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Emotional Abuse

  • hungryhungryhippos
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12 Jul 12 #342706 by hungryhungryhippos
Topic started by hungryhungryhippos
I have today come to the realisation that I was abused by my ex. Not in any physical way (much), but emotionally abused. The realisation came to me when I was reading something for a friend, and came across an article about it. I had been aware for a long time that things in the relationship were not right, but only now have I realised what was going on, nearly a year after we broke up.

Things progressed slowly and gently. We started our relationship and then we hit a rocky patch. She took issue with many of my friends who were either female, or part of the same friendship group as female friends. She gradually manipulated me into cutting them out of my life using things like not talking to me for days if I met up with those friends, threats to break up with me, accusations of me having an affair etc. All of this caused me to isolate myself from my friends and all the people close to me. It''s been many years now, and now that I see the behaviour that I was edged into, I can see that I acted foolishly, and I will always regret not having those people in my life now.

I found out that she had kissed someone else and we had a row and I stormed out. She took an overdose to guilt trip me into staying with her. Then we had another argument and she hit me. I stormed off and she took another overdose, so I was again guilt tripped into staying.

One day about 6 months in, she decided that she wanted a child, because her ex husband was having a child. I didn''t want to at that point and we argued about it. We weren''t even living together at that point so I went home to think things over, then she started acting really suspiciously. I asked her if she was pregnant and her answer was ''not any more.'' I was absolutely devastated because I never would have encouraged her to terminate, that''s just not who I am. Over the next few years, she convinced me that it was my fault, that I had effectively told her to terminate because I had said that I couldn''t afford a baby and it wouldn''t be right or fair to bring a child into the world under those circumstances. I am now strong enough to say that it wasn''t my choice. I did not make that choice. (It helps that I found out that she was lying and was never really pregnant.)

Not long after that she became pregnant for real. We kept that child (whom I love more than anything) but in large part I think that it was knowing that I could not go through the trauma of ''another'' termination that meant we never even discussed the idea.

Throughout the relationship I became so dependent on her for everything. She never tried to control my money, but she made certain that I knew how displeased she was if I ever tried to do anything with it. I got days and days of silent treatment. Illnesses that I''m certain were feigned etc.

I was the one doing all the house work (which I never did well enough for her satisfaction) and working full time. I''d come home from work, get my child ready for bed, cook food for us both and then go to bed. All this while she was working part time. I would get huffing and sighs if I ever asked for help that made it perfectly clear that I was putting her out.

Throughout it all she made it clear that if she were to leave me, she would take our child and move away and I couldn''t stop her. She made me believe that she was many points higher than me on the classic 1-10 scale, and that she could find another guy while I would just be left on my own.

I couldn''t ever have a fight with her. You can''t express anger with an emotional abuser. They twist all your words. Instead of me being angry that she won''t help me when I ask, she became angry that I was dragging her away from her important facebook conversation with her friends (who she only doesn''t see any more because I work such long hours and she can''t go out because of childcare). Suddenly I was made to feel guilty because I tried to get her to do the dishes. And it worked! I did feel guilty! There was never any kissing and making up, because it was always clear that I wasn''t forgiven.

I know that there has been a lot of damage to my mental health, my emotional health and my self esteem. I don''t know how to behave in a relationship any more, don''t know how to have an argument or to express myself. I struggle to take personal responsibility because for many years all I''ve seen is someone who lies whenever they aren''t getting what they want. I set myself up to fail at things and then lie about it afterwards.

I''ve allowed myself to be convinced that I am an introverted person who doesn''t make friends easily. Bull! I had dozens of friends before I met her, but although I know it consciously, I can''t shake that feeling subconsciously.

I''m convinced I''m not attractive, and I''ve allowed myself to become unattractive by not caring about my appearance, not watching my weight etc.

I struggle to commit to a job, and have become lazy. I have lost jobs because of looking after her through her feigned illnesses, been encouraged to leave jobs because ''they were making me unhappy'' etc. Apparently this is a trait of abusers. They don''t like their victims to go to work because it gives them independence from their abusers.

I have issues of trust, because my ex would punish me for my behaviour by having affairs, and then convince me it was my fault because I withdrew from the relationship or didn''t act like a model boyfriend. If I didn''t like it, I could move out, but she would keep our child, and move in with the new fling so that I was all on my own.

Abusers learn what works on each person, and then they spoon feed them a diet of that behaviour for years. Threats to take my child made me stay around, so that''s what I got.

OK, I guess I have to say it. I am a bloke, I was abused by my ex. Now how the hell do I get on with my life?

  • missguided
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12 Jul 12 #342709 by missguided
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Hi Hippo

Wow, what do i say?

Well i can start by saying i know EXACTLY how you feel.

I too went from being (almost ridiculously) confident, happy, lots of friends etc to having no confidence, no contact with any friends (even family to some extent).
Before i left i even got to the point of thinking i was a horrible, nasty grumpy person and that the person i became when out playing my sport (i put my foot down about continuing this even though he didnt approve) who was happy, smiling, laughing and often the centre of the joke was just me putting on an act for the hour.

So, what do you do......its not easy, but you pull yourself together, realise that your only fault in this was tolerating this abuse. You stand up, hold your head high and start believing in yourself. You get back in touch with those friends (if they are true friends they will understand - mine did).
You believe that it was her own insecurities and control that made you feel that way and actually you are nothing of the person she made you feel.

