Your post sent shivers down my spine because I recognised so much of what you wrote about. To get to a point where you recognise it for what it was is an amazing achievement. I think it took me to get to about 8 or so months before I realised the full extent of what I had been subjected to.
I totally recognise what you write about the isolation from friends. This happened to me also, but it was very slow and gradual. By the end of my marriage there was hardly anyone I could turn to for help and support since everyone had been labelled as ''people not to be trusted''. Plus, I was robustly told that I was a terrible judge of character - another aspect of the control that I was subjected to.
An aspect that took my ages to see was the way that things were just turned around, i.e. when I raised a legitimate concern about something that was said, perhaps communicating a point in a more direct way, I was told to ''stop shouting''. I''m firmly of the opinion that shouting doesn''t do anyone any good. I came to see that this was a manipulation where I was, in effect, told to shut-up. Subsequently, if something ever upset me I felt that I couldn''t raise it since it was robustly dismissed where I then felt as if I was the one who was being unreasonable.
It''s interesting what you say about money (a theme that I was toying blogging about). My ex was keen to control every aspect of our finances. Some potential purchases that I would have liked to have made were presented as ''a waste of money'', whilst purchases that my ex were made were, of course, okay. I remember once when she made a financial management mistake I was the one who got the blame.
Your point about housework was something that totally rang true to me. Everything I ever did was never good enough. Whenever I used to hoover up, I was told to do it ''properly''. If I had used the same expression going the other way I would have been in unbelievable amounts of trouble and be subjected to an almighty sulk that would have lasted days. There were times when I felt as if I was just there to ''service her needs'' (and when I became ill and was unable to do this, and she was the one who had to offer some support for a while, that was when everything fell apart).
My ex moved on from me to someone else who had more ''potential'' to service her needs, and ultimately help her in her career. That is very sad... but it is more sad for her than it is for me.
When I was telling all this stuff to a good friend of mine, he said, ''JJ, you''re going to have a much better life than she ever will''. That suddenly put EVERYTHING into perspective. He was right, but to get to that point takes A LOT of work. A fundamental thing that I''ve done to move on is to forgive myself for getting involved with my ex in the first place. (Also, Haway''s advice is eloquently robust - in so many cases a combination of realisation and divorce gives way to peace and opportunity).
One of the things that I did when I was about 4 months in was to ask myself, ''what is it that I really want to do but haven''t actually done?'' The corollary of this is, ''what things did or do I like to do that make me (or used to make me) happy?'' Go ahead and some those things. If you''re not sure what they are anymore go and do new stuff to help you find new things. Each new situation is tough, but the next time you do them, whatever that situation is, becomes easier.
Almost without exception we come through the other side richer more human people. Abusers, on the other hand, they''ll remain confused and bitter with life - but that''s their problem, not ours. In some ways a new start is our opportunity and it''s totally their loss (for not having enough soul to recognise us for the good people that we are).
jj sent shivers down your spine?
well that makes a few of us i think,
definatly me,yes the abuse is slow in coming and indirect but it''s there eventually,to the extent i doubted my own sanity.
Unfortunatly for him I am sane (i think)and did have the smell the coffee moment.
No longer do I have to share my life with a control freak,who by the way was servicing somebody else,my life belongs to me and who I WANT IN IT.
Differance between us my stbx moved backwards,but hopefully he is happy now,but he has lost all that was good in his life,but he is too damn arrogant to realise that,....Whatever.
Luv and cwtchs
Afon xx ..............................
It is subtle to an extent that he and others think I might be being paranoid.
The situation became that I was walking on egg shells, tiptoeing...and when the shell cracked then it was all my fault and there would be a big price for me to pay.
I used to get the shakes and I still do, became and still am (often) a nervous wreck.
Then I was told that I was mad, insane and then he would convince me showing me the state of me; made me look in the mirror when I didn''t want to but he would make me..showing me what a mess I was - physically, mentally and emotionally.
I remember feeling confused and taking all the responsibility. That hasn''t gone away. None of it has gone away.
(Hence the flashbacks and nightmares now).
Yummy-mummy - just remember you no longer have to be responsible for his ''happiness and state of mind''. He is upset - so what - his problem not yours - after years of being made to feel guilty and responsible you have to learn to think differently. It will take time but it will happen.
I think the defining moment for me was when I walked out, whilst being lectured on how unhappy HE was and was ALL MY FAULT, without explanation, stayed away and came back the next day to tears and accusations which ended with ''you don''t care do you''. And to be able to say ''no'' and walk away again.
My hide is now elephant thick and heading to rhinocerous (or should it be the other way round?) and I do worry that in making myself cold and unapproachable as a protection I wont be able to unlearn that, but it is armour, and that is what you need to develope. Once you have protection you can fight back.
I am moved to contribute after reading this thread as I recognise so much of what others have said.
I have been told for years that I am the one with the problem, I cause all the arguments by my actions, I have been told that I am a really nasty person and that I only smile or make cheerful comments to people in order to "cover up" what I am really like. I have been told that my family are all worthless and hateful because they have no time for my stbx.
I gave up trying to arrange meetings with friends or drinks / socials with work colleagues years ago as the evening out was simply not worth the days of nasty comments, arguments or worse following.
But for me the worst emotional abuse that I suffered and indeed still do suffer is the theft of my time. If I am not at work then I must be doing something, a job around the house or in the garden, paperwork, walking the dog, whatever, anything to ensure that I cannot have any time to be me and relax. Simple example - I started cycling the 3 miles to work. Was told that I should not be wasting that time and should take the car to give me more time to do stuff in house / garden. Taking the car probably saved 15 minutes a day and cost £8 in parking a day plus petrol!
I will come home from work after 10 hours and she is in bath or sitting watching TV waiting for me to cook the dinner, with the food I have been and purchased while she has been home all day. Woe betide me if the dinner is not up to standard or not cooked using the exact techniques she specifies.
I can now see what is happening to me but still have not escaped it. I have been sleeping on sofa for 8 months as spare bed had no mattress. I brought a perfectly clean and good mattress home on Saturday from a flat I was clearing out and put it on the spare bed, looking forward to a comfy night. Within ten minutes it was chucked out in the rain as it was "dirty". I have given up with bedding now and just use a sleeping bag as the bedding I used was always wrong, I had made a pillowcase dirty or should have used a different quilt cover, etc etc. I have just become so immune to it and I suppose depressed that it just all goes over my head now. I could write a book, but most people would not believe it was true.
My wife needs help, but if I suggest it she just goes ballistic so now I just do anything for a quiet life. Self esteem down the pan.
Reading the stuff here on wiki has helped me a lot and now planning my escape, but I know it is going to be a very difficult time indeed.
I honestly think that I can never be shocked anymore,then another post comes on here,and I start doubting my sanity.
Can somebody honestly answer who the heck these people think they are?? The level''s of emotional abuse I suffered,are nothing to what has been posted here,and sadly they all seem so common.
I''m really not being sexist at all,but the men all out working all day,then coming home and doing all the cooking and housework???? What the hell is this all about,a relationship is about sharing chores/cooking.
This is just as bad when the same is happening to a woman,but why allow these people abuse us in this way.Some may say for a quiet life,hell no,that''s no life,nobody deserves to be treated in this way.To me a bully is a nobody,a person not worth your time and effort,so although it will be hard get out of these situations,and learn to love you,work on your self esteem,something that has been robbed from you all.
There is a quiet,peaceful life awaiting you all,okay it may take some time to find it, but you will,then the dark times will dim.
My thoughts go out to you all,
and I sincerly hope that you can all find the strength to leave these manipulative nasty people,who are not worthy of your love.