It’s starting to hit me; I’ve been with a man for several years and we are all drowning in his emotional abuse.
I can see what’s been happening to me for the last couple of years and I’m going to share the various scenarios so others may be able to recognise exactly what emotional abuse is! I am divorced from someone who both emotionally and financially abused me, but before you start to worry about me don’t, because I have a plan.
How it all started
I feel like I’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire, but I can handle it. Everything is under control as I have been in this place before, it’s just that this is far worse than my marriage. Yes, I feel like an idiot for not seeing the signs, but you see I was desperate and had nowhere else to turn.
The perpetrator saw my vulnerability. I could say he swooped in, but he didn’t. Getting together was a long process. There was definitely a lack of love-bombing. He was there, first as a helping hand and saviour, but little by little I now understand that once again, I am being controlled using emotional abuse, but in very subtle ways. It’s a very tricky situation, especially as I have children.
I want you to recognise the signs if you are in a relationship with a manipulative abuser. Abuse is not simply a push or slap in the face. It can be so subtle, you don’t even realise, or you think the horrible words your partner says are your fault.
“I think I knew from the very beginning that my current partner was probably not “the one”, but my ex was really putting me through the mill in the divorce courts. My vision was definitely blurred to the real world with my head hitting it’s full bandwidth. I met my partner internet dating and he was there, like a knight in shining armour. It wasn’t an immediate connection and there was definitely no love bombing. In fact, I would go so far as to say he was completely cold hearted.
For me, at that time, it was good as I didn’t want to be swept of my feet. Maybe he acted as though he didn’t want me, so I would want him more? I have no way of knowing if his behaviour was intentional. Is anything he says or does meant in the way I perceive it? Does an abusers brain work in a different way? Do they actually know that what they say and do hurts others and do they care? They have zero empathy, so they can’t care. Do they realise their emotional abuse?
There were no hot dates, no fancy nights out or gifts. He was the opposite to my ex-husband who was, and still is, full of charm (and smarm). He’s slightly rough around the edges and quirky. He appeared to have friends (my husband did not) and I felt protected as he had a gritty side to him. Over time, very slowly, around 10 months to be exact, I started to think he loved me; in fact, he texted me to tell me that he thought he was falling in love. The emotional abuse was right there, he pretended to care about me and my children and painted himself as a great father. Because he had taken his time before declaring his love, I thought it was real.
I’ve seen the light!
However, I have recently concluded that my partner is not nice to me or my children; I feel trapped again, but this time, there is no marriage certificate. I’ve tried to talk to him about the relationship, but he tells me that he has helped me and accuses me of being hugely ungrateful. I leave the conversation believing that I am indeed being selfish. He’s very good at making me feel bad when I challenge him, and it always turns into a heated argument. He doesn’t want to hear about my feelings as he’s just not interested. He will not accept any criticism.
Let’s get physical
He’s been physically aggressive with me on a number of occasions and is always very keen to remind me of the times when I have retaliated and given him a push or a shove. The emotional abuse has turned physical. On one occasion he came after me and I did actually slap him. He lapped it up and loved the fact that I’d finally lost my cool. It was exactly what he wanted to happen as he now had an excuse. Every time he gets physical with me, he refers back to the couple of times I have hit back. It’s all a mad and crazy game.
One of his friends told me that his ex wife had punched him in the face and left him with a black eye. He told me himself that he went out to the pub with his bruises, to show everyone what she had done. I found the story truly sickening as her aggression had occurred after he had told his wife that he was leaving her and their young children. I’m sure there were more circumstances surrounding the punch that he ever lets on. I am not condoning her behaviour, but knowing him as I do, did he also hit her and she has never admitted it? After all, he was bedding a mother from his children’s school. Did she receive so much emotional abuse that one day, she finally snapped?
Everything’s a game
He loves it if I lose it as he loves to label me “psycho bitch”, but I’m not. I just become so angry at myself for allowing this emotional abuse. I bite my tongue for as long as I can, and then suddenly, it all gets too much and he sends me over the edge. I scream and shout at him and when it is all over I can hardly remember what has just happened. He knows how to press my buttons, but it takes a long time before I actually get angry with him because I know there is no point in arguing with him.
