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Feminism: chat

Mild emotional abuse

16 replies

Agii · 21/01/2023 12:29

Does this classify as mild emotional abuse?

Long read, do apologise for mistakes in the text.

Me 33 and my partner 38 have been together for 9 years, 2 children together aged 4 Y and 21 months, Im worried that he is slowly becoming emotionally abusive, but i don't know if I'm overreacting or whether its just bickering and being horrible for the sake of it.

He has had a fair few temper tantrums where we have argued and if i disagree he has broke things, acted out - i.e furniture that was purchased by me, punched bike tyres, cut cords for the freezer as I didn’t listen and did not unplugged when he said it’s a waste of electricity. Even I pointed out why I have it.

Smashed up a footstool in front of me because my toddler fell off it and I said it happens, but does not mean it needs to be binned. And he smashed it very aggressively. Kids fall off things, but his health and safety anxiety is hurting me.

Always oppose me to getting furniture or suggesting, will make a decision for big things himself. Have threatened to chop up / bin furniture, because he hates it. I’m not talking about unnecessary things.

He has once thrown bedding out of the window to stop me from sleeping when I unintentionally woke up my newborn ( I was exhausted with no sleep). I rushed out sobbing and spoke to my mum for 2 hours on the phone)
He is showing that breaking things shows me that I should listen to him in the first place.
But his justification is that I did not listen and often I’ll be the one to blame, with no apology.

When I meet friends once every few weeks, he will be reluctant for me to go, until the kids have gone to bed, but we have to be on good terms to get “permission “ to go.

I have recently started going to gym as my mental well-being has declined over the months and felt that exercise will help and it really has made me feel better, and we agreed that I’ll get a membership paid as a Christmas present. 1 week forward, I have started attending the gym and went for a class on Saturday morning, he turned around and said: “It can’t be a thing going to the gym on weekends and evening when I come from work, I can’t do it” (he said) therefore he expects me to be at home at all times unless kids are asleep.
I feel like I’m treading on eggshells for the sake of exercising 3 hours a week when my partner is at home. He is a tired person, I know that, but that is why I am trying to keep my outings to minimum, but I still get a long message after I have done something against his wish.

He does not care where I am during the day as long as kids are with me.
He is hands on when he has them, but the times when I have been at the gym, and despite his opposition to him struggling - I find him in the bed with a toddler watching cartoons and he is glued to his phone. It’s clearly not too much to do. I’d personally wouldn’t not mind if he wanted to pop out- unless I was sick or had other plans. Double standards!

He will look after kids on weekend mornings as he is an early bird, wil do brekkie and bath and once up I’m awake - I’ll take over, then he will take a break for 2 hours, come back and watch telly with kids and have a break again. I often take kids out with my friends on Saturdays before I go to work at 4pm.
We hardly go out as a family due to ongoing tension and often he won’t go anywhere more than a 30 min drive. I find the kids will not have the memories of days out because Daddy is often not willing to out. If we do go out - days out are often rushed and mostly on his terms. I feel like I’m on borrowed time when we do things.

Despite his negative reaction I have done my best to sort the children out and went to the gym on Saturday morning for an 1.5 h, and that is when things went downhill.
He is giving me a silent treatment for 4 days for not listening to him. I must admit I don’t talk either, because I feel better when he can’t hurt mr with his guilt tripping.
I have felt that I always need permission to go out, yet he can announce he is meeting a friend and that’s that, I don’t get a say. Very often my voice isn’t heard in this relationship and it is somehow suffocating me. This is just an example of things he has done. If I’m on good books, all is well -
once I step out to have a little more freedom, that’s when I feel the emotional backlash.

He used to send me upsetting messages to get home asap when I went to my friends for a drink and chat with my newborn around 7 pm in the evening, he insisted he needs a bedtime routine, which wasn’t even in place that early days, baby was breastfed and I couldn’t leave him anywhere, but felt stuck at home as my partner wouldn’t try to help other way. Same happened when I would go to the gym years ago and he would send threatening messages as the baby was crying, but he wouldn’t try to find the way to stop it. I never left for long hours and did my best to be with my child at all times, I just didn’t understand the treatment towards me.

