the kids and the house.

Just because he brings in money and i don't doesn't mean squat.

dittany Wed 10-Jun-09 19:38:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GypsyMoth Wed 10-Jun-09 19:41:50

Womens aid......... That's your answer, I couldn't even re arrange furniture with my ex. I got re housed and change it around all the time now!!! Seriously, once out you won't look back. My only regret is that I wasted time in the relationship waiting for either him to change or for me to fall in love with him. Neither happened.

I'm happy could be too.

mrspnut Wed 10-Jun-09 19:46:16

Sorry the Freedom programme website seems to be down, but this is what I was trying to link to mr right and mr wrong

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 19:46:28

I know what services are available in my area and am in contact with my domestic violence support officer.

The thing is that honestly, and I know this sounds PATHETIC but I just can't FACE the upheaval of a hostel for my little boy, with my job. Sometimes it just seems easier to stay put.

I can feel myself getting depressed - I have no motivation to do anything at all - I spend the time I should be working on my business asleep - I can sleep for 4 or 5 hours during the day - just to pass the time away until I get to come to work. I feel listless, have no enthusiasm for the future.

I told DP this recently during a talk we were having about his IDAP. He can't deal with depression as he hasn't ever had it. He finds it pathetic and frustrating. He told me a I am mess and why would he want to be with me if I am so miserable all the time.

The more I talk about it on here, the more I realise how much of my life he is ruining, yet I couldn't leave him while he was being physically abusive, how on earth can I leave him when he 'isn't doing anything'

FabulousBakerGirl Wed 10-Jun-09 19:48:27

You have to want too and be prepared to put the work in.

You do have choices.

Stay or go.

dittany Wed 10-Jun-09 19:48:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrspnut Wed 10-Jun-09 19:52:44

Then that is your choice, only you can decide to leave and only you can decide how you wish to be treated.

If it was only you and your partner living in the house then I'd say to leave you to it but as you are a parent then you have a responsibility to your son to provide a happy and stable home. You say that your son isn't affected by your unhappiness but I'm willing to bet money that he is. He will have picked up on the atmosphere and the name calling and he will grow up treating you the same way as your partner does and then he will leave home and find a vulnerable woman and treat her the same way that your partner treats you now.

I wish you loads of luck.

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 20:12:13

I am not physically afraid of him, I need to make that clear.

Since his court case he has been very careful not to touch me. Even if I provoke him, which I am ashamed to say I have done a few times.

Thats bad isn't? I guess I've felt the only way to know I am safe is to test how far I can push him. I've only done this twice since last August, and it was right at the start. I won't be doing it again.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 10-Jun-09 20:22:34

Of course he thinks your relationship is great. It's bloody brilliant - for him! He gets whatever he wants, BJs on demand, someone to run round after him and an emotional punchbag to take things out on whenever he feels bad about anything.

Obviously it's NOT a good relationship for you (and for your son if he is seeing all this), but he doesn't seem very bothered about that and seems to have no wish to change it.

Please don't let practical things stand in the way if you want to leave. If you talk to Women's Aid they will have advice for you - it may even be possible for you to stay in the flat and get him to move out. There will be financial help you can get, and you may be able to learn to drive too.

If you need encouragement, there are plenty of ladies on here who have managed to take that step (have you seen Stars' threads which are hugely inspirational?). You have shown you are strong by calling the police in before - you can do it again if you want to.

twinklesky Wed 10-Jun-09 20:35:22

Is it natural that I feel myself wanting to leap to his defensive when I see things written like this?

Why do I feel like that? Its not right, surely. I'll probably go home and apologise or something because I'll feel so guilty about posting this.

FabulousBakerGirl Wed 10-Jun-09 21:08:48

Look, your partner abuses you. It is not right. Stop questioning everything other than why you are still with him.

Where are you now?

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