At the point when I see red, he’s won as he’s able to tell me how terrible I am. He smirks as I apologise and he loves to mention little snippets of what happened for days after. He’ll just pop a remark into conversation in an attempt to gaslight me. It’s extremely tiring to not react. There’s always the constant regurgitation of what I did and said and I believe that it’s his greatest pleasure to be able to put me down, and make me try and believe that I am that “psycho bitch”. Making me feel bad, makes him feel better. He’s like a mirror. Everything he does, the abuse, he says that I do it to him.
His wonderful life
Too many women from his past, (3, including his ex wife) have warned me about what and who he is. We all have similar stories and it’s too much of a coincidence that they describe the same behaviour, right down to individually saying “Jekyll and Hyde character”. It’s the emotional abuse which puts you off balance. One minute he’s telling you how amazing you are, the next he’s asking you if you are going to the gym (insinuating that you are fat) and saying that you are taking all his money. You never know where you are with him. He always behaves in the same way, apart from the fact that as far as I know, he’s never been physical with anyone else, only me. There’s something in his eyes. They become dark and change.
I put this down to him knowing that I can actually get out of this; is he scared of being alone? When I say that things are not really right in the relationship, he says that I owe him too much to ever leave. So am I in relationship debt with this man? He believes that I cannot leave him and make a decision because I owe him not just financially but emotionally. It is truly weird. Held captive because someone feels they have done you a good turn.
Word soup is emotional abuse
I think word-manipulation was enough to control his exes for a very long time. When they discovered what he was doing and left, I’m sure he’d have had another lover lined up. I don’t think he’s ever been alone, there has always been a woman in his bed, but this time, as he’s ageing, he’s not so wanted.
I’m not his usual type and I don’t consider myself to be attractive in his eyes, as I am far removed from the petite blonde he would normally go for. He is not a lucrative catch in terms of money and house etc as in fact, he has none of those things, mainly because he has given most of his income since his divorce, to the pub and failed attempts at wooing women with money and holidays.
I speak about emotional abuse being “word soup”, because I imagine words floating around in a bowl and he just says them all. Nice comments and horrid are all mixed up and I don’t know where I am with him. He keeps stirring the soup and when he gets his ladle and dishes some out, I don’t know what I’m going to receive. If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you will know what I am attempting to describe.
He was and is, desperate
He’s desperate to carve out a future for himself in terms of being affluent, but it’s getting too late for him ever to get those things by earning the money himself. He sees ME as his last ditch attempt to have the future he wants, and although he treats me as he does, he knows that when I’ve gone, there is not a lot of future left.
He’s moved onto a more aggressive approach of control to “scare” me into staying, and even states that what I thought was help and kindness, to him is “an investment”. With age on my side, I have a lot more going for me. He knows I am strong, therefore the only way to control me is to add a physically aggressive element to operate alongside the emotional abuse.
It has taken me a long-time to draw this conclusion, but he pretends to be mighty, when actually he is a sad, good for nothing, functioning alcoholic. The reason the relationship got off to such a slow start is because I now know he was seeing who else was available to him before settling for me. I’m not stupid and I saw old diaries where the silly sod wrote everything down. His salary couldn’t cover taking out 2+ women at the same time, so I was the one who was on the back-burner while he shagged around and treated the others well. When I look back there were many times when he blew me out with the excuse of seeing his children or being away with work. He told me so many lies. I was in a haze of divorce-trouble and he got away with his deceit very easily.
Child is not king
All his exes talk about his disdain for children and he only likes his own kids now they have landed in adulthood. I can see the fear in his son’s eyes, even though he’s in his twenties. I know that anxiety; the longing to always do the right thing by an abusive parent.
You see, I had to endure this with my own parents and even to this day, I’m scared to upset my mother and father. I pussyfoot around them, always agreeing to keep the peace and nasty comments at bay. His son is also very much “yes yes yes” to his dad, He’s always on edge. I tried to talk to my partner about this, but it fell on deaf ears because an abuser will never admit to their behaviour.
And “Father of the Year” goes to…..
I see my partner making excuses when his children call for help. He’ll merrily have them over to us for dinner and drinks and pretend to be “dad of the year”, but the reality is that he doesn’t give a shit about them, or anyone else.. Everything he does is for his own self-esteem and gain. To the outside world he tries to look like Mr Generous but he doesn’t doing anything for nothing. I get this really weird feeling that if I died, he’d feel absolutely nothing. You know that gut feeling you get for things when they are not right? Well, I have that and I’m certain that the prospect of my Life Insurance pay-out would be the first thought to enter his mind on the news of my death.