I have been suffering with anxiety and sleep issues for a while now, it got a bit better, but it is getting worse after each time of his controlling behaviour episode.
Might seem petty, but last year I could not be present for his birthday as I was abroad with my kids for a while, but I made sure I called twice that day to send greetings, however he was angry that I did not send a card. 6 weeks later my birthday came along and he deliberately made my day miserable without talking to me or saying anything about my birthday and I felt very upset as I thought we would have a lovely day, and he replied - I owe you nothing, you didn’t even get a card for my birthday. It seems minor, but that is a part of his mind games to get me upset and worthless, yet he will often make himself appear innocent.

I’ve been struck in my face once for something I didn’t even realise he could do and denied it. Because I wanted to help my toddler when he was upset, when he was holding him.
He used to blame me if my toddler fell over or cried when was younger, interrogating me while little one was crying. It wasn’t a big deal, but he made it out that it only happens to me looking after him. (80% of time I’m with him) odds?

I feel quite anxious around him and wish I had left him years ago, things really got bad over the past year.

These are the things I have experienced:

Rarely (basically never) apologising/being accountable
Blaming me for lots of things (e.g. work stress when it is nothing to do with me, says that I irritate him.
Distant - Lack of communication, hardly has time and willingness to talk, does not see that we should talk, refers to my talking as “moaning” very often.
Financial control - Makes most decisions about things in the house and what we buy, not consulting me most of the time, since he is a breadwinner. Does not allow me to pick up extra shifts at work, even if it does not affect his work / plans.
Saying that I have it easy staying at home with kids and having coffees with my friends, yet if I ever said that I wish I could go to work like he does, he gets angry, assuming that I determine that his job isn’t hard and I don’t appreciate what he does. I just find it emotionally hard to be with kids so much, and have lost my identity.
Leaving the room when I try to talk about things (He gets extremely angry if I say he does not support me(emotionally). He mistakes it for financial support, that is not too much of an issue, however if I voice that I feel a lack of support for something, he threatens me to stop giving any money and take the car off me. I only work 10 hours a week on weekends, that was very difficult to agree.
He says he supports me working weekends and I know it’s not easy to be at home every weekend evening to be with kids, but he did not agree to split childcare costs for the youngest one in order to work 2 weekdays a week. Not sure if he quite sees that I’m working, not going out, this little income helps me to but my own things without cutting into his salary. I don’t have an allowance, I just have to ask to send money when I go overdrawn, which he is reluctant to do if I go against his wishes.

When I went out to the gym, despite his wishes, he sent me a very long message about how I’m being ungrateful, and I don’t understand how hard he works. This is where I doubt myself, and I think that I am feeling right then. He pointed out that I do not make his sandwiches (because at multiple occasions, he didn’t have my homemade sandwich (it’s not even bad) and had McDonald’s instead, or simply had to bin it, because he did not eat it) and don’t make the dinner.
I will more with make sure that the kids are fed, and if there is food left over, I will make it for him whether they have been times when I have made dinner and he just does not want it because he’s moody. There is no appreciation clearly.

Calling me a “Fu*** idiot” or retard when things go out of hand and we disagree.

He is working long hours at respectable position, and provides for us, however him being in a paid job makes me feel like I have no say about things around the house and he knows that leaving me in a vulnerable position as I cannot work more than 10 hours a week. I am made feel guilty for working weekends, even though he says he supports me, I just feel uneasy around him. He will say that he is doing a great job at supporting, yet I somehow feel guilt, like my work is a leisure, not a source of income.

Mood swings (often involving the silent treatment or short answers to questions) out of the blue, sometimes with no explanation, and sometimes it later being explained that I did something to upset him

I am ready to take a leap and get away before we end up on really bad terms, it’s not worth to suffer like this and feel that weight on my shoulders for allowing myself just to have a bit more freedom to myself.

OP posts:
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tootiredtobother · 21/01/2023 12:34

jesus christ i read the first few paragraphs and stopped. for heavens' sake LEAVE HIM things will not get better

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Dodecaheidyin · 21/01/2023 12:37

There is nothing mild about his abuse, emotional and physical. Please contact Women's Aid, they will support you in coming to terms with what your relationship is, advise how best to keep yourself and your children safe and will support you in the best way of separating from him, which will be the best thing for you and the children.

Do not tell him you know he is being abusive. Try not to change your behaviour, he will sense the change and very likely escalate the abuse. Please, please contact WA as soon as you can, but meantime keep everything the same as far as he is aware.