When i realised this i was able to get to grips with the fact that im not unacttractive, i am fun, i am intellegent (although some would argue...ha ha).
Once you do this you will be truely surprised at how your new thoughts will be backed up and confirmed.

Easier said than done, but you are free now, you just need to take off the handcuffs!

Good luck....you can do it
Miss x

  • Canuck425
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12 Jul 12 #342748 by Canuck425
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I have a few thoughts here.

I too think I was abused emotionally and I could tell you some CRAZY stories but won''t bother. In the past year I have more focused on me. What was it about me that tolerated this kind of behaviour? Why did I think that being treated like that was even close to ok? How much self respect did I lose for myself in all of this? By doing this I learn more about me which I think is really important.

I have also learned that confidence can be compartmentalized. By this I mean you can be very confident in most aspects of your life but not confident at all in others. This sounds simple but was a revelation for me. I am confident at work, with my family, friends, etc. In my relationship with my stbx - not confident at all.

Take care!

  • strongerthanithought
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12 Jul 12 #342752 by strongerthanithought
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I think your ex and mine are from the same mould.

I didn''t fully realise how bad things were until a very good friend risked our friendship by asking me to read a leaflet she''d got from Women''s Aid. I''m glad she took that risk, because I ''ticked'' so many of their boxes that everything finally clicked into place.

I then began to realise that it wasn''t my fault. None of it. He played the suicide threat, the taking the kids away threat, the guilt trips with an affair, the ''you''re always going to be alone/bitter/miserable/unloved'' threat.

3 years on I''m still not divorced - he''s still playing the ''being in control'' game (that I stopped playing ages ago).

But you know what? I''m on my own, I''m running my own home, I have the kids with me (he chooses not to see them- only twice this year), I have been to college and got 2 great vocational qualifications, I''m going to University part-time in Spetember. I''ve got my confidence back, my friends back, my family back, control of my own money, and I''m no longer fostering his excuse for himself being such a lousy human being.

And the icing on the cake? I''ve found a wonderful new man who is disproving every ''you''re always going to be alone/bitter/miserable/unloved'' threat.

I don''t know who you are, and I can appreciate the need to post under a pseudonym. People don''t seem to understand never mind recognise or acknowledge emotional abuse - I say to people ''If he''d hit me or broken my bones would you still question my reasons for leaving?'' But he broke my soul and destroyed my inner-self, leaving me feel so worthless and pointless that there were times I felt like I couldn''t go on.

Keep your chin up, you are NOT on your own


  • Marshy_
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12 Jul 12 #342757 by Marshy_
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hungryhungryhippos wrote:

OK, I guess I have to say it. I am a bloke, I was abused by my ex. Now how the hell do I get on with my life?

Good for you. You admitted it. It takes a lot of guts for a man to admit that he was abused. So well done. Obvoiusly, this bothers you and thats why you are here asking about it.

There are no hard and quick rules for recovering from abuse. And like matrimonial problems, can take a long time to recover from. But the upshot of any treatment or recovery is that you will never be treated like this again.

What you describe is typical of emotional abusers. They use something called "projection" that projects the way they are on to you. There was a good book written about this by ( Controlling people and the verbally abusive relationship by Pat Evens) and she suggests that a lot of controlling people had invisible friends as children.

I was also abused. Both mentally and physically mind. So I know what its like to try and recover from this problem. I am 6 years on now. I can say that what happened does not affect me now. But I have learned that I will never be affected by someone like this.

If I have one critism of you. And this applies to me as well is that we could have walked out at the early stages. For me when she hit me for the 1st time. I should have walked at that point. But mistakenly, I stayed. Becuase I thought, I am a man. I can take it and you are only a women. But I can tell you, that to be smacked in the face does hurt. And one time I was hit so hard on the side of my head that she knocked me off a chair. And yes, just like in the cartoons, I did see stars. So you are not alone.

Most of your recovery has to involve some self help. Perhaps books. But ultimately, counselling. I went for about 10 months for my second set of counselling and that was during 2008. I learned to forgive but not forget and learned that I wasnt to blame for what she did to me. I didnt make her have those affairs. Just like you didnt. And I also learned that there is no shame. No shame that a man was abused by a women and that its about 50/50. Many think that its mostly women that are abused by men. This is not true. Most men will not admit it.

Lastly. I know you may not accept this but you have had a very lucky escape. You have got away. But you could have been very easily been killed by your ex. She could have escalated the abuse higher and higher until one day she would have killed you. So take heart in that. You got away. C.

  • Now Gone From Wiki
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12 Jul 12 #342804 by Now Gone From Wiki
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It sounds like you were seriously abused. There is virtually nothing in what you say that makes it sound like it is a mild form of abuse.

Whilst women don''t often abuse men physically they certainly have the capability to abuse them mentally.

There is nothing wrong in being a man and being abused. The courage to admit it is the first step and the second is to not let it ruin the next relationship for you because if it does then your abuser will have won.

  • downland
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12 Jul 12 #342811 by downland
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Yes, another one who recognises much of your story, and still learning to recognise the full extent of the abuse I was put through. I remember reading an article online about emotional abuse and recognising my relationship and sitting with the tears running down my face.

But now you can have the friends you want who will support you and treat you with the worth you genuinely deserve in life.

As to trust, and other reltionships in the future, those will come but you have to give yourself time to recognise your self worth and your value to those around you. When you know again, what you really are, you have a true yardstick to start to judge others by.

Dont rush things, take your time and heal because your wounds are as real as physical ones.

Anyway, enough

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