The tears of a clown?
He seems to be able to cry at the drop of a hat over the weirdest things, such as a sad tv show. Yet when I am upset or hurt, there is no empathy for me. When I’ve been unwell, (which isn’t often), there is zero thought for me, yet if he is sick, he expects 24/7 care.
There are things he will do (disguised as being helpful and a good man). He loves going to the supermarket, so he can control what we eat and buy (because I am just a stupid woman who will buy anything and everything and spend ALL the money) and he will always pop to the shop for booze. It’s very rare these days that I’m allowed to go to the supermarket with him and I usually get dismissed if I ask to go, so I just put up with it. As he walking out the door, he’ll say something like “You can get on an earn me some money.” I think he likes to perve at the women in Waitrose and he’s probably hoping to meet someone over the tinned tomatoes.
If I do manage to get an invitation and put a few items into the trolley, for weeks later there will be “jokes” about what I thought we needed. Anyway, I’m not eating much at the moment. He said I’m fat, and even thought I know I’m ok, I’m using his words in my head to play a game with myself, pretending to believe his words and eat more healthily and get superfit. It’s offering me a distraction to what’s going on with his mind-games.
My children, my blood, part of me
Something I find really hurtful is the way he always refers to my children as “YOUR children” with an emphasis on the word your. I get a stabbing pain when I hear him say those words. The kids are part of me and it’s not the way I think about his children. I used to put it down to him being a “man”, but I know that’s unfair on mankind. Plenty of men take on their partner’s children as their own. He sees my children as an irritant in his life and I doubt he would batter an eyelid if they died tomorrow. There would be a few of those fake tears from his eyes, but inside I know he’d be delighted that the itch had been scratched.
I’m turning off my emotions
I’ve stopped bothering with his children and made myself detach from them. I used to send the odd text asking how them how they were, but I’m not going to have feelings for them and I try to go out if he invites them over. To be honest I can’t stand the games he plays; the cutsie names he has for them along with the fake care and warmth. Anyone can act like that short-term.
It’s the long term devotion of a parent which really matters. The dropping everything when there is a problem, the putting yourself out and not thinking about the inconvenience. He loves to act over-protective and caring with them in front of me, it’s just another display of emotional abuse. without uttering a word he is saying to me that he treats some people really well and I am not deserving of that treatment from him. It makes me feel sick. It’s all such a show.
A few years ago, he invited my children and I to stay in his friends villa Several days before leaving, he gave me strict instructions to not allow my children to see the signs for the Waterpark we would be passing. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that there was no way we would be going there! He didn’t ask my opinion and I was told what would be happening. It was the week from hell.
Were his parents on his back all the time?
The children were trying to have fun but being constantly ticked off by him for running on the slippery patio (ok, it was a hazard, but it was the way he told them off!), leaving crumbs (??), getting a drink without asking (we are on holiday reellllaaaxxxx). I was under strict instructions to make them go to bed at a certain time and the whole week was horrendous. They were to be seen and NOT heard.
I vowed never to take them on holiday with him again, however, I did make the error one more time. I trusted him and even spoke to him about my concerns. I truly believe that he used our last holiday to try and turn the children and I against each other. He is plainly rude to my children, speaking to them with no care in his voice. I can honestly say that I believe he hates them. He picks on every little thing he can.
Cat and mouse games
Everything they do is scrutinised; he’s like a lion waiting to pounce on it’s prey. Sometimes he’s not even watching, yet he senses something is not quite aligned in his world and suddenly, he’s there, criticising. Not just the children, but me too. It’s stifling and I can only describe it as a feeling of being suffocated. He often tells me how horrid my children are and this causes me great pain. Saying awful things about them is criticising me; but he knows that. They are part of who I am yet if I try and say something negative about his children, the world comes tumbling down.
I have no privacy as he is always poking around in my things, looking for something to pick-on. It might be that I go for a coffee with a friend and don’t tell him because he will say “oh, you have money for that!” and he finds the receipt or my phone will flash up with a text message and he will insinuate that I am seeing someone else.