It would also be a good idea to ask MN to move your thread to Relationships. You will get lots of support there Flowers

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Christmaspyjamas · 21/01/2023 12:40

This isn't mild.

It sounds a horrible way to live.

He is bullying you on a daily basis and being violent and destroying your possessions.

I hope you get lots of support on here because it sounds like you have got quite used to his behaviour when I think most people will find it shocking.

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brillianthopefulness · 21/01/2023 12:57

Oh you poor thing. Please get yourself and your kids as far away as possible from this monster.

He is 100% abusive.

Ring Women's aid.
See a solicitor.
Talk to family and trusted friends.
Get out.

This will be affecting your children and I know it's scary but if you can't do it for yourself then do it for them.

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pondsprite1 · 27/01/2023 20:13

This is serious abuse and scary. Sometimes when we live with people we can get "used to" their poisonous behavior so that it doesn't seem as bad as it is.

You might benefit from the book Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. That book was great for opening my eyes to the type of abuser I was with and made me realize it wasn't in my head.
Your wrote a lot, like I do when I'm really upset about something that's a big deal.

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Tileuh · 27/01/2023 20:15



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thequestionfromtheOPisthismildemotionalabuse · 27/01/2023 22:02

Click on the links below but first find out how to cover your tracks online:

Cover your tracks online

Recognising domestic abuse

Am I in an abusive relationship?

Making a safety plan

What can Women's Aid do for me?

If in immediate danger or in an emergency
Call 999
Teach children how to do this

In an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak?
Make Yourself Heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine.

How can my children be affected by domestic abuse?

Get the help needed:

Call Solace Women’s Aid.
It’s free:
0808 802 5565
Or live chat or email

A summary of where to get help and support

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RedAndBlueStripedGolfingUmbrella · 28/01/2023 02:56

Sorry, it's late and I've had wine
You should never be made to feel guilty for needing, time to yourself, or wanting to see your friends.

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richie7 · 29/01/2023 13:09

I just want to give you the biggest hug. My heart is hurting for you.

You are in an abusive relationship. You know you need to get out, not just for you, but also for the welfare of your children.

It takes a lot of bravery to step away from a long term relationship, no matter how damaging it has all been. But right now, you need to summon up every ounce of bravery because you have to get out.

The daily habit of living with a coercive gaslighter means your emotional resources will not be giving you the right instincts as you have learnt (through him) to doubt yourself so much.

We have one life, and it is precious. For you and.for your children, start planning your exit (and like many wiser posters have said before me, get help through women’s aid, or another domestic violence charity that can help you escape).

You must be careful. Women’s lives are most at risk at the exit phase. But don’t let this stop you getting ready to leave. Instead, plan for your exit. Talk to trusted family, friends and legal/women’s aid. There are many resources and charities out there ready to help you.

You are young and there is huge potential for you to still have a life of happiness, warmth, singing, laughter and duvet days without guilt. You know that as long as you stay with this man, none of that will be possible for you and your children.

Sending you love and strength. You are not alone. Many of us have been where you stand now. Many of us escaped and built new and happier lives. It is possible. Believe. You are not alone x

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3peassuit · 29/01/2023 13:17

There is nothing mild about this. He is financially, emotionally and physically abusive. It’s time for you to make an exit plan.

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howdoesatoastermaketoast · 31/01/2023 10:22

this is not mild, but it is abusive

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Blahburst · 31/01/2023 10:26

Not Mild. Completely controlling, abusive and unacceptable. it’s not OK to need his “permission” to do things or buy things. Get out, but be very careful. Best of luck to you.

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JockSmashnova · 31/01/2023 10:29

JFC. He’s evil.

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HagoftheNorth · 31/01/2023 19:37

OP, please let us know you’re safe & making plans to leave 💐

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Whiskeypowers · 31/01/2023 19:44

The very fact you think it’s mild shows you how bad this is and how afraid you really are

no way to sugarcoat it, the ONLY advice is leave, and leave yesterday. He is psychotic and completely abusive.
please call Women’s Aid and take things from there. Your life is over if you stay either via death by a thousand cuts or him seriously harming or even killing you.

please let us know how you are. We are all here to help you manage as safe and swift an exit as possible. I’ve done it and so have lots of other posters sadly. The other side is more than you dream it could be 💐

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Deathbyfluffy · 31/01/2023 19:48

This isn’t mild abuse - it’s actually quite severe.
You need to get out.

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