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really upset, sad and scared(190 Posts)
Sorry in advance as this feels long to me. I've posted often about my emotionally abusive H over the past year and now with benefit of all the help I've had here and from reading books and speaking to women's aid I feel I can more clearly see what he is doing-- his tactics-- and what has been going on through our whole marriage/relationship of 25 years.
He has constantly belittled me because I haven't worked (full time, have done bits of freelance) over the past few although I have been drawing a salary from his firm, for tax purposes-- that stopped at the end of September. I have no self confidence and although I have good skills in my field it has been really hard for me to start properly job hunting and he has been no help whatsoever-- for example he picked up a copy of my CV when I'd sat down to proofread it, said it was sh*te and crumpled it up. But I managed to get a contract job, it literally landed in my lap and it is a lovely project. I started exactly a week ago. It's not the most impressive job in terms of prestige or money but it is a good way back into the loop as far as I'm concerned... and one week in I'm loving it, really enjoy everything about being at work full time again.
True to type (I had been wondering how he would respond) he seems to be subtly making problems. He has just been generally in a bad mood and I've been tiptoeing around, at the moment I'm still getting used to getting back into the routine of getting up and going to work. When I worked full time, as I did the whole time our kids were growing up (I stopped when DS was in last year of A levels, he's now 3rd year uni and DD is in first year so we have an empty nest, kids are both doing well and I'm v proud of them) his rule was that my job could never interfere with his life, I have always had to do all the cooking/childcare/clothes etc. But because he earned more money than me that was deemed fair... but of course looking back I always put myself in the position of second to him, and probably reinforced his view that he was entitled to special treatment.
Anyway to get to the point. This weekend, my first after working, he wanted to our weekend house in the countryside-- his pet project and something he has used to extremely control us (mainly me + DD over the summer, DS early on started refusing to go). I was a bit muddled up as to what I wanted to do, in my mind, I thought I should put my foot down and say NO as I could stay here plus get laundry done, do some cooking for the week, and play around with the project I have on the computer (he does NOT want me working at home even briefly as I won't get paid for it, but I would like to brush up my computer skills a bit and do some extra work on the project) but for various reasons I agreed to go. Although we had a nice time Saturday as we met up with friends, he was niggling away all day today (Sunday). For example I lightheartedly asked what the agenda was for the day, as I was making the coffee and just wanted to know what he had in mind for the day, ie work in the garden or go for a walk, and he exploded at me for using the word 'agenda' as it sounded like a work-word... he was doing his own thing on the computer and said he just wanted to be left alone so I didn't bring him a cup of coffee, which further infuriated him, etc etc and the day sort of went downhill. But we went by to see DS as we had to deliver something to him so there was some point to the day so to speak.
We got back around 6:00 tonight, I put a load of laundry in, and cooked dinner, he sat on the sofa and worked on HIS project. I transferred laundry to tumble drier eventually, after dinner I folded clothes, set up ironing board and ironed 2 pairs of trousers for him, left shirts on the back of a chair, left ironing board up as I was going to do a quick job on the shirts. NB these were ALL his clothes. We had a couple of glasses of wine, he wasn't too happy with the fact that I hadn't planned a 'pudding' for him (this was after minor niggles with the dinner) then he didn't want to watch Family Guy (my guilty pleasure and I hate to miss it) so I went upstairs to watch it on the TV in the bedroom. Was this unreasonable??