The put me down’s
I would go so far as to say that I feel even more imprisoned now than in my marriage. My partner calls all the shots and is very much in charge. I know I was hooked easily as I was hankering for some kind of “normal” for my kids. I was damaged-goods during and after my divorce and suffered with anxiety and the odd breakdown.
Fake sympathy, no empathy
Looking back, he was never sympathetic. He would pretend to be, but I can see that the fake sympathy was just another weapon in his arsenal of control. “Who is going to have YOU? If you leave here, you will have nothing and I will come after you for all the money you owe me.” The threats started a while ago and he’s never been really supportive, as it all comes at a cost.
People who really care, don’t hold the other person accountable for the care they have given. It’s given for free with no strings attached. However, it felt like he was there for me at the time. I was so blind to what was really going on. Using my stress to easily manipulate me and play me like a little mouse. I would always say “yes,” as I had nothing, so how could I go against his wishes? I was weak.
I’ve had it all before. What he pretended was kindness, is thrown back in my face on a weekly basis. I try to talk reasonably with him about the relationship, saying that I would actually like it to work. He can be funny and we get on great, but that’s when everything is going well, running smoothly and on his terms. If I say anything critical then it’s game over.
What is wrong with him?
I think my partner is actually suffering from very low self esteem and uses me as a boost. He has a hard-nut, cocky exterior, but he has no reason to act this way. He has nothing to be cock-sure about as he has no real friends and took the opportunity to run from his past life, where he appears to have slept with many women around where he lived and who his wife and children were familiar with. I can only guess that part of him wanted his ex wife to know, to hurt her. For what other reason would you have intimate relations with women (plural) from your children’s school? He came to live over where I am based. It was a new start for him and maybe he’d run out of women to lay?
There are occasions when I look at him and think we have so much in common but he’s ruining it all. He can be so so lovely and it’s as though he’s naturally nice and then a button is pressed which reminds him to be a bastard. I wish he could stop his ranting and being rude to me and the children, but I know a leopard can’t change its spots. I guess if he could understand how he hurts those around him with his derogatory comments, then there could be hope, but I also hear him being rude to work colleagues, whereas I would never dream of instigating conflict in the workplace. He sees himself as the best of the best and is a very modest man. He is quick to blow his own trumpet.
Far from the care-free childhood he claims to have enjoyed, I believe there are skeletons in his cupboard, but they’re not my problem. I am not here to be a caregiver for someone who does not care for me. I have done that for too long and it’s time for me to be selfish for the sake of my children. There is absolutely no way he would ever see a counsellor and try to heal himself. He believes he’s perfect and would not want to consider that something was not right in his past.
I on the other-hand have seen a counsellor and know exactly why I am like I am, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am dealing with it and I know why I am with a man like my partner.
Little by little he took over my life
I had my own rental flat at one point, but within a year, he was “moving in” to help and support me. At that time I was really low and I know he took complete advantage of my situation. This part of the relationship was very quick to happen. One minute he was on holiday with friends, the next he was moving in. Maybe he was on holiday with another woman and it all went wrong? Again, I will never know and I didn’t consider that at the time. I don’t know what was going through my head back then but I was very vulnerable. He sold his house and came in with money and talk of how we would build a life “together”. But together is not the right word. He’s completely in charge of my life and I am constantly told that I am ungrateful and owe him lots of money.
Just this morning, he opened the dishwasher sighed and said “I wonder who loaded this?” (meaning I hadn’t loaded it the way he likes it to be loaded). Instantly I got that feeling of “flight”. He is going to have a go at me, my Mother would have been the same. She’d walk in the door and immediately start crashing around because something was out of place. If I comment back, he turns it around to try and make me look like the crazy one. I see it coming. He start to accuse me of starting an argument. You see, I am supposed to take the little picky comments, I am just a woman, the shit, the one he thinks he can control with his pathetic little comments.
I admit, to being frightened and fearful about the future. Telling me how I’ve apparently spent all his money is his favourite card to play. As if I could force this man to do something he did not choose to do? His past appears to be the same since his divorce, “investing” money on a long-line of women – only to tell me that they were all “sponging slags”. I’m sure they all came to their senses and walked away. He’ll be derogatory in one breath and then tell me how he was in love the next.
