Monday, 10 October 2011

Nine months.

I'm not going to write many more posts now, but I know that anyone who has gone to the trouble of reading the blog will want to know what's happened to me.

I can't believe that there was ever the possibility that I would have chosen to stay.  That I would have chosen to still be in that marriage.  That I would have honestly believed that I could be happier with him than without. 

It's only nine months since we separated.  I'm starting the divorce and everything is sorted out regarding money, the children, our lives.  We text about the kids, and very occasionally speak, we have no other contact.  And that's fine.  And I'm unbelievably ecstatically happy.  All the time.  I haven't been happier than this since before I met my husband.  At no point in our relationship was I as happy, as content, as optimistic and joyful as I am now.

And the other thing is that I have never yet met a woman who has gone through the painful decision and process of leaving her abusive partner and *not* been happier after she's left.  If that isn't food for thought, then I don't know what is.  You are practically guaranteed to be happier in every part of your life once you leave your husband.  All you need is the courage and support to get you through the grief and turmoil of the first few months and then you are home free for the rest of your life.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Wow wow wow!!! Over 6 months gone...

I have just read back through this blog and I can't believe how everything has changed!!  I haven't written for the last two and a half months but my life has transformed in that time.

I continued with my homeopathy, my therapist and also had some hypnotherapy over the last couple of months and I am like a different person.

My marriage is over, I am beyond happy about this.  It has allowed me to go forward, move on and become the person that has been suffocated for so many years.  I am the embodiment of happiness, contentment and joy right now.  My life is peaceful, exciting, fun and being lived on my terms.  I have nobody ruining my life any more!!  No constant anxiety or fear or worry or trying to figure out wtf to do.  It is absolutely marvellous!!

If only I could get every single woman in an abusive relationship to experience their own lives 6 or 12 months after leaving their partner...even for 1 day, I know they would find the strength to leave the men who are dead set on destroying their spark, their personality, the very essence of their being.

I am living happy with my children, I feel like I am free to be me for the first time since I met my husband as a teenager.  This has been an incredibly long and difficult road and I can only be thankful that it is now over (well, the worse of it, he is still my children's father) and I have my whole life of joy, happiness and freedom ahead of me.



Monday, 23 May 2011

Update - 4 month anniversary

It's just over 4 months since my husband and I separated.  I thought an update might be good.  I haven't blogged for about 3 weeks now, about this.

Mainly because it has felt like not much has changed, though I'm sure it has.  I'm still having my therapy sessions, which I have found uplifting and have an extremely positive impact on my life.  I've been practising relaxations and visualising my 'safe place' lately.

My husband is still going to his abuse course, though I have told him that I am no longer willing to discuss everything that they raise on the course.  In fact, nothing that they raise on the course.  He was using those discussions as a way to beat me with his opinions over and over again and he actually wasn't interested at all in hearing my point of view.  As I then felt like crap I decided that this was no longer going to be happening.

I'm just carrying on with life as usual.  I'm seeing friends, enjoying having me time, enjoying making my home more homely and doing things I couldn't do before.  I'm having fun.  I've also moved from acute fear, anxiety and grief into just general disappointment about my marriage.  I am just disappointed in him and everything that has happened.  Because I thought it would be different, so I guess it's natural to be disappointed.  Disappointed I can live with much easier than acute grief so I'm guessing this is steps forward!  :-D

I'm also starting to wonder if/how we will be able to form some kind of relationship so that we can parent the children.  Obviously we'll need to have discussions, we'll probably have disagreements and so on.  So how we will resolve them I don't know.  I don't want us to be like two different families, for the children.  It would be nice to be able to be 'grown up' about it - to get together and do things together sometimes, to discuss issues or problems as they arise.  Whether this is possible in the context of a formerly abusive relationship I just don't know.

When I think back to how I was feeling four months ago I am so relieved that the early days of the separation are over.  It's odd to be on an even keel so I sometimes feel deflated strangely.  I'm used to intense highs and lows and not much 'on the level' so it feels odd.  I'm getting used to it.

Mainly, I'm much happier and looking forward to a more positive future.

Monday, 2 May 2011

In a perfect world...

I'd shout, I'd scream, I'd cry.  Why have you done this to me?  Why are you doing this to us?  Did you never love me?  Have you never cared?  Did you do this stuff on purpose?  Have you set out to own me, to control me, to hurt me?  Do you love me?  Really?  I want to know!

And you'd look at me and see.  You'd say I'm so sorry.  I'm sorry for everything.  I love you so much.  I care so deeply.  I'm so sorry that I've hurt you so much.  I will do whatever it takes.  I will never do this again.  I'm sorry.

And you'd mean it.  And you'd never do that again.  And we'd be able to live Happily Ever After.

In a perfect world, none of this would have happened.  You'd have loved me, cherished me, cared deeply.

Unfortunately this is the real world and it's shit.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Email from A

No sooner do I post up my previous blog entry than I find the following email in my inbox:

I have been thinking since our last discussion constantly about us/me/you. I have been planning to write a lengthy email to try to put my points of view across, but with all the romance and festivities of today feel it not appropriate and that there is so much more to put ones energy into. I love you B and not one moment goes by without me knowing that we are in this position because of me.
Your 'dealbreakers' are things that I agree with, but i still do feel that you were not acting either appropriatly or as a reaction to me in respect to allowing me time away from the family/you. I think that there were many times when i overstepped the mark and should have respected you and your wishes. I feel that as time went on that yes you were reacting to my behaviour.
I dont want to dwell on the past. I want to look forward to a future where we are together.
You are so beautiful

Why can't he....

I'm going through another yearning/grief-y sort of phase again, unfortunately.  It's one up from feeling sad and miserable as per last week, but I can't wait for the next positive, cheery, happy phase to start!

I so wish that he would suddenly realise how wrong he's been, how much he loves me, what a nice and loving person I am, how he'd never again want to do anything to hurt me, that he wants nothing more than me and our family together.  I wish he could just realise that he's abusive and wrong and change it.

Why can't he just do that?  Is it really so much better and more satisfying to have this alternative?  Us not together, no family life, seeing the children less often etc?  Well, it must be because that is what he is choosing.

I'm not surprised.  He has told me he enjoys his freedom, having his own place, not having to 'answer to me'.  And, unfortunately I suppose, these things are actually worth more to him than I or our family are.  Maybe there is another woman on the scene - that would explain a lot of things.

Of course, none of this *should* matter to me.  For some reason, right now, it does.

Because unfortunately right now I can't help yearning for what I've never had but always hoped for.  A loving, respectful, joyful and lifelong relationship with A.  That's all I've ever wanted.  I've never had it, but I've worked bloody hard to try to make it happen.  I now realise, of course, that it won't ever happen.  He can't be those things because he is abusive.  I'm grieving the loss of something I've spent 15 years hoping for.  Nothing more tangible than that.

So, pulling myself up by my non-existent boot straps and trying to boost myself over this down and into the nearby up.  I know it's coming and I know it'll be great and will last a good few weeks.  I've booked a haircut tomorrow, I've decided to give myself some money to spend on clothes and shoes and books, and I'm going to go for coffee and to the cinema.  That should give me a lovely boost and hopefully I'll be super cheerful by tomorrow evening!

Monday, 25 April 2011

I thought...

You were the one
You loved me
You'd never cheat
We'd grow old together
We liked each other
You liked me
We were meant to be together
I'd laugh more than cry
My dreams might come true
Our children would have married parents
Our children would have a secure home
It would be different for us
We were it

What a fucking idiot I am

Unfortunately I sent this to my husband last night.  I was pre-menstrual and feeling very emotional and full of sadness and grief.  Even while I was feeling this I knew that it was totally hormone-related and that I should wait for it to pass.  But I couldn't stop myself, literally the hormonal feelings were overwhelming and I sent the first email in 3 weeks to him. 