I think I dozed off, he came upstairs an hour or so later shouting at me that the house was a mess and that I was wearing a jumper he doesn't like, a comfy one I wear around the house. I think he was insinuating that I wasn't dressed for sex. So I got furious but didn't shout (this is fairly usual) and came downstairs to sleep on the sofa. I got down here and found he'd folded up the ironing board roughly and left it on the table (weird place). He's always hated it when I left the ironing board up but in this case-- as I was trying to 'catch up' with laundry after going away for the weekend on his insistence-- I thought he should give me a bit of slack. Then I found some things on the floor, papers etc, that he must have just slung down there. Plus I found my muddy boots on top of my laptop. FFS I had even cleaned the kitchen before I went upstairs, all counters were cleared, it wasn't all that bad. As usual he was just finding fault with things-- I cannot argue, yes the ironing board was up and yes there was a tiny bit of clutter and yes my boots were left in the middle of the floor. But he just doesn't help. Shouldn't he be really supporting me, in a new job, plus I've not bothered him for anything over the past week? I even take the train so he can have the car, and I have come in and made dinner every night plus of course do all the cleaning, evidently not to his standards but that is ridiculous because he is really messy himself and never even picks up his clothes off the floor. But if his clothes are on the floor it is my fault because I haven't picked them up.
So, with my enhanced knowledge of how abusers work, I know this is what he is doing. And I am fairly detached (which angers him) and I just let it wash over my as much as possible but I was really upset when I saw what he had done with the ironing board. I've actually been crying about it. It was just so unnecessary. So I think he is trying to sabotage my new job, and I need to get out. But now after googling flats to rent I am really depressed, I have a cat and a dog, this house works for me. And kids are coming back from uni in a couple of weeks when term ends.
When I've spoken to WA the idea of a refuge doesn't seem to fit with me-- no point in taking a room when I could rent privately. If H was violent things would be different. If he left it would be fantastic, absolutely lovely, we have a great time when he isn't around, but he needs to be in London for work over the next few weeks so not much chance of him moving to the weekend house. Plus he doesn't like to go to that house without someone else-- I think he gets bored on his own (whereas personally I love being on my own).
I'm going to call WA today, they were organizing counselling for me but I put things on hold for the new job. My question is, WTF do I do?? I was all for the idea of moving out until I realized how many problems that thew up and how much of an adjustment that would be, with the new job as priority. And it isn't really all that affordable. I know this is a question so many have had to deal with, and why staying always seems so much easier somehow. But I need to do something. I'm thinking that I can possibly speak to a lawyer about getting an agreement drawn up where we both live her but separately until we sell the house and I can buy another one, basically try to recreate the house we have on a smaller scale for 1/2 the money.
OK-- I'm feeling more angry than sad now-- I know I have been told to LTB before but I think that this is the week when I finally need to act. Inertia is not an option. Bastard. I feel like I want to hurt him and I hate myself for that. Stupid ironing board. I know I can manage him as I've been doing, but at the cost to myself of all my self worth and sanity!
I just want to say bloody well done for winning that contract and taking the first steps to freedom.
I think you need to continue down this path as your h sounds like a massive dickhead. With regards to the animals, a cat can cope with a flat. The dog - rehome. We did that with our adored ridgeback as we had to leave our big house with land for tiny house with none. She went to my godmother on a sheep farm and is so happy - we visit her a few times a year. It was devastating to do as it felt like along with losing everything else, we were losing part of the family. But it wasn't fair on her. It was the right decision for us and her.
You and your kids are happier without him. your dcs and your sanity and mental well-being, at this point, are more important than anything else. Your son has already exhibited avoidance tactics, but your dd is already learning to submit to her father's demands. What a bastard he is!
Keep posting on here as you will get emotional support and more practical advice. Mores importantly, keep going on this road to a new life for your children and yourself.
Oh my word. I don't have any advice- I don't think you need it anyway. But I just wanted to say what a horrible man he sounds & how brave you come across.
Good luck for new life.
I'm sorry you're being treated so appallingly. 'Violence' is a broad church and his behaviour sounds incredibly cruel. In your shoes I would rethink the idea of a refuge quite honestly. Or at least a very small place to rent temporarily. You can still work. I say that because I think you need to put some miles between you so that you can stop 'managing' and start living. I understand why you feel reluctant to walk away from what sounds like a nice lifestyle but. all the time you are under the same roof, he has the opportunity to chip, chip, chip away at your self-confidence and skew your perception of normal.