A few months ago, he gave my son his old camera to use at school. He told me to check it to make sure it had plenty of memory. I plugged it into my computer and up popped photos of himself and his “partially dressed” ex (including a nipple shot) in a tent on holiday. When I quizzed him about this, he swore that he thought the camera was empty of shots. There have been too many of these coincidences. He accuses me of stalking his exes on facebook, but he talks about them so often, directly or during a story “when we were on holiday,” that I admit to looking up these amazing women. I feel second-rate compared to them. He has fed me all the information so I can look them up. That’s weird in itself. He knows very little about my exes. He wouldn’t have enough information to find them on social media.
I do wonder if that was all a set-up too. Of course, once again, I was the crazy jealous one when I asked why he didn’t check that it was empty. He knows what photo’s he uses to take on it. I felt violated. It was not my place to see their relationship in that way. I didn’t want to see the smiles on their faces, the fun and frolics going on in the tent and private shots of her body, but he wanted me to see. I now understand that he wanted to mess with my head.
A manipulator will make sure you know the names of all their exes. If I ask questions about his exes, he tells me that I am jealous and psychotic. It’s the drip effect again. Little droplets of information which make your stomach churn and feel bad about yourself. The game playing is amazing and those drips all add up to make a huge lake over a few years.
You start to drown in the information which you shouldn’t know; my mind is awash with photos of his exes boobs and bum, his smiling face all over her, him having sex with another woman I knew from the past, passionate kisses with his ex wife on honeymoon, his angry face saying “your kids”.
I feel like I’m about to explode. He’ll tell me how awful exes were, and then weeks down the line you hear about the fabulous holidays they spent together and the restaurants they ate in. In other words, he’s trying to fuck with my head saying that they are worthy of that kind treatment and I am not.
But I know his game.
I get stories or snippets of information about when he travelled into the city to hang out at museums and art galleries with ex girlfriends, yet he tells me he hates that kind of thing. I hear about theatre productions he’s seen, yet he wouldn’t contemplate buying a ticket to go to a show with me. He’s travelled abroad with exes and tells me about meals they may have had “out”. Whether he did actually do these things with exes, I don’t know, but it’s irrelevant. It’s all mind games.
Examples of emotional abuse
It’s the little pieces of info an abuser gives you which are the ones which hurt the most. Here are some examples of what I’ve received over the last few years. They are always just little passing comments but if I pick-up on them and react, I will be deemed “a crazy bitch”.
- “Her arse was amazing but then she let it all slip.” (he then proceeded to give me the camera which “accidentally” held several photos of her bum – one wearing shorts, the other naked)
- “She was intelligent and has a degree!” (He had previously labelled his ex as “thick” and we were talking about something where I said that his ex must have been stupid. He turned it around to make me sound vindictive talking about her in that way plus he knows I do not have a degree. Suddenly i’m the bad guy!)
- While watching a tv show with an attractive actress he’ll ask “Do you think she is attractive?” If I reply, asking the same question back, he will say “I’m not going to go there! You will have a meltdown if I say the wrong thing!” – immediately I know he DOES think she is attractive, otherwise he would simply reply “no”.
- Knowing that my divorce was crap, he will talk about someone he was previously sleeping with. “Jo was clever and astute with her divorce. She got the house, maintenance payments and everything – so smart.”
- Don’t say that about my ex wife! (After slagging her off for years) “She is the mother of my children!”
- After calling me “flobby” (and if I get upset, he swears he’s saying it in a cute way and I am being over-sensitive), a few days later he’ll say “When I met her, she had an amazing figure and a 24 inch waist”.
- The emotional abuse is that you are in love with someone and although you know they had a past and you accept that, you are forced to look at it. He made sue that I have seen as many photos as possible of him kissing other women. It’s like a form of torture, especially if you believe you are really in love with that person. You feel like you are looking at your partner having an affair.
- Being in control by saying “yes, we can do that when YOU make some money”.
- Never a nice word about my children, but being really overly soppy and over the top about his own, who, as I mentioned earlier, he can’t actually be bothered with. The phone will ping and he will say “Ahhh, that’s my amazing daughter (using a childish petname). Oh, she’s so clever, thin, beautiful, smart, blah blah” (but in a gushing way which isn’t like him at all!) In fact, it gets to a point where he sounds a bit perverse! The emotional abuse is that he treats your children in one way and his own in a completely opposite fashion. There are no merged edges between the two behaviours as they are so extreme.