Of course, I woke up this morning and am feeling back to normal but so cross with myself for opening up this line of communication.

He has already replied:
I hope you can still have those thoughts about me
I mean, this just baffles me.  After everything that's happened recently...?  Really?

I am trying to objectively observe my feelings and emotions now.  I am feeling back on an even keel and not full of sadness or grief like yesterday (thanks, hormones!) but I am having various feelings as a direct result of this email exchange.

Yes!  I can't believe this!  I am feeling the familiar stirrings of a tendril of hope.  Sometimes I despair of myself!  What on earth will it take to stamp this stupid hope out?  I have 15 years of experience to know that this hope is utterly in vain.  I was expecting him to respond along the lines of 'yes, I thought that too' but instead he responded as above and I start thinking ... 'maybe...'. 

I have been content and happy with no longer communicating about the relationship, us, the abuse etc etc.  But not communicating raises my anxiety levels slightly.  So, a tiny bit of me feels relieved to have started to communicate again.  I know that this (and 'hope') are a result of the process of traumatic bonding.  But it doesn't stop how real that it is.

So, in a bid to not be 'sucked in' I am taking to trying to just observe and then release these feelings rather than internalise or act upon them.  I am going to continue with 'no contact' and not reply to this email.

This is what Lundy Bancroft says on the topic of Traumatic Bonding:

"Almost no abuser is mean or frightening all the time. At least occasionally, he is loving, gentle, and humorous and perhaps even capable of compassion and empathy. This intermittent, and usually unpredictable, kindness is critical to forming traumatic attachments. When a person, male or female, has suffered harsh, painful treatment over an extended period of time, he or she naturally feels a flood of love and gratitude toward anyone who brings relief, like the surge of affection one might feel for the hand that offers a glass of water on a scorching day. But in situations of abuse, the rescuer and the tormentor are the very same person. When a man stops screaming at his partner and calling her a "useless piece of *(%@" and instead offers to take her on a vacation, the typical emotional response is to feel grateful to him. When he keeps her awake badgering her for sex in the middle of the night and then finally quiets down and allows her to get some of the sleep that she so desperately craves, she feels a soothing peace from the relief of being left alone.

Your abusive partner's cycles of moving in and out of periods of cruelty can cause you to feel very close to him during those times when he is finally kind and loving. You can end up feeling that the nightmare of his abusiveness is an experience the two of you have shared and are escaping from together, a dangerous illusion that trauma can cause. I commonly hear an abused woman say about her partner, 'He really knows me,' or 'No one understands me the way he does.' This may be true, but the reason he seems to undersand you well is that he has studied ways to manipulate your emotions and control your reactions. At times he may seem to grasp how badly he has hurt you, which can make you feel close to him, but it's another illusion; if he could really be empathetic about the pain he has caused, he would stop abusing you for good."

Friday, 22 April 2011

Notes from counselling session no.2

You’ve been doing well in thinking about “could haves” rather than “should haves”.  You know that you would never have deliberately chosen the crap option.  You said that it doesn’t feel like you and DD1 have a bad relationship – indeed, when we reframe that, it turns out that you and she have a positive relationship.  Which of course not only sounds a lot better, but is the truth!

Of course, we can always improve things, be they relationships or anything else, and you are going to continue to be more open to DD1, spending more time with her, now that you are no longer distracted by the difficulties with A.

Speaking of A, you’d only talked to him regarding the children in the previous week.  You’d been engaged in a long email argument, with him using Control and Manipulation Ploy 3.2, i.e. accusing you of being abusive.  So you have stopped communication.  Well done.   We thought it might be a good wheeze not to bother reading any more of his emails – what would be the point of putting yourself through any more unpleasantness?

It really doesn’t matter if he thinks he has “won” the email argument: you know that’s not the case, you know you have taken control, and he can think what he likes.  It doesn’t matter anymore, because you are no longer trying to influence how he thinks in order to save the relationship.

I know this may seem a difficult concept, to be secure in what you are thinking and not worry about what he may or may not feel.  This is his problem.  He will stay stuck in a bad place unless he decides to get out of it.  It doesn’t any longer need to affect you.

You know that, whatever you had done or said, it would never have been good enough.  Because of how A is.  Not because of any lack in you.

We spent some time talking about the possible physical risk, and I suggested that you contact your local Women’s Aid and the Police Community Safety Unit for advice.  You can get the front door sorted quickly and need some professional advice for the patio doors.  I suggested that you might get a new mobile which you can keep with you (bearing in mind that he can cut off your current mobile as it’s in his name).  If he did try to get in the house, remember to not mention that it is your estranged husband when you dial 999 – and, if needs be, you can run into the street shouting “fire” – that gets people’s attention.  And/or you could get a large, scary-looking (but obviously soft) dog!

You mentioned that you have the eternal optimist problem (which I share – although I think it is preferable to be optimistic and disappointed sometimes than pessimistic and occasionally pleasantly surprised!) but you are now moving away from thinking “I can make him understand” (which clearly is impossible) to thinking he’s (and I quote!) a tosser!

You’d been thinking about telling A that it’s all over, and we decided it would be better to wait until any potential new relationship has blossomed sufficiently.  Or, if there is indeed no relationship, it would still be better for you to wait until he’s got more used to you being apart.  You can draw a line under the past very effectively without him necessarily knowing that you have, particularly bearing in mind his potential aggression.

You are going to email the CORE evaluation to me, and I believe you are going to do a little work on the Culture Web if you have time. 

You told me that you were having two major flashbacks and I think we will deal with those next time, when we do some relaxation and guided imagery.  In the meantime, I asked you to practice constructing (a bit like one of the Sim games) a special place to go to in your mind, and you are going to send me a photo of the beach you have in mind.

Monday, 18 April 2011

A good week

I've had a great week.

It's around two weeks since I saw clearly that my husband hasn't and won't change to a level that I'm happy with and want to welcome back into my life.  And also, I decided that I've put my life and soul into this man for nearly fifteen years and I no longer want to do that in the hope that it will support him and he will change and become the loving, caring man that I hoped he would.  I know he'll never be that.  It will always be a struggle.  And I am no longer up for that struggle.

Since then I've been feeling so positive.  So happy and content.  I know that this is the right path for everybody involved, including all of my children.  Growing up in an environment that is joyous, fun, happy and relaxing as opposed to tense and anticipatory - that is what will give my children the best start possible!

I have been attending some work-related workshops, which have been a lot of fun and very creative.  I've been so enjoying my autonomy.  Unless you've ever lost your autonomy, you won't know the magnificence of it!  I am reveling in it right now :-D

Last night I had a dream about my husband that involved a large and dangerous looking climb with only a thin cushion in case you fell.  People around were convincing me that I'd be OK and should make the climb, but I stood firm and said no because it was dangerous and I might die.  I really felt that this represented my relationship.  I know what is the best for me and my children (people were convincing me to take my kids on the climb, that they'd be fine and I should stop being silly as it wasn't dangerous).

Then I woke up and my fingers were swollen and really hurting, and I had to get my wedding rings off.  They were swollen so it was difficult to get them off, but finally I managed it (with sore knuckles!) and then my fingers went back to there normal size.  This has never happened before so I was surprised, but now the wedding rings are off, I'm actually intending them to stay off because it feels right.

So, great leaps and bounds forward for me.  My husband left three months ago tomorrow.  The last three months have been absolutely tumultuous.  The mix of emotions and ups and downs I have been through have been extreme and difficult at many times.  But, my god, it's been worth it and I am so thankful that this happened and I've had the strength to see it through!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My art

As part of my counselling session last week my counsellor asked me to complete two pictures.  One to illustrate my emotions now:

and my emotions as I want them to be after the counselling:

The first one represents the 'light at the end of the tunnel' and the swirling emotions that are going on most of the time.