You asked if he should be supporting you in your new job and, from the pencil sketch above, it's clear that he has spent 25 years not supporting you in any way besides money. Don't stay with a man who expects you to 'dress for sex' or assume a menial, domestic role in exchange for money.... it's demeaning.
I think you really need time to yourself in a place of your own to process all of this, get the legal advice, and start moving into the next phase of your life without him. Right now, you know it's bad but I don't think even you appreciate how bad.
He can see you're ready to take control over your own life and he doesn't like it.
Forget the ironing board. If it wasn't that, it would have been something else. It's great that you're getting ready to move on. Life is about to get a whole lot better for you.
Thanks all for the moral support I'm getting ready for work now having had very little sleep but am going to make it a goal today to 1) speak to WA worker who I met before, might just text her as private conversations not easy in office and 2) check out flat rentals, just for information. It might be an adventure, I could use a change of scenery... need to act on this anger I'm feeling, I normally end up brushing everything under the carpet but with the new job in the mix I can't let this go!
It will not only be an adventure but an eye-opener. When my EA exH and I split up I had a few years of 'flashback moments' where, quite unexpectedly, I'd get a sharp memory of something unpleasant he used to do and I'd stop in my tracks and thing 'OMG... I can't believe I let that go'. It's more than a change of scenery, it's a change of perspective.
Morning! I agree with bragmatic. If you can summon all your bravery to act on this and get through the initial stress of a separation, your new life is just around the corner. And believe me when I tell you it'll be wonderful, and you'll have wished you'd done it earlier. I've just done the same, my h was just like yours. It is the BEST thing I've ever done
Be strong, and I hope you have a productive day.
He has no respect for you at all. I think you should leave him.
That said - the practicalities will need to be figured out, but still, it is the right thing to go and be on your own rather than treated like his personal outlet for shittiness.
There is a point where you begin to get angry and it is frightening for some when the floodgates start to open, because it is then that all the sadness and upset and anger from years of putting up with this stuff - and wasting your time on him - come out.
It can be hard to manage those feelings, and it is abrave thing to do - I sometimes think this is why so many people stay, because it's that or process the anger from years of abuse which takes time and isn't easy.
Good luck with your job. Don't let him sabotage it. He will get even more angry if he thinks you are planning to leave so keep your cards close to your chest.
You poor darling. I hope you stay strong and get out and have a happy life.
The love is gone.
You do need to go and do not let him know in advance.
Keep internet and phone safe.
He may not be overly violent, but he will punish you in little ways that are just as bad. Imagine if your computer was ruined.
Use the anger you're feeling at the moment and do it before you lose it. And please, don't doubt yourself. He really is a bastard.
You also say your children are in Uni. Even so, it seems that they were and are still affected by his abuse, particularly your DD. So, do act now for her too. Show her what to do with people like him.
The first thing I would do is get an appointment with a solicitor. I think you will find that the length of marriage, your full time commitment to it etc will get you far more than 50% of marital assets.
What would happen if you challenged his 'rules' a bit?
YY to solicitor, find out where you stand and what you can do about it before deciding on a course of action. Knowledge is strength.
One of the really liberating things when I finally moved away from XH was when those "OMG" memories popped up I realised I did not have to forgive and try to forget any more. I could resent it all I jolly well wanted to - and then let it go, because it didn't matter now. When you brush something under the carpet you can still see a lump. You have to sweep it out into the light of day, shovel it up and dispose of it properly. (It's rubbish collection day round here today, can you tell? )
You have described a vile, manipulative, abusive man. You are waking up to his patterns but I think once you are away from him you will get hit by a succession of those OMG moments the others are describing. And on the subject of lifestyle adjustment I think you'll be stunned by how much more energy and time you have for solving problems and rebuilding your life once you're away from him - think about how much of every day you expend on the sheer effort of managing him.