I’m saving the best ’till last
- I think the best remark ever was when my ex-husband found a girlfriend. It’s normal (and not nice) that you might comment how horrid an exes new squeeze looks. My partner joined in with my little bitching session. “Oh, she’s not attractive is she? I thought he’d be with a tall, fit blonde.” (Now….. wait for a couple of hours). He asks to see the photo again “Oh, I knew there was something about her. She looks like you! He’s going out with someone who reminds him of you!” That was the moment of emotional abuse. Did you see it? He said that she was unattractive and then went on to say that she looked like me. This is how abusers operate! Of course, after he said that, I commented and there was a row which ended with me being branded a crazy cow!
I hope some of these examples show the kind of mind games, the manipulation of your thinking, to ultimately hurt you, to stick the knife in.
Hearts and Flowers
Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Birthday’s come and go without a thought on his part. I know he doesn’t love me, that’s plain to see. There has never been anything romantic or special about the relationship. He has taken me on holiday a few times but again, no special attention to detail. No romantic dinners. In fact, he prefers to lie in the sun swigging bottles of beer and reading. On one holiday, I took my laptop and worked to keep out of his way (he largely ignores me when we are away anyway).
I knew it would be boring, but it was a change of scenery and I knew what would be in store for me. Holidays are him constantly going on about how much money he is spending and if I mention that, then of course, I get beaten down with words along the lines of, “Well, you’re not spending any are you? You don’t have any money!” I would never go on holiday with this man again. It’s more stressful being away than at home. At least at home, I can escape. On holiday I feel trapped as I am never allowed to be on the hire car and if I say I am going for a walk, I am told that I am being “odd”.
Far from candlelit dinners to impress the lady, I would be taken to the nearest local supermarket to pick up the cheapest ham and cheese, along with bottles of cheap plonk. In his mind, “This is the holiday. I’m paying. Be grateful!” It’s amusing to see him buying the shittiest food to get a reaction from me; food he would never contemplate purchasing at home. I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut. Working on the last “holiday” prevented me from saying something I would regret.
You’re not worthy of special treatment
That was basically the food for the villa for the week. He wasn’t bothered about eating. The heady mix of being drunk and the sun making him lethargic and an utter bore. On one occasion, I dared to criticise him and was met with a fist to the back of my head as I walked away. We went to his friends Villa a number of times and never once were we able to visit any local places of interest. This was possibly because he had visited them all before, with other women.. I sucked it up, but if I lost it and opened my mouth, there would be all hell to play.
The jump from the frying pan into the fire
I stupidly moved from my flat and my very own space when, in a whirlwind he found a house for us to move into “as a family” (by this, he meant that my two children were obviously included in that. I was sceptical and checked over and over again what the move would mean). It all happened very quickly and before I had a chance to think. I hoped that this would be it and that he would change. Maybe the flat was too small and that’s why things were sometimes pretty awful. As an empath, I am always looking for an excuse to why someone else is tricky.
However, I soon realised that the new house was actually to be seen as “his” house and I would not be able to do anything without his express permission, which was usually a resounding “no”. The emotional abuse extends onto my children. They have their own rooms but he makes sure he refers to them as the “guest rooms”.
He has children too, but they are grown up. One has her own place and the others live with their Mother. He has corrected my son on a number of occasions when he has been talking and said “my room”. My partner corrects him, telling him “you mean the spare room”. What kind of adult needs to do that to a child? It’s all to exert his control and to say, without actually saying, “this is my home, don’t think you have your own space here.” We all have to feel on edge.
No childhood allowed!
My children are not allowed to put pictures on the walls of their respective rooms as he wants to make sure they don’t feel like the house is their home. Its his castle. No one is to lay down any roots. We must all feel that at any point we could be out. No one is to feel safe and secure and I don’t feel like it’s home either. Always walking on eggshells and waiting for the next criticism.
It was just this weekend that he told me that I should be paying two thirds of the rent as he only uses one bedroom and I use three on a regular basis (one with him and two for my children). Who says that to their partner? In the next breath he is telling me he loves me. The instability drives me nuts. The emotional abuse is in trying to make me feel guilty. I haven’t opened his wallet and stolen money from him, but this is how he wants me to feel.