The second one is showing how I hope that life will be mainly peaceful, light and happy but obviously still some emotions here and there.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

First therapy session

This was on Wednesday and was totally positive and altogether brilliant.  I like the therapist a lot, she is completely human, encouraging, empathetic and talks almost as much as I do!  It was practical which is the kind of therapy I find useful, rather than the talking-endlessly-and-raking-over-the-past therapy which leaves me wishing I had never started.

The therapist has a lot of experience with domestic violence, and knew her stuff about emotional abuse which was a real relief!

Anyway, she has written up and sent me the notes, so there is no need for me to repeat everything.

It was a pleasure to talk with you on the 6th and I am sure we can work effectively and speedily together to achieve your aims. 
I forgot to ask if you would mind completing an evaluation sheet and I am attaching it now, if you could manage to think back to how you were feeling the week before we spoke and then you can give me your scores next time.  
I would like to begin by commending you on your determination and courage in pursuing the Open University degree despite your husband’s disapproval.  And of course, it almost goes without saying, your strength and bravery in separating from A.   
It seems that he may be genuine about changing, although you are not really kept up-to-date by the support worker, and you do have some suspicions that he was angling to leave for several weeks prior to you asking him to, for some unknown reason. 
It is unfortunate to say the least that your childhood pattern of being abused and criticised was reinforced by A’s behaviour.  And you have done extremely well in keeping and nurturing a kernel of self-belief and self-worth, despite your childhood and the almost constant drip-drip of A’s criticism and disapproval. 
Of course, this old pattern will have bolstered your self-criticism and it was clear that you have been very hard on yourself.  Let’s take *eldest daughter*, who herself said you are a great Mum.  You absolutely did your best with the skills/knowledge that you had and under the circumstances (becoming and then being a victim of marital abuse) in which you inadvertently found yourself.  Not to mention that A proved to be quite a good father to her until his “own” children were born, when he seems to have gone slightly peculiar, to say the least!  There is absolutely no evidence that *eldest daughter* has been damaged, which goes to your own parenting, as well as the relationship she has with her Dad – for which you must also take some credit for nurturing.  So, this may be the time to start to put away that old myth. 
It is clear that you are highly motivated with all your children. 
I would like to remind you that “repeat victim syndrome” is an explanation of the past, not a foretelling of the future.  You have made significant changes and I see absolutely no reason to imagine that you have not broken already out of that syndrome. 
I am attaching a copy of Mind Your Language which will remind you of some of “the rules”, e.g. no tries, no should or should haves, as well as the Culture Web of which you may find it helpful to complete some of the sections.  (a Mind Mapping exercise)
I also asked you to draw a couple of sketches – how you feel now and how you will feel when we have dealt with the issues. 
In our next session, or possibly the subsequent one, depending on how we go, we will get rid of the flashbacks you have had to the childhood abuse, so that they don’t bother you anymore.
So, I have some homework to do before the second session this week.  

Since the last email exchange with dh, I have cut off communication beyond anything about the children.  He was almost successful in distracting me off the issue of his abuse by talking about the so-called abuse I inflicted on him during our relationship.  I am too easily led down these ridiculous paths, so I'm just putting a halt to that.

I have to say that I've spent almost a week now absolutely certain that we are not going to get back together - that I don't want to.  I can't think of him without thinking what an arsehole he has been, and by all accounts still is!  Long may it continue.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

How I was emotionally abusive to him.

Continuing on from the emails in the previous post, my husband today replied with his information about how I was emotionally abusive to him during our 15 year relationship:

I dont think i will be telling you anything i havent said before but the things i am having difficulty in distinguishing between abuse and whatever you want to call it are:

15 yrs of being made to feel guilty if i have gone out. When i gave the example of playing football I was trying to justify for you why you should have acted so negatively about me just playing football. I can understand with the P (ex -girlfriend that he still took out when we were living together) thing why you would feel anxious about me doing anything with R (P's brother), but apart from that i can only  think of 1 thing i have done to make you 'react' in an abusive way (regarding me socialising). The other is maintaining a friendship with E (a female friend that was in love with him)  for longer than i should, from my point of view I really liked her as a friend and thought that if i broke up our friendship because i had a girlfriend it would belittle the friendship we had and suggest there was more than friendship, from her side there was and you helped me see that it was therefor inappropriate to continue a friendship with her. I dont think you have reacted or been abusive regarding this though.

Right from the beginning of our relationship you didnt like to be left at home, not that we never went out together but yes sometimes once or twice a week i would go to pub with R (his best friend) and get drunk. I dont think it was as infrequent as i would like to remember, neither was it as frequent as you would. But it was normal for a 19 - 30 yr old to do. Should i have been more understanding that you sometimes couldnt go out because of A (my eldest daughter from a previous marriage)? If I had been every other night out on the town then yes, but the frequency i was going out no, not at all. Yes when we had E  then F (two of our children) there probably were times that I should have not gone out, so when you reacted to this i put it down to your nature of wanting to control my limited social life.
This did not suddenly just stop, over the years we have both matured and that sort of thing isnt as much of an issue, R (his best friend) wedding year was pretty heavy granted.

Last year when I went to 3 peaks my phone ran out of battery and you replied to the pictures i sent you from B's phone, You sent a message brimming with support and love, B read it out to everyone on the coach and it was really nice to hear such words of love that contrasted with everything else that you had sent to my phone and conversations we had had up until a few hours before that generally revolving around 'i dont know why you had to go up the day before/ this is just another excuse for a piss up/how much money have you spent blah blah blah. Being the abusive cynic i am i assume you wanted to portray some kind of loving and supportive wife wishing your husband well. maybe you just meant it as a joke, whatever motivated you to write that stuff it was really nice and would have been nicer if the only bit of moral support you sent was when other people werent watching. Why am i banging on about this and remebering such a small and insignificant detail that as usual i am sure you have forgot because you dont hang on to things like i do. Because i think it shows you know you behave inappropriatly but in front of people like to give a different more positive image. Is it reaction to how i am with you? i dont think so, it reminds me of someone who can scold someone then turn on a sugary smile for all to see, i wonder where i'm getting that reference from.
(reference to my mum)

So in general ,years of ongoing critisism of me going out, not a few isolated occassions but constantly and gradually subsiding as the years have gone on.

We have discussed this already many times and i asume your stance is still that I should have only gone out the number of times in a year that you find acceptable. This wasnt something that grew into a bigger problem as my abusiveness became more prevaillant but started right from the beginning. From when i went to that rave, we just remember from our own perspective. Looking back now i dont see why I should have gone with you, I never asked you to go, you hated the music, you hated the scene, i didnt want you there and assumed you would not want to be there. You had your own assumptions that i think were if A goes out then I go out with him.

I know it is futile and you see me as raking up the past, but when you tell me that you were not being at best clingy and at worst controlling, but reacting to my abusiveness, I do not think that that part was abusive, and it did affect our relationship right from the start for years and years.

Another part i hate thinking about is that i feel you bullied me into having kids. I dont think you can ever be ready to have a family, but you can be ready to want one. I wanted to wait. J (relate) counsellor brushed this aside when I brought it up, I will talk in [abuse programme] about it. I love my children with all my heart and i dont like to bring it up but i feel you bulldozed your agenda, and it was such a big thing.

Disagreements on jobs/where to live/ houses/ how to spend money/decorating/ raising kids etc etc.