Putting your muddy boots on top of your laptop is a particularly telling thing to do. Your laptop is what you're using to better yourself and maintain contact with the world of work. He wants to ruin it - literally if necessary. I would keep it close by (and password protected) if I were you.
I'm not sure the legal agreement you mention sounds like a great idea to be honest. I think he will escalate his behaviour and throw every obstacle in your way to prevent the sale going through and prevent you leaving. His behaviour patterns have been like this for years - he's not going to stop manipulating just because a solicitor has rubber-stamped a decision to split. If anything, just the opposite. He's already escalating because he knows you have detached and are starting to see through him.
OP my situation was not the same as yours but I managed to leave my very unhappy 16 year relationship recently.
I knew for a long time I had to do it.
Knowing you must do it is the first step.
It is a massive relief and I am beginning to become my own self all over again . I also get on fine with exP
Nothing wise to add. Just want to let you know you sound so lovely and reiterate what you already know- your life will be lovely without him.
You can do it. Holding your hand and sending support
My Mother walked away from her marriage after 25 years too and it was the best thing she ever did. My father and her remained friends and she put up with his behaviour - but from her own home where she could see his treatment of her was wrong. She was able to ask him to leave ad she finally had control.
After many years living apart, they were closer than than they ever were married.
My mum was 50 when she left - she set up a home for me and my brother, put us through university, bought things from charity shops and basically gave us the best she could And it was more than enough - knowing she was happy was better than any fancy house.
My mum even had a stroke and went thorugh cancer and she still didn't take him back. She finally knew that all those years of dealing with him, being careful, staying strong inside her head and doing what she could for us had taught her survival. A skill which she put to good use when she was on her own.
OP - your marriage has taught you things which people often never learn. You know how to survive - how to keep your feelings to yourself and use them to keep your head above water. Take heart from the fact that you have survived and that the next stage of your life can be so much better.
Well done for getting this far don't put the work project on hold that's just what he wants forge ahead with that it will give you self esteem n a little money in your pocket you will also meet new people which will further boost your confidence
You are being spectacularly Gaslighted and manipulated its hard but you need to learn to trust yourself He is definitely scared that you are finding your own path
Whatever you do please don't give up you can do this you are stronger then you know and I wouldn't be surprised if your children weren't already secretly wishing you well in this
Oh lovely, what a way to live.
What strikes me is that you cannot live with this man after the marriage has ended. It will not work, he will expect you to pick up after him, cook etc as you do now. Speak to a solicitor and get him out.
A lady I knew who was in a similar situation ended up with the large marital home as she'd supported his earning to the detriment of hers. Keep your cards close to your chest and good luck, life is for living xxx
Oh you poor thing. Im so sad for you I could cry. You are so nice to him, and he is so horrible to you.
You sound really brave, well done. And good luck
You are amazing. Hold onto the anger to get you out. He is a colossal arsehole, but you know that. Could you get an appointment to see a solicitor asap, to find out where you stand legally? It's great that you're talking to WA, really hope you get some good advice from them.
You can do this.
I was in the same boat as you It got to the point where I actually ran away and stayed with a family member then I booked into a hotel until I found a flat. I was lucky that I had enough money at that time admittedly.
Getting away was the best thing. It took a couple of years to really get away and it was a struggle because he would not let go but with the help of a great solicitor I did manage it.
I would also add that I get on ok with the Ex and he helps me out with stuff around the house I can't do.
It might help if you had a chat with a solicitor or the CAB as well. Good luck.
He sounds utterly utterly vile and abusive. Well done for getting that contract.
You must get out. You do everything - cook, clean, work - plus tiptoe around this horrible person. How can being alone be worse, even if you are broke and it is hard at first?
This is such a clear cut LTB case. Dont let this man treat you like a doormat a minute longer!
Good luck x
25 years; christ on a bike.
At least you have two houses; are they in both of your names? It's easily split and you can sell one and get your own place pretty soon.
Why do they do it? Wankers.
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