I am several years out of my divorce and slowly unfurling my leaves to the daylight; starting to see what life should be all about. This relationship is not what I want and is a complete mess. I know that a normal loving man would not speak to my children, or any child in the way he does.
I’m sad when I see other families merging together and making the most of what they have. It’s not happening to me and that’s my fault because I’ve selected yet another bad egg. He keeps his children very much away from mine and this is another from of emotional abuse. He is trying to say that his kids are much better than mine. He says things like, “why would my children want to meet your children?” There has been no real “meet-up” of the two families. In hindsight I am glad the two lots haven’t met. He would only belittle mine in front of his anyway, and with no future ahead, what’s the point?
The man has plans
He doesn’t tell me about his plans in a potential manner, he simply tells me what’s happening. He’s started to go out with some old friends again. He’s really subtle; talks in an extra loud voice when he is going to be doing something fun. In this scenario, the emotional abuse is him talking about his supposedly exciting plans so I overhear, but he will never come and tell me. If I ask, I’m accused of listening in to his conversations. He very quickly manages to turn the fact that he is doing something, but not going to tell me directly, into me being jealous and not allowing him to go out.
He told me at the weekend that he’s off into the city for a concert in a few months time, yet when I ask him to do something unusual with me, he’s not interested. He’s always telling me how he hates travelling (and there’s the added dig that he has no money as I’ve apparently taken it all). He’s always on the lookout for someone better than me and he might have found it on a few occasions. I don’t know. I actually love him being out. I can breathe and do exactly what I want. If he found out that I like him being away h’s probably stop meeting friends, so I pretend that I’m a little jealous so his ego gets a stroke.
He sometimes travels so it would be very easy for him to do. Anyway, he told me he was unfaithful to his wife and ex girlfriend, so what makes me think I’m any more special than them? I think I know when he has had hotel sex with someone else as he doesn’t call me and I cannot get in touch with him. It seems that there are so many hotels in the UK which don’t have a phone signal and he always ends up staying in them. He can’t survive as a one woman man. He needs to get a high from the deceit.
The drip effect
It’s been a slow drip drip of emotional abuse and I need to get out. He told me that all he needed was me and the simple life but that’s a lie. He likes me because he can be in total control. In his head, he believes that he has given me so much that he has a rope tying me to him; how could I ever possibly dare to leave? If I do, he threatens to be on my back for money. He tells me I can’t go until I pay back every penny. When he spent money, bought me a drink, paid for a flight, I didn’t realise that it came with terms and conditions. I’m sure he has a list of my debt to him somewhere.
It’s an awful situation and I this time, I have to play clever. With my marriage, I just took the children and walked out with not a backwards glance. I completely lost it with my husband after ten years of his mental torture. I have to be smart and play a longer game; get out when the time is right for me. I know full-well that he doesn’t even like me, let alone love me. He called me “a lump” at the weekend. His exact words were “there’s a lump on the sofa.. oh, it’s you!”
Relate – what is emotional abuse?
He will say little things like this, say it in a joking way, or tell me that he said it in anger, but actually he meant it. I see him looking at me with disgust. He doesn’t even fancy me. He hates the fact that I’m all he can get; someone who was in a desperate situation. When we met he was dating loads of other women behind my back and I’ve recently asked him about this. He replied by saying that in his mind, we weren’t actually together at that time. I have no answer to this comment.
Who am I?
I can only guess that as he got another year older, the women he was dating, at the same time as me, dried up and I was all that was left; the one on the scrapheap. He had to take what he could get. I suppose that Tinder in the 55+ section gets a little less footfall. From the outset of the relationship he’s told me in passing, almost in a way that I hardly noticed, dropped it into conversation that he thinks I am ugly, weird looking, fat, wobbly, a psycho, heavy… oh….. I’ve had it all. I took it; part of me hoping that he was damaged too and would eventually change. His nickname for me, with a smirk on his face is “wobs”. How disgusting is that?
Maybe I subconsciously enjoy being treated like this? Am I addicted?