When you said you feel you had contributed about 50/50 to our problems in the relationship I did get the wrong end of the stick. The things you have listed with the exception of money have been i think fairly healthy debates where you have had a point of view and we possibly argued and we have ended up doing what you suggested in the first place, and with hind sight your plans/objectives have served us well on those things and they were good decisions. 

I thought you may have been admitting to bringing some kind of negative feelings ( generally associated with abuse) like jealousy, control, blaming etc. All you have referenced are things that good and positive decisions have come out of. So the only things you feel you have contributed 50/50 on are positive things. You do not feel you have done anything detrimental in our relationship for the whole 15+ years except in reaction to me. Maybe you could clarify what you are thinking of when you say you have done 'stupid' and 'idiotic' things, or were you just saying that but not meaning anything at all?

This email irritated me so much, for so many reasons.  My reply:

Ok.  I have taken all the bumph out of my list and whittled it down to bullet points (as you know).  Then I've printed it out and kept it so I can remind myself of the abusive incidents and everything.  Maybe you'll find it helpful to do the same?
  • 15 yrs of being made to feel guilty if i have gone out.
  • you bullied me into having kids
I've read through a couple of times but I think that's the whole list?
Yes, I know I'm being flippant/sarcastic but the whole self-righteous tone of your email just brings it out.  When you compare how abusive you have been to these two points I don't know how you've got the front to harp on about this stuff.  I really don't.
I will say again.  In a relationship where I received snarky remarks and constant disapproval for doing *anything* that wasn't cleaning/cooking/with the kids (reading blogs, being online, reading a book etc) then in my opinion, it would be a natural reaction for *most* people to then be resentful when that same person goes off regularly (every 2-3 months would have been extremely frequent compared to how often I did) overnight or for longer. 
We 'remember that differently' re: you going off and leaving me.  I'm sure I said something like that I didn't have anywhere to go and maybe I could come along to see what kind of thing you like to go to, and you said 'whatever but you won't like it' kind of thing.  I reassured that I would.  I got ready, you told me the car was full and left.  So no, you didn't invite me and maybe I shouldn't have 'invited myself'?  Maybe I didn't trust you because you had sworn you weren't doing drugs any longer (which I insisted due to us moving in together with Alyssa), maybe that's why you didn't want me to come - as you said a couple of emails ago 'I didn't want you to see me off my face'.  So you obviously still were.
Again, with the four peaks.  I did ask you how come a 24 hour walk was turning into a 3-4 day jolly.  This was not me being unsupportive and not wanting you to go out anywhere as you say.  It was due to the fact that last year you were away for about 2 weeks altogether (not including the 4 peaks) without your family while we went nowhere.  So, I did think you had some front and not a lot of sensitivity to be then choosing to go off for another jolly, and yes that irritated me.  Again, most people would probably think that I reacted quite normally.  But my memory was that during the whole time you were away (while you had your phone battery on) I was supportive.  I was supportive before too and I was proud of you afterwards and think I showed it.  But it is again, the context of my reactions.  In the context of the times you went away last year and my total lack of freedom to do anything - it was actually probably quite restrained.  So, if you think I'm taking this 'you were totally unsupportive and then only nice in public' thing to heart you can think again.  Stop playing the Victim.
As far as forcing you to have kids.. I don't know what to say about that.  Yes, I did put a lot of pressure on you about this and I shouldn't have done that.  I think I've apologised in the past about that and can say 100% that I will never do that again.  Like you say, it's difficult to discuss because we both love our kids and are happy to have them.
I have to laugh when you imply that I bulldoze you into doing everything that I want.  I believe that is a totally unrealistic portrayal of our life together.  Totally.  There have been a few things that have been really important to me that I've not allowed you to bulldoze me on (specifically certain things to do with the kids, home ed, moving here to K). 
You ask what are the stupid and idiotic things that I was referring to and probably the only one is in the list at the top.  I shouldn't have been so insistent about having children and 'bulldozed' you as you say.
As far as my attitude to you going out, well - that was created in my opinion by the way you have treated me.
And so where does that leave the idea that I'm emotionally abusive?  All I see here are distractions away from the main issue (your abusiveness), trying to shift as much blame as possible from you to me, and attempts to justify your behaviour.  
I got a reply to my email pretty quickly and it was at this point that I decided to pull the plug on this ridiculous exchange that was certainly not good for my mental health or anything, really for that matter.  I know already that I can never present information or argument that would every change his mind, no matter what it is, so I may as well stand and bash my head against a brick wall than sit down and expend time and energy on this sort of exchange.  He doesn't want to, and never will, ever concede my point of view.

Your sarcastic comments you start with? would you find it more validating if i gave you more than 2 things i am not happy with? I dont see this as a contest of who can score more points against the other. I realise that the whole part of this discussion is sidetracking from looking at me as an abuser so have looked at things that I find particularly important to me, if that means there are only 2 points then that is that! Since looking at abuse as the problem I fairly quickly came to agree that yes i have been abusive on many different levels, I dont think you are an abusive person but i do think that the 2 points i have raised use abusive techniques.
Why are you not listening to what i am saying, is it because I then wouldnt fit into your pigeonholed profiling. I can understand over time how you would have started reacting to me being abusive which is why i am looking far back to the start when you were even more controlling, considering as time has gone on we have had kids and more responsiblities your controlling nature has mellowed rather than gotten worse.
You have any right to tell me how to live my life or spend my time, in any way
It would be totally hypocritical to treat me as you have over the years as well as expecting the above,  now you have become less controlling to non-existant and think you have always been like that? or that anything you have done is in reaction to me despite you being like that from the very start. you have the gaul to call me self righteous.
Your recollection of what happened when i went clubbing is wrong. It was about 2 weeks in to our relationship, you were still living at <ex-husband's>, at that time you made no demands regarding drugs. AS (friend) and her bloke were going into london and you had assumed we could both go with them or both go to a rave. I just wanted to go without you raving (sad i know) but its what i wanted. We discussed what to do, you tried to make me feel bad by saying stuff like 'when people are together they go clubbing together, thats what 'normal' couples do' and that 'i wouldnt like it if you wanted to go clubbing without me' and you were right i wouldnt have liked it, but that would have been my abusive side trying to stop you doing stuff. You will probably say i am harping on again, my main point is that this was 2 weeks into our relationship, very early, I would be open to the suggestion that you were 'reacting' to something I did, but you were speaking from your own beliefs, it happened to soon in our relationship for it to be reaction to me.
4 peaks stuff - while i was away we spoke and texted, you were frosty to the point of just pissed off with me, i accept it probably was partly in reaction to me. But the text to Bs phone was so contrasting that when i got my phone working I showed him the conversations we had been having, it made your nicey nicey one just laughable. If you dont want to look at why you would be like that then fine. Yes you emailed round to help get money and wished me well, but the text to Bs phone was from another person. If i am playing the victim so what if you cant look at yourself.
You misunderstand bulldozing, i was only talking about having kids.
Moving to <present house>? as soon as i saw the house i was signing on the dotted line. My only point was that it would drive us further into debt, which it did.
So just to confirm your 50/50  negative part you had in our entire 15yr plus relationship was bulldozing your wish to have kids? And that is it. I need to know for when i discuss in <abuser program>

<sigh> why do I let myself be drawn in?  Total waste of time and energy.  No longer - I will be strong!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

My views and what I won't accept - email discussion

In response to an email/ text exchange last week I finally composed a reply and sent it to my husband.  I have had a very busy week, with family birthdays and a bereavement that means I haven't been able to reply until today.

This is what I wrote to him:

I don't think this discussion was really resolved.  I'm not sure it can be right now.  I want to talk a bit about some thoughts that arose out of this discussion (by email and text). 
The first thing, I mentioned to you on Friday.  Do you honestly believe that I have been "emotionally abusive for the majority of our relationship"?  Is this what you really think?   
Secondly, I don't want to be involved in dissecting the minutiae of our distant past relationship.  I can understand that this may be an important part of the process for you, but for me it isn't helpful at all - in fact it is detrimental.  I can only think that when you need to discuss things like this that you do it at your group and see if they can help you dissect and analyse your motives/feelings/actions back then (or mine).   
I am comfortable (at the moment) discussing things that arise from the group that you want to talk over in relation to our relationship now or going forward... ways of thinking you are not sure about or opinions you hold or values you hold and how I feel about them, all that stuff.  But I am choosing not to go over and over things that happened a long time ago.  You can still do that, but not with me.  I'm sorry if that makes anything difficult for you, but I have to do it. 
I will tell you this now - I was not emotionally abusive.  I might have done some idiotic, stupid things in the past but I am not an abusive person and I don't hold abusive values or attitudes.  This is a deal breaker for me.  I will not accept you telling me that I am or was.  If you believe this, and this belief can not change then that is something that will put an end to our relationship.   
In fact, it may help to know a few things that are deal breakers.  If any of these things continue to be part of your opinion and values then I am not going to continue the relationship.  If you continue to believe that:
  • I am an abusive person.
  • I am any of the things you have characterised me as: selfish, lazy, condescending, self centred, unfaithful
  • You have any right to tell me how to live my life or spend my time, in any way
I think those are the main things that I won't live with any longer.  I don't know if you want or have or can change your views on these things.  I'm sure more might come up and if so I will let you know.
Edited to add my husband's response:

Pre-therapy email to my new counsellor

She asked me to email her with information about what I am wanting to achieve through counselling, what I am going to counselling for.  I'd already emailed her some background information.  I struggled to figure this out, but had to email something so this is what I wrote:

The situation at the moment is that my husband and I have been separated for about two-and-a-half months.  We would have been together for fifteen years this year.  I would say that we are separated at the moment, but that no definite decision has been made (by me) about whether or not our relationship will continue.  I am waiting to see how things go on his abuser programme, and in the mean time I am trying to get on with my life.  I suppose this puts me slightly in limbo, in that it's not definitely finished or continuing, but as far as I can see this is for the best at the moment - for me. 
I feel like I've been through the shock and grief and sorrow during the first couple of months.  I honestly didn't know what was going on in our relationship - I knew we had major issues and problems that we could never get over, no matter what I did, but realising that *the* major issue was that my husband's behaviour was abusive was a big shock.  I felt a lot of anger, mixed in with pure sorrow and grief.  It might sound ridiculous that I wouldn't have known - especially considering there were 3 incidents of physical/sexual violence, but the vast majority of it was emotional abuse which was much more difficult to identify.   
So, I've been trying to unravel the truth I suppose.  One of the major problems was my husband's insistence that I was a person that I just didn't recognise as myself.  He said I was lazy, selfish, sarcastic, condescending etc and that I had some kind of 'warped' idea of myself as some kind of angel.  Obviously I just knew that what he said wasn't true.  Nobody else said those things and I have quite a lot of friends and acquaintances.  He said that they didn't live with me so didn't know the truth.  Combined with all the other crazy making stuff - him minimising things I felt, denying things he'd said or done, telling me I was misunderstanding things, re-defining my emotions and intentions into negative ones etc etc.  I was, during the last few years, struggling to understand whether my perceptions were just plain wrong.  I wondered how other people viewed me, because I obviously had such an incorrect picture of the kind of person that I was.   
However, through all this, there was a small part of me that just knew the truth and couldn't be persuaded.  He had even resorted to telling me that I hadn't 'gotten over' my childhood (pretty crap) and I just didn't know it.  That my childhood *was* what the problem was in our relationship.  That it had given me no idea of what a healthy relationship was.  He was telling me all the time that I was still effected by all this stuff and twisted around things I'd said to illustrate this fact.  I started to doubt myself and wonder if I just was majorly in denial and unable to recognise all these faults and issues in myself.  I almost had a breakdown about a year ago due to this.  I managed to pull myself back.  Obviously childhood issues can impact hugely, but I've talked and thought a lot about everything that happened during my childhood and I feel actually OK about it.  I can't change it and I don't feel like it's a big part of my life now - I have talked endlessly with my sister about everything and just feel OK.  I don't know how else to describe it, really.  I now believe this was another way my husband was trying to undermine my self-perception and ultimately blame me for everything wrong in our marriage. 
I suppose one thing stops me from just ending the relationship completely.  That is that my husband (and two of our children) have Asperger's Syndrome.  I know from experience how rigid this makes his thinking and how incredibly difficult it is for him to process new information and change his mind about something he has decided.  I know that his father was emotionally abusive, and his mother (with Asperger traits too) decided that some things (money, security) were more important than others (love, fidelity, honesty).  I honestly think that growing up with Asperger's Syndrome in this household that he became hard-wired to believe that this was a healthy and normal relationship.  I suppose in a way I can't blame him for his behaviour as much as I would someone without Asperger's?  Maybe that's a ridiculous thing to think... I don't know. 
Obviously I have to draw the line somewhere, and if it ends up that he just can't change his core values and attitudes then that will be the end because I don't want to repeat the same mistakes with our children. 
So, goals for counselling.  I suppose I want to get to a point where I believe my own perceptions, where I trust myself.  There is a small part of me that does, but a larger part that seeks approval and confirmation from those around me.  I was never like that before I was with my husband, and I want to get back to being the person I really am.  The confident, laid-back, fun person - yes, maybe with heaps of issues, but generally OK and happy.  I've lost that along the way.  I've become serious, anxious and doubtful.  My children don't know the real me really, because it's been covered for so long and that makes me feel incredibly sad. 
I would also like to be confident in my ability to be on my own, and to be able to provide for myself and my family and not to worry so much about that. 
I'm sure there are lots of other things, and apologies if I have rambled on for ages and not said much that is what you wanted or can be used! 
I look forward to talking to you tomorrow

Thursday, 31 March 2011


If you are able to follow the blog, you will see that we've had some hot dialogue since the weekend.  The dialogue continued last night by text:
DH:  I don't know what I think or what to say, from your message it is clear we dcisagree with things that happened in the past, when I see you I don't care about it, when I think of us together as a family it seems futile and petty to bring up the distant past.  But as the other night proved sometimes I can't let it go.
ME:  I may well not be remembering it as it happened - I just can't remember, it's so long ago and so insignificant for me.  I can only comment on those things i can drag from my memory..but just think how does this stuff matter?  I just don't get it... Maybe it would help to think about why you want to bring this up and what exactly you WANT me to say - I presume there is something?  Agree with you?  Apologise for being insanely jealous in the past just like you?  Tell you I am just as much to blame for everything as you?  Just what do you want from this discussion?  I can only presume it is the blame game again?
DH:  Each individual thing may seem insignificant but all put together they make the abusive stuff a chronic problem (I am baffled by this statement) so when we don't agree on what happened I find difficulty in addressing my abusive behaviour because I don't want to apologise for things I don't see as my wrong behaviour, when I see it that it was you in the wrong sometimes.
I have been asking myself the same question all day.  I thought I would be happy knowing that you felt some of our problems were your responsibility.  You have done that so am I now changing the goalposts?  I suppose so.  It was fine until Sunday.  I think I feel you have only got the right to challenge me on certain aspects as I believe for the  majority of our relationship you have used emotional abuse against me, but as Lundy says I can't challenge you on that as I am the main perpetrator.  So I feel if you don't look at your side then you cannot judge me about mine.  I know this is probably text book abuser mentality, I am not saying it to start another row, I am being truthful to how I feel.
I am, once again (tiresomely), astonished.  I can't believe that he thinks I have been emotionally abusive for the 'majority of our relationship'.  I didn't know that he believed this.  It's so wrong, but yet so expected that it makes me feel a mixture of pity and sorrow. 

Basically, any normal reactions that were objecting to his poor behaviour he cites as 'abusive' because I was trying to stop him doing what he wanted.  Anything I did to challenge his abuse is also considered abusive.  I am going to ask him for a list of my abusive traits and incidents to see exactly what is going on in his mind!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

What was on his mind..

So, we had the disastrously depressing 'date' night on Sunday that did not end well.  Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, first thing I received the following email:

I feel a bit dissappointed about last night, i was really looking forward to it and treating it like a date. I think that it was a mistake on mybehalf to expect a light hearted chat with some amiable comments on our relationship and how things are going. On a positive note i would rather flush out all my abusive thoughts now and so having disagreements/discussions i hope will prove constructive in the long run.
I felt my 'hackles' (is that the word) raise when you said that you feel i would rather have a doormat wife. I understand how through my abusiveness it is a logical conclusion to think that, but i find it very difficult to label myself like that. I would say that in any relationship abusive/ non abusive /personal/lbusiness etc that each party would like the other to agree with them, so looking at our relationship where i have been abusive and it is personal i cannot think of any discussion/argument that we have had where I would feel happy with you just 'rolling over' to let me get 'my way'. The closest i can think of was going to Cuba.
I think i misunderstood your intentions for saying it at first by pointing out that you have had 'your way' through a lot of our lives as you have been very instrumental in what we do.But taking what i think you meant which was simply 'i would prefer you to be a doormat' then no not at all, any time that i have said 'why wont you just obey me' i am sure would have been said in jest and you will have probably echoed my sentiments (in jest......possibly).
I feel I would like to either convince you of my point of view or visa versa eg. home ed. I dont really have much self pride and would always prefer to be convinced or proved wrong than you just go along with whatever i say.
I dont know if you still think that about me, it would slightly bother me if you did but I understand I have given you good reason to come to that conclusion so it hopefuuly wont be a big problem.
this may be a problem:
After that i couldnt really think straight so the next part you actually may not have said anything or you may have and it may have been intentional or not and you may agree with it whether you said it or didnt;
before i start i want to say that i realise this is coming from a blame/accept responsibilty perspective and to clarify how i see myself:
My abusive behaviour is 100% mine.
You have done nothing to cause it
I display abusive behaviour without any incitement by you as well as
Reacting in an abusive way as a way of dealing with everyday problems/differences
I still feel i need to put some blame on you for negative parts in our relationship. A while ago you sent an email or text in which i understood that you felt that you do have some culpabilty for bad parts of our relationship but that my abusiveness has far outweighed and so you are not willing to look at your previous responsiblities. I can accept and deal with this because though i see my abusiveness as my problem that i impose on you, you do admit that our relationship had other negativities that you brought to it. In short I am not 100% to blame for our problems but 100% to blame for my abusiveness.
I would like to know how you feel about this.
when I was talking about jealousy you said you didnt understand how I could be like that. and when i said you have acted out of jealousy in the past (distant i know) you justified it because of our circumstances. I know that my depths of jealousy are a lot deeper and still current but i felt you were being slightly aloof. to analogise: you were the older alcoholic who has been on the wagon for 10 yrs telling the drunk 'i dont understand what your problem is'.
i cant think anymore
It felt like a spiralling down.  :-(  Yet again, back to square one - will anything ever change?  I felt so despondant and had to do a day out with the children (pre-booked and paid for) which did not go well as I felt so stressed about everything. 

Last night I sent the following reply:

Well I didn't really want to reply, but here I am replying.  If there is even any point.

I felt really down and deflated and disappointed after the other night.  To be honest I don't feel like I want to do that again.  I don't know when I will feel like doing that again.  I suppose I had idiotically built up to thinking things might be nice and believing the hype about how much you'd changed and were viewing everything differently.  Stupid.  I knew that it was all going to be pretty surface-level but I suppose extreme gullibility and stupid levels of optimism have always been weaknesses of mine.

I just think... god, I can't say anything without it needing to be analysed to death.  This isn't really conducive to me wanting to communicate on a personal level - do you know what I mean?  

As far as doormat - yes, this is what I have deduced based on your actions.  I guess I couldn't figure out what would make you happy because I never seem/seemed to be able to, and all the evidence pointed to this.  I don't really want to go looking at everything that has happened to make me think this.  I just want to do a giant sigh at this point.

Yes, you being abusive is 100% your fault.  Any other problems that we would have been able to get over probably relatively easily are probably 50/50 but your abusiveness have actually made them into giant problems that are impossible to get over.

Re: jealousy.  Again... there is 'appropriate jealousy' and 'inappropriate jealousy'.  A lot of things you have attributed to me being jealous and unreasonable are actually nonsense and I was acting normally.  I have been confused over them for a while - i.e. me being jealous of you going out.  Well, I was puzzled about that.  Actually what made you come to that conclusion was the fact that I used to (errr... 10 years ago +??!!!) react negatively to you going out.  Now, when I think about it I know that it was reasonable to feel like that based on the facts that:
  1. You used to 'pop out for a drink' and then 5 hours later I'd get a call to say you weren't coming home.  This was horrible for me.  Any normal person would find this not a good way to conduct a relationship.
  2. When I couldn't afford to go out you still would *on a regular basis* AND be irate with me for having a problem with this.  At best, this was totally insensitive behaviour and again, most normal people wouldn't find this ongoing an acceptable way to behave.  I even remember getting ready with you to go clubbing and then when your friend drew up in the car you shouted that there wasn't enough room for me and off you went without me!!!  That is just total arsehole behaviour!  Do you really wonder why I used to be upset with you?  
Other times I probably was jealous over stuff that I shouldn't have been and it's another one of those things that I used to do in the stupidity of youth and that I've grown out of.  Yes, it was horrible to go through and I was probably unreasonable and nasty to you over stuff that was irrelevent.  If we'd both gone through that 'natural' phase of youth and then grown out of it then we'd not have these issues - I don't know.  But based on the fact that I haven't really experienced this unreasonable and unacceptable jealousy levels for so many years it really isn't appropriate.  

I do find it unfathomable like I said before, that after everything we have been through you are still acting like that towards me.  I can't understand it.  I can only presume that nobody ever would be able to ever prove to you that they are trustworthy.  I can't really say that I know how that feels, because every time I've been in a relationship and fallen in love and come to trust someone then that jealousy hasn't been there.  

You say you have little-to-no self pride.  I suppose that's part of the low self esteem thing.  I don't know if that's linked to the jealousy.  I have no idea what is psychologically going on with all that.  I do know that I can't help you with this, because I have been (I think) trustworthy, loving, tried to be supportive etc and it's not enough.  I don't think it's made any difference, which is sad.

I'm so exhausted of trawling through every minute of our past history (every minute that might somehow shift some blame from you to me, that is)..... when will this end????  When will it be enough?  

I feel so down about the last few days.  I know it's because I was too optimistic.  But still, I feel really down.
He has texted today to say that he feels down to, and feels negatively about my reply.  I don't know or want to guess what he was hoping to hear. 

I'm just left thinking why am I even contemplating the continuation of this relationship?  What is the point?  This kind of to-ing and fro-ing is going to continue for at least another year if not more.  So, I feel like I have two options:
  1. I continue as I am, wait-and-see.  Hopefully the programme and work he is doing will enable him to change his abusive attitudes and values.  If not, then in a year or two I have to go through the stress of separating totally.  So, basically 2-3 years of uncertainty, emotional overload and grief for the possibility of a 'happy ending'.
  2. I decide to end the relationship fully now.  Then in a year's time I will probably be fully recovered and the uncertainty/fear/grief will be over pretty much - or minimal.
This is the choice I face.  What I have been doing is choosing option 1.  What will probably happen now is that I won't be able to decide and therefore, by default, I will be choosing option 1 still.

Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me?  Why can't I just move on and get over it?  What is it I am clinging on to?  The relationship has *never* been amazing or supportive or fulfilling - so why am I so reluctant to let it go?  I guess these are things I'll be contemplating over the next few days/weeks.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Feeling miserable

There are a few competing emotions going on with me right now:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Sadness
  3. Loneliness
  4. Anger
  5. Sorrow
  6. Confusion
Unfortunately the result of this is that I'm feeling very edgy.  I feel like I need a break from every day life and the continual mentally-exhausting cycle that I'm in thinking about my relationship, my future, my kids, my life, money etc etc.  I just need a rest.

Where are all these people I thought would be here for me?  Friends... family?  Where are they? Not here.  This means I'm trying to cope with these emotions alone for the vast majority of the time.  I'm not sure whether that is good or bad for getting through this.

How to tell if he is REALLY changing

Quote from The Book (Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft):

Steps to Change

  1. Admit fully to his history of psychological, sexual, and physical abusiveness toward any current or past partners whom he has abused.  Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened.  He can't change if he is continuing to cover up, to others or to himself, important parts of what he has done.
  2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally.  He needs to identify the justifications he has tended to use, including the various ways that he may have blamed you, and to talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable without slipping back into defending them.
  3. Acknowledge that his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control.  For example, he needs to recognize that there is a moment during each incident at which he gives himself permission to become abusive and that he chooses how far to let himself go.
  4. Recognize the effects his abuse has had on you and on your children, and show empathy for those.  He needs to talk in detail about the short- and long-term impact that the abuse has had, including fear, loss of trust, anger, and loss of freedom and other rights.  And he needs to do this without reverting to feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.
  5. Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes.  He needs to speak in detail about the day-to-day tactics of abuse he has used.  Equally important, he must be able to identify his underlying beliefs and values that have driven those behaviors, such as considering himself entitled to constant attention, looking down on you as inferior, or believing that men aren't responsible for their actions if "provoked" by a partner.
  6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he is stopping.  You can look for examples such as improving how well he listens to you during conflicts and at other times, carrying his weight of household responsibilities and child care, and supporting your independence.  He has to demonstrate that he has come to accept the fact that you have rights and that they are equal to his.
  7. Re-evaluate his distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view.  He has to recognize that he has had mental habits of focusing on and exaggerating his grievances against you and his perceptions of your weaknesses and to begin instead to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.
  8. Make amends for the damage he has done.  He has to develop a sense that he has a debt to you and to your children as a result of his abusiveness.  He can start to make up somewhat for his actions by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his own needs on the back burner for a couple of years, talking with people whom he has misled in regard to the abuse and admitting to them that he lied, paying for objects that he has damaged and many other steps related to cleaning up the emotional and literal messes that his behaviors have caused.  (At the same time, he needs to accept that he may never be able to fully compensate you.)
  9. Accept the consequences of his actions.  He should stop whining about, or blaming you for, problems that are the result of his abuse, such as your loss of desire to be sexual with him, the children's tendency to prefer you, or the fact that he is on probation.
  10. Commit to not repeating his abusive behaviors and honor that commitment.  He should not place any conditions on his improvement, such as saying that he won't call you names as long as you don't raise your voice to him.  If he does backslide, he cannot justify his abusive behaviors by saying, "But I've done great for five months; you can't expect me to be perfect," as if a good period earned him chips to spend on occasional abuse.
  11. Accept the need to give up his privileges and do so.  This means saying good-bye to double standards, to flirting with other women, to taking off with his friends all weekend while you look after the children, and to being allowed to express anger while you are not.
  12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process.  He at no time can claim that his work is done by saying to you, "I've changed but you haven't", or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse and control and that "it's time to get past all that".  He needs to come to terms with the fact that he will probably need to be working on his issues for good and that you may feel the effects of what he has done for many years.
  13. Be willing to be accountable for his actions, both past and future.  His attitude that he is above reproach has to be replaced by a willingness to accept feedback and criticism, to be honest about any backsliding, and to be answerable for what he does and how it effects you and your children.

Phew!  If you are in or have ever been in an abusive relationship you will probably look at this list and think "that'll never happen" like I did/am.  I think it probably highlights how long and difficult the process of changing core beliefs and values will be.  I look at a few of these and can see that my dh will find those probably reasonably easy but others virtually impossible for him.  Properly - I suppose any change can be faked (and I'll copy over the list of 'how to tell when he's not changing' another time!) but they can't fake it indefinitely.  The truth of what they think/believe will have to come out at some point.

For my husband, I can see he's right at the beginning, making headway on some but probably hasn't achieved any of the above steps yet.  Step one - admit fully, without minimizing etc - well even yesterday I reminded him of when he sat on the bed saying "why can't you just obey me?" (in a half-jokey way) and his response was "but you said stuff like that".  (Which I didn't)  So, even with step one his sense of entitlement is (as Bancroft says) "like a rude, arrogant voice screaming inside his head".  I do have to wonder how far he can drag his sense of entitlement and justification before he falls back.  Pessimism, or realism?  Time will tell.

First 'date night'

I had decided at the beginning of our separation that after a 'suitable time' had passed I would want to start seeing dh again, just the two of us.  Well, apparently I felt that nine-and-a-bit weeks was a suitable amount of time because we went out alone together last night (well, early evening).

He'd already been over in the afternoon finishing some jobs around the house that I can't do and that he was supposed to be doing but then obviously left.  I was doing work in the garden so it wasn't much of an issue, but then the children started playing up and acting strangely.  Obviously they were a bit unsettled and wondering what was going on.

I was leaving my youngest (5) for the first time with my eldest (16) so was worried.  He is a very anxious child.  I set up the three younger children with a DVD and popcorn in one of their bedrooms so I knew they'd be engaged for at least an hour an a half.  I explained to the kids that I was going out with daddy to have a talk.  I think this probably added to their confusion and I'm not sure it was helpful, to be honest.

We went out to a pub about 5 minutes away, had a drink together and a chat.  It was very strange.  Not only because we rarely went out alone prior to separation over the last few years, but also because of everything that's been going on.

He talked a bit about his program, what happened last week on it, some of the other guys on it etc.  We talked about how we had approached so many professionals for 'advice' on our relationship and nobody had ever picked up that the problem was abuse.  Then I mused that I used to say to him 'you should have married a doormat, that's the kind of wife you want' or something like that.  He objected, that isn't the wife he would want and X (ex girlfriend) was a bit like that but that's something he didn't like about her etc.  I just said, well you say that you don't want a doormat but all your actions show that you did.

The conversation then moved around to other things, we left and came home and had a cup of coffee.  He asked about support I was getting from the program (not a lot because I'm not local) and what I was going to do.  I mentioned the therapist I am probably going to be talking to and rambled on for a bit about what I'm hoping to get out of it (see previous post!).  He then asked the same question again and I realised he wasn't listening and hadn't been listening for a while.  At that point it all felt a bit pointless really - what I mean by that is that I had nothing to say, he had nothing to say and we were both tired.

I suddenly felt very exhausted and just wanted him to leave.  He turned at the door and apologised for being distracted and said that since I made the 'doormat' comment his head had been racing and he hadn't been able to concentrate on our conversation etc.  I just said 'Bye then' and he left.

So now, I'm feeling deflated by the whole experience and I'm not feeling like I want to repeat it!  The first half hour or so was nice, and felt like it might be useful.  After that it was aimless, wandering, pointless and in parts negative.

Whether I decide over the next week that I still want to continue with the idea of spending a couple of hours together every week - I don't know.  I think discussions about the abuse need to be done by email, for me to feel comfortable.  And I suppose what I'm wondering is - what else is there in our relationship?

Sunday, 27 March 2011


So, I've kind of absorbed the information that I will need to have some kind of therapy or counselling.  This has cropped up in the past but has never worked out well, so I'm a bit apprehensive about it.  Plus, I have no money.

With this in mind I called the local Domestic Violence charity that offer free counselling.  I called twice.  I emailed them.  I have heard nothing back and have given up now.  I just don't want to go down the GP route, because this has never been good in the past.  Plus, I would like to talk to people who know about emotional abuse and how it effects you.  I'm not confident that the random counsellor who pulled my name out of the hat would know about that.

A friend of mine a while ago had trained in a kind of counselling/approach called The Human Givens which I read up on at the time and was interested in.  It made a lot of sense to me.

By chance I came across a counsellor who uses this approach along with lots of others and also has lots of experience in the field of domestic violence.  She is a long way away, but offers telephone counselling AND asks clients to pay only what they can afford.  I emailed her to say that I have no money right now, but hopefully will be more financially OK in the next couple of months.

She replied with lots of info and wants to talk to me, so I am going to call her tomorrow which I'm excited/worried about.  So, I've been thinking since I heard from her .... what do I actually want to get/achieve from counselling?

I already see a homeopath who has brilliant counselling skills and I feel has helped me see through the worse, most crisis-y part of the separation.  Also, the remedies have really helped.  I talk about it to friends/family a reasonable amount too.  So what do I want from the counselling?  At the moment, I'm not 100% sure on the answer to that one and am going to be thinking about it a lot over the next 24 hours.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Family time

It's so difficult knowing whether it is good for the kids for us all to spend time together 'as a family'.  dh, me and the kids.  Or do they get the wrong idea, get confused, get their hopes up or what?

As with most other decisions now, I'm just having to go with my gut instinct and hope for the best.  So we all went and had a day at the park/forest on Saturday.  The kids played in the park, we had a picnic lunch, we walked in the woods afterwards and then we came home.  I came home, the kids and dh went to his place.  It was nice spending time together, but there were times when I just wanted to come home... just because I guess it was a constant low-level stress.  Stress of uncertainty and worry I suppose.

While the kids played in the park we sat on a bench with a coffee and talked.  As usual, something arose that we disagreed on.  Unusually, he said that he knew his viewpoint was wrong and abusive and he asked me some questions.

He seems to spend a lot of time thinking of hypothetical situations that he might find himself in with me (that have maybe happened before or have happened to other couples) and tries to figure out how he should respond in that situation.

e.g.  We discussed a friend of ours who is also in an emotionally abusive marriage.  She received an unsolicited drunken email out of the blue from a male acquaintance asking to 'meet up sometime'.  Her husband was secretly checking her emails and went crazy, accused her of all sorts of things, threw and broke the computer etc.  Dh said that he can't imagine that in the same situation he would act any differently.  He said that he'd wonder 'what has my wife done so that this man thinks it's ok to send this email'.  Now I said that anger should be directed at the man who sent the email, not the wife.


Sorry, mid-post I just remembered something that happened between us about 9 months- a year ago.  My dh got a test message from his best friend's wife asking if he wanted to have sex with a woman they both know.  I was really upset about this.  I was really upset with his best friend's wife for sending it, but also with my husband and I believe I said to him "what have you done so that X (best friend's wife) thinks it's OK to send this text?".

This sort of thing always happened.  He has an amazing capacity to store phrases or actions for a long time and then throw them back at me in this way.  I will have to email him about that.

Now I get to thinking... am I being hypocritical here?  Thinking my friend's husband was being unfair blaming his wife, when I kind of blamed my husband a bit?

I suppose the situation was different - my friend was emailed by an acquaintance she'd met once so I would assume that he doesn't particularly know her.  My friend's husband went crazy, yelling, vile accusations, intimidating her.

In our situation the person texting was someone who'd known my husband for a number of years.  I was just very hurt.  It turns out she'd apparently sent the text to dh accidentally (not sure if I believe that) and so the matter was dropped and I haven't really thought about it since.... Interesting.

Anyway, back to the 'family time'.  I suppose this sort of focus on abuse and getting over it, which is the focus of our relationship at the moment, is kind of draining.  And though I enjoy spending time together as a family, I worry about how the kids are perceiving it all.

So - will we do it again.  Yes, I think we probably will.  Bearing in mind that long term the plan is to resume our relationship if I am convinced he will no longer be abusive, then I believe it is right to maintain some sort of family time together.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

and the rollercoaster goes down again

Yes, I am feeling down, lonely and stressed again.  The lows are not as low as they were before, but they are still here and I still need to deal with them.  The emotions seem to be lasting longer now... I'll feel positive and upbeat for a longer period of time but then downbeat for longer too.  But the highs are less high, the lows less low.  So it's kind of evening out a bit, if you know what I mean.

Just over two months since we separated so still obviously a long way to go.  You don't recover from a 14+ year long relationship in two months.  Of course, we are still communicating and it's not just 100% 'over'.

I'm just fed up of everything at the moment.  Fed up of stress, being on my own with the children, having money problems, uncertainty, huge responsibility.  I'm sick of it all.  I wish I could fast forward 6 months :-)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ownership, jealousy, possessiveness continued...

You are right, it is down to ownership and other things that cause jealousy, not you. I will take a while I think to resolve it in my head, yes I too hope the jealousy part comes soon.
Yes there are plenty of other examples of my jealousy like thinking crazy stuff about D, but I look at that as me being totally wrong and paranoid. There are other things I have seen or assumed to have happened that I think i would find inappropriate then and now. So I question on a few levels; is it just my jealous mind skewing everything or are there occasions where you may have flirted but it shouldn't be a problem or you can understand I may have felt hurt and wouldn't act like that now. We have discussed this stuff before and I understand it is not good for you to 'defend' your actions or inactions all the time, it is specific incidents that i will discuss in group and maybe we can see if I change after looking at my beliefs and values, at the moment I can't see that resolving the problems I have though.
Well, we have to hope that it does work.

There may have been things I have done (innocently) that are hurtful and I am not bothered either way that I would have ordinarily said "oh I won't do that if you find it upsetting" but in the context of this abusive relationship that isn't appropriate to discuss now, because it isnt an ordinary relationship.  There is so much more going on.

Whatever ways I would have or have changed my behaviour (which generally you wouldn't have to do when your behaviour is actually ok) has never been enough.  For example this dancing or J. Yes, you might have thought that then but since then you have come to know me better, we havd been committed to each other, we have children together, I have proven my trustworthiness a million times.  Therefore to still want to discuss these things is totally unacceptable and needs to be changed.
Thanks for being understanding. I feel I need to look at my value and belief system and question it with the group/ on my own, I need to change for us and as I said before myself.
I do feel that he is trying.  He is obviously spending a lot of time thinking about his values and viewpoints, and challenging them.

I was thinking, for me, that I didn't want any part of this.  That I needed him to go through it on his own but I'm actually feeling now that I do want to know how things are progressing and to see with my own eyes his thought processes.

I believe that he is being honest and is genuinely thinking about all these things rather than 'talking the talk'.  Again, only time will tell for sure.

Yesterday we had a doctor's appointment for our son and afterwards we talked a little about the abuser programme and some of the things my husband is thinking a lot about.  Particularly he was discussing blame, it was interesting to hear what he had to say in light of my new-found knowledge.  I think it's worthy of another post though!