Growing up, I was always the “good-girl” the one who was eager to please, so his distasteful comments satisfied my constant need to try and please in my adulthood. That’s how things played out with my parents. My sibling was the “golden” one as he had issues, whereas I simply got on with things. The only way I could get praise was to be the one who would look ahead and lay the table, do this, do that, but often it was the wrong way, and I would be at the shouty end of my parents dysfunctional marriage. I couldn’t do anything right. So, what’s changed? Maybe I find comfort in this relationship I’m in? Do I get a slight pleasure from his hurtful words as receiving emotional abuse is what I’m used to? Is this my “norm”?
Think about what’s really happening
When you are vulnerable you can get yourself into situations you know in your gut are simply not right. Perpetrators of emotional abuse can really take advantage of you. You have to be on high alert for those who prey on you. I know I can be a success. He funded a business I set up, but before you say how kind that is, it’s only because he wants to sit back and reap the rewards; already picking out the sports car I’m apparently going to buy him in the future (no way!). He sees himself as very attractive. He may well have been (although I’ve seen no evidence of that from old photos I’ve found).
You know from the start #gutfeeling
When I look back to the very first Valentines Day, that should have told me everything. He just didn’t bother. I can’t remember ever getting a thoughtful gift or card, only at times when he knew I was serious about leaving him; when I had more control as I had my own place. He is not what I want and I am getting to the point of hating him. Ok, he pulled me out of a hole for a bit when I was drowning, but what now? Am I supposed to just ignore how he treats me and listen to his constant put-me-downs? I’m drowning again, but this time in his emotional abuse and mental torture.
I hope my story will warn others and show them the moves these emotional abuse perpetrators make. There is not always “love bombing”. It can be a more drawn out process if the person has others already “on the go” and emotional abuse is very much a “long game”. I’m actually happy this has happened to me as i’ve found myself. I also know that I will never allow anyone into my home again. His words no longer hurt me and I laugh at the fact that he even says the things he does. It’s pathetic and he behaves like a child. It’s been a huge learning curve.
Why does he want this up and down life?
Why does this man want to be with someone and treat them in this way and what does he get from dishing out emotional abuse? How terrible that he is unable to find himself and live in peace too. How many beautiful women (inside and out) have slipped through his fingers. I’m the lucky one. I know my own flaws and am able to stand up and say what they are and deal with them.
I will be out of this situation as soon as I can. Firstly, for my children and secondly for me. I don’t know if I can have another relationship after this. I’m not thinking that far ahead because now, my life is about me and my children. I also want to say that although I refer to a man as the abuser I completely understand that women can be emotionally abusive too and I know some women who are. Thanks for reading”
What can you do?
It’s very easy to move from one bad situation to another when you are feeling exhausted, your mental bandwidth at full capacity. Incorrect choices are easily made as we clutch at straws to move on, hoping that our gut instinct is wrong. Emotional abuse puts you off balance and makes you feel giddy. It’s hard to even realise you are in this situation and getting out of it requires planning and determination.
The key to moving on, is to come up with a plan. It may be way in the future before you can get what you ultimately wish for, but it is possible. Start to look at finances, maybe benefits are available to you, assess your life. Is going back to a 5 bedroom house really achievable and what you need? Will a three bedroom suit you better and give you a better quality of life and cash-flow. Set goals that you can actually see sight of.
The Hug Directory
It’s worthwhile speaking to experts in The Hug Directory, even if it just to dip your toe into the water to see if they can help. Maybe your long-term plan is to be financially secure. That pension which has been dormant for years might be worth mentioning, get it up and running again? Do you need to re-write your will? Can you change your career path to earn more money or do something on the side? Emotional abuse is draining.
Did you lose out on your divorce settlement because you were living with someone, but could now potentially “go back in” using The Children’s Act? It may be worthwhile speaking to a Family Lawyer to see how the land lies with this. Sometimes an ex- partner will get away with paying £0, but circumstances change and new opportunities present themselves to you.
Above all, don’t spend time blaming yourself. Start planning your escape and get out.
Resources for help
There are charity resources available to anyone who needs help to escape a relationship.
There are also experts in The Hug Directory, ranging from family solicitors to hypnotherapists, to financial planners and coaches specialising in divorce and separation. Maybe you are not sure if you are receiving emotional abuse. Talk it through with someone.
The NSPCC Describes Emotional Abuse for children – look at how that list applies to your partner in an adult relationship. It includes;
- Humiliating or constantly criticising
- threatening, shouting or calling a child names
- Making a child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child
- Never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes