Monday, 31 January 2011

Whose fault is it anyway?

Dh popped by the children's club today.  We were together for over an hour watching them take part. 

He obviously wanted to talk, or to reconnect, to reassure himself all is not totally lost.  You may find this bizarre after reading of things that have happened.

He has been talking to his mum daily over the last ten days, telling her about the abuse.  She was disbelieving at first but as he is explaining exactly what he has done (well, probably not *exactly* but as near as he can bear) they are discussing a lot about dh' dad.  Apparently everything dh says he was like, she says 'your dad did that'.  His mum and dad divorced when dh was around 17 years old. 

I think they are on a little journey of discovery together.  Dh plans to send her The Book to read (it is very validating and clarifying for anyone who has been abused) but as she's about to have a major operation, he is going to wait for a couple of months.

Naturally, she has now started to blame herself for not leaving or doing something about it earlier.  Apparently the evidence does clearly show that the single most dominating factor in whether men become verbally or emotionally (or physically maybe) abusive is that their father was abusive in this way. 

Questions running through my mind now:
  • Is DH trying to pin the blame on his mum or dad, rather than take responsibility for his own actions?
  • If so... well, is that all wrong? 
  • Or is he totally to blame? 
  • What does this mean for our children? 
  • Are they destined to continue this cycle?
  • How can I break it? 
  • Is it too late?
  • Will Dh actually change if all he is doing is transferring blame for his behaviour from me to his parents?
As you can see, confusion still reigns supreme.  I am not sure how to even respond to these discussions.  It will be a while before I can truly sense my gut reactions, I guess, and probably even longer til I can trust and believe them.

Another thing today was that DH asserted that he did (abuse) the same as his dad but 'not as badly'.  Again, I don't know because I wasn't there and don't know his dad very well.  But, this sounds like slipping back into minimising his behaviour to me....  Again, didn't know how to respond so just looked at him.

Then he said that The Book laid 'everything' out really clearly and practically... though 'harshly'.  Then he looked at me and I replied 'no, realistically' and he shrugged.

These little exchanges and conversations keep confusing me a little, because I'm not sure how to respond.  I feel my senses and reactions are still dulled from years of 'keeping the peace' and 'holding my emotions in' because they were too overwhelming for dh. 

And I'm so tired after yet another 5am early wake up of racing thoughts <sigh>

Oh, why is this feeling like such a long road?

Those things I keep thinking about...

The small things:
The time I made dh a sandwich for work.  I didn't often do it because 1. he left before 7am for work and 2. he was incredibly fussy and always complained about something.  i.e. that I hadn't dabbed the sliced cucumber with tissue to stop it being too wet.

Anyway, I was up early one morning.  I made dh a sandwich and even dabbed the cucumber with tissue!  When he got home from work this was our conversation:
DH: Thanks for making that sandwich for me, it was so nice.
Me:  That's Ok.
DH: I even told <colleague> about it.  I said "look at this sandwich my wife made for me.  Isn't that nice".  Well, he just shrugged and said "My wife makes me sandwiches every day".  He doesn't even think about it.
 This was a deliberate backhanded jibe, that left me just feeling bad and wishing I never made the sandwich.

The medium things:
My dh was picking me up after work one day.  I finished teaching my class and carried all my stuff out (4-5 boxes/bags of stuff) and loaded the car.  I got in the car and said hello to dh and to my youngest who was in the car - he was around 12 - 16 months old at the time.  My DH was just staring at me.  This was our conversation:
DH: Aren't you going to say sorry?
Me: What for?
DH: Being late.
Me: But I'm not late.
DH: You said you were finishing at 12.
Me: I did finish at 12.
DH: It's 12.15 and we've been sitting there for fifteen minutes.
Me: You know I have to clear up the room and pack my stuff away.  I finish teaching at 12.

This carried on all the drive home, with me asking him not to shout this stuff as he'll scare the baby.  I got out of the car at home totally shell-shocked, hugging the baby to me and running in the house.  I didn't know what the hell had happened.

About 4 hours later, dh said "sorry I got angry, I forgot you have to clear away and it takes 15 minutes"  Nothing about the horrible abuse he yelled at me, nothing about the fact that even if he did forget, or even if I was 15 minutes later than I'd said it wouldn't have justified what happened.

He must have felt bad for him, because this is one of only a handful of times that he has spontaneously apologised for anything he has ever done.

The big things:
One particular incident happened when we'd been living together about six months - together for under a year.  I was working in an office and had gone out for a drink with three or four colleagues.  We all got quite drunk and a couple of them came back to our house, as you do when you are 20 or 21.  One of them was this guy P.  He was hilarious and I got on well with him.  He was a bit of a rich boy, with a girlfriend who was a model, and went to Henley and Ascot and so on.  We didn't have anything in common, I didn't fancy him but he was funny and we got on really well.

So, back at our house, dh was there with a couple of his friends and we came in.  One of my colleagues instantly lay on the sofa and fell asleep.  I carried on drinking with P, and we were mucking about on the computer.  Just being idiots.  Computers were new then (mid-late 90's) and we didn't really know how to use the internet and were drunk, we were just arsing about and laughing our drunk heads off.  At some point dh and his friends disappeared.

I now know that they were 'calming him down' because he wanted to punch P's head in.

At some point I wobbled up the stairs to go to the loo (in fact I think I vomited) and as I was coming out of the loo dh came and grabbed me and yanked me into our bedroom.  He shoved me on the bed.  I was so drunk I started to pass out and couldn't talk.  He was saying something about P and about me flirting with him and wanting to have sex with him.

I was too drunk to respond, in fact I couldn't move.  Then dh undressed my bottom half and started jabbing his fingers inside me, making lewd comments.  I just froze.  I was too drunk to get up and do anything about it, or jump up and yell at him to stop.  My reaction was to 'act dead' and I didn't move.  I thought that once he'd realised I wasn't really conscious he'd stop.

He didn't.  He proceeded to have horrible, jabbing sex with me, his face screwed up with hate.  I knew that I'd be blotting it out or minimizing what happened in the morning, I knew that if I said anything he'd say I was drunk or he was drunk or whatever.  I tried to get it into my head that I needed to leave him in the morning.

Instead, in the morning he was indignant and devastated that I was flirting and wanted to have sex with P, and somehow it was twisted round until I was reassuring him that I didn't want anyone else, that I loved him, that I didn't flirt with other guys, apologising for getting drunk and everything else.

All these things are running through my head all the time (along with hundreds of other incidents).  I'm trying to think about them more clearly, use them to bolster my confidence that I've done the right thing, and probably a little bit to prove to myself and others that he really was abusive... it's not a figment of my imagination or sign of my over-sensitivity.

It's difficult.  Really difficult.

It's my home now.

My husband has moved his stuff out.  I am paying the rent now.  My name is on the tenancy agreement.  My name is on all the bills.

So, when will he stop thinking it's his house?  I know this is probably a 'time' thing but he keeps turning up, walking in the back door and just going wherever.  He walked through the house to the toilet.  He walked in, took a pan, a jar of pasta sauce and a picture out of the hall (that he'd changed his mind about wanting).  None of the actions I mind, it's just the waltzing in without even waiting for me to come downstairs, and clearly thinking it's still his home.

I'm not sure how to address this.  Nobody uses the front door in our house apart from the postman, because the parking and driveway are in the back garden.   But I still think he could knock at the back door, or call and wait for me to appear and then ask if it's Ok to go to the loo, get something from the kitchen, go upstairs or whatever.

Maybe I'm being harsh, and I need to give him time to realise this isn't where he lives now.  I'm just not sure.

His stuff is gone.

Exactly two weeks after the initial argument (and we are catching up now with 'real' time as this was on Friday, and now it's the following Monday) dh picked up the keys to his new flat.  About 1/4 mile or so away from our house - an easy walk.

I can't quite believe how quickly everything has happened.  My head is still spinning, and I'm only just coming out of what I believe to be a state of shock.

I sent him a list by email, room by room, of all his items and anything he might want.  He replied with a yes/no/maybe after each item, then asked me to pack up his stuff.

I was in two minds about whether to do this, but in the end decided I'd rather do it myself than have him wandering around the house for hours, in and out of drawers etc while the children watched.  Or while we were all out.

It amounted to a few boxes and a couple of items of furniture, a few pictures, paperwork and so on.  As a result the house pretty much looks the same.

On Friday I was overcome with emotion and lay in the bath for 1/2 an hour just quietly sobbing.  I had felt a build up of grief and sorrow, it was almost physical in that it was a gradually building pain and throbbing in my head, and it was relieved after I had had a good cry.  I know there is a long way to go yet for the grieving process over this marriage, and I can feel it will be a slow process.

Dh then came over to pick up a few things such as spare bedding for his flat.  He stood in our bedroom and looked at a photo in a frame of us together and looked at me, welling up.  I had only stopped sobbing in the bath about an hour before and was feeling slightly peaceful so I just looked away.  He then looked at me with a look like 'you heartless cow' because I wasn't joining in the welling up about him moving out.  I felt such a surge of rage!  How dare HE be even crying!  All he has ever needed to do was stop being abusive and we could have had a happy marriage and life as a family.  Instead he has dragged me/our kids/ us through the wringer for fourteen years and here he stands self-righteously pitying himself and offended that I'm not joining in.  I ignored him, though, and went downstairs to stand by the door waiting for him to leave.

On Saturday dh came round to pick up the furniture and boxes with his friend.  This was incredibly awkward because they were mucking about, making jokes and laughing and I just wanted them out of the house.  They were making jokes about divorce courts, and 'who get's what'.  It might have been a coping strategy, but I doubt it, knowing them.  It was so inappropriate, all the children where there.  I wondered where that heartbroken man from the night before was...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Abuser Programme consultation

On Friday, dh went along to his consultation to see if he was a suitable candidate for the abuser programme.  He has been accepted onto the programme.  He will have two individual consultations, then go into a weekly group programme.  He starts on the 7th February.

Apparently the 'women's support worker' will be contacting me about it during the next week or so.  This is a good sign, as it ticks the first in the list of 'How to assess whether the abuser programme is effective' from The Book.

I was roller skating and then swimming with the children while dh was going to this.  Afterwards, in the car park I received a call from him.

He was telling me the cost of the sessions (high) and then said he was only doing this because he wanted us to get back together, and before he went ahead he wanted to know if that's what I wanted too.  So, unlike his previous assertion that he wanted to change for himself, already I'm hearing that he is only doing this to get back together (get what he wants).  He's also asking me to commit to this, as long as he completes the programme.  How do I know if he'll complete the programme AND change?  I know it's early days and I can't expect him to be nonabusive right now, but I did find his speed at pressuring me annoying.  I told him frankly that I can't possibly know how things will pan out and cannot say what I will want in six months or a year or two years time, so he has to decide to attend without knowing the outcome.

I felt like he wanted to ask me, so that if he completed the programme (but stayed the same as the majority do, sadly) and I still didn't get back together with him he could play the victim and blame me for the breakup.

Yet again, I am so so so so thankful that I found that book.  It's like a guide that tells me exactly how he will try to manipulate and play me next.  Nothing is a surprise, and it's really helping me to stay strong and sure in myself.  Or at least act like I am!

I await the call from the support worker and am staying objective, distant but positive regarding his abuser programme.  Not sure if this is the right decision, but I have to hope so.

Enjoying the sunset

It's funny the things that I'm noticing, the things I'm becoming aware of.

It's taking me a while really to feel less jumpy at home.  Not jumpy, freaking out, but jumpy-just-a-little-bit-anxious.  I never felt like I was doing a good enough job, always felt an air of disapproval and suspicion from my husband.  Was never 100% comfortable.  If I was, it didn't last long. 

So as I've been living with just the children I have started to relax and remember things.... like....

Driving along I saw a lovely sunset, with hues of orange, pink and red.  I always feel awe and peace with a lovely sunset.  Then it popped into my head - the number of times that I've said "what a lovely sunset" to have my husband respond "that's not a sunset".  When I would question what he meant it would usually end up with some cutting or patronising remarks that made me wish I never mentioned the damn sunset.  This time I said to the kids "look at that lovely sunset" and felt a little bit of me relax knowing that nobody was going to ask me what the hell I was talking about or say that 'nobody would think that was a decent sunset'.

Or as I was driving home after our group I wasn't worrying about what to cook that would be ready quickly but wouldn't be met with a disapproving look or a 'oh, just pasta' type of comment.  Or worse, if I am running late, a barrage of questions that began along the lines of 'I thought your group finished at 3.30?' and ended with him making out I was a liar for  saying it usually finished at 3.30 when *clearly* it didn't always finish at 3.30, and leave me feeling bad but not sure why... because after all I was only 20 minutes later than usual... and... but... and.... oh.  That sort of feeling.

I have spent a lot of time moving around stuff too.  I've moved the shoe-rack to near the door ("why on earth would anyone want to put the shoe rack there?  It blocks the window"), I've taken out a huge shelf unit that was always 1/2 empty and totally inappropriate for the bathroom,  I've cleared out all the old chemical cleaners that I didn't want to have ("Oh please.  That 'green' stuff is crap, it doesn't work." or "They talk such rubbish to sell that stuff, who would fall for that" type comment) etc etc.

We've been thinking about the dog and the hens we've wanted to get for a while.  The children are really interested in animal rescue work and we have wanted to rescue some battery hens and give them a good home in the garden.  And we also want another dog as a companion for our dog, for when we are out of the house sometimes during the day.  However, of course dh just kept saying we didn't have the time (read: I didn't have the time as I wasn't even keeping up with all the jobs he thought I should be doing, let alone more) and we didn't have the money (read: he didn't want to spend the money on *that*).

I signed up for the next two modules of my Open University course.  I gave up the course last year just because of the sheer grinding down of having my husband tell me constantly that I didn't have the time for a course (see above), that he would like to do a course too but he didn't have the time (read: unlike some of us who do 'f. all' in the house), that when he saw me doing any work for my course he had a knot of anger in his stomach because in his opinion I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO A COURSE (or anything else that is not beneficial for the family (read: him) despite the fact I did NOTHING else for myself).

Anyway, skedaddled off on a rant there.  I am very excited about my course.  My previous courses have been in creative writing ("is that the kind of stuff that goes on in your head?  You're sick" was the only response to the only story of mine he ever read, which was a short thriller) but my next courses are: a short course introducing counselling and following that a module on early years research, looking at research and ethics of working with very young children.  I'm really excited about both.

Mainly I have been getting used to the fact that if I've had a busy day I can sit down for ten minutes and read a book without disapproval, or read or write a blog without disapproval, or eat pasta for 2 days in a row without disapproval.... or whatever!

It's starting to feel a little liberating, being free to be myself.  But I'm nowhere near *there* yet.  I'm still feeling for those boundaries and feeling surprised that they are not there.

The rest of Week 2

Two days after the email exhange about 'the book' and I still hadn't heard anything.  It was the Wednesday. 

I was on my emotional rollercoaster.  One minute feeling quite positive, one minute feeling dreadful and hollow.  The continual contact needed with family (wondering if you are Ok) sometimes helped and sometimes really didn't.  The contact with banks/bills/utilities/landlord/benefits agencies was really something I could have done without at this stage.

The children seem to spend a lot of time watching movies or reading at the moment.  I think it's some basic escapism and something I'm doing too.  The youngest seemed confused about who was living where, and what house we were going to live with and asked lots and lots of questions at this point.  He's only just turned five, so I answered as best as I could.  He didn't seem upset or sad, just confused.

On Wednesday I got a text from him to say he'd been looking for abuser programmes to contact, without much joy and had spoken to a counsellor nearby who wanted to talk to me before seeing if she could recommend anyone.

I phoned her a couple of times at the time she specified but got no answer.  While waiting I decided to go on her website to see what she was about.  She seemed to specialise in 'getting people to address relationship issues caused by childhood problems'.  That wasn't all it said but there was no mention of any 'abuser programmes' so I started to wonder if he was trying to go along the 'it's your fault, you are oversensitive: it's your fault, you haven't dealt with childhood issues' line again.  This is another thing.  I'm not sure of myself!  I am now suspicious, but wonder if I'm over reacting...

I was pondering how to respond to this when I got a text from my husband saying not to bother with that counsellor because he had spoken to somebody from an abuser programme that runs around an hour away (the nearest one) and he is having his initial consultation on the Friday.

I was blown away, because it seems that he's kind of moving in the right direction.  So I felt really emotional then.

I couldn't (and can't) believe how much had happened in ten days.

Why Does He Do That, 3 copies in the post.

So, my new 'Bible': Why Does He Do That?  Inside the Minds of Controlling and Angry Men I ordered three copies from Amazon last week.  I got them at the beginning of the second week of separation.

My plan was - one copy for my sister who has been out of a very physically violent relationship for over ten years but still struggles with it all.  I think it will be really helpful for her.

One copy for me.  I've been reading a copy on loan from the library but was unable to highlight anything obviously.  So I was looking forward to sitting down with a pen and a bunch of those mini post-it's to go through the book so that I could find info that was useful easily.

The third copy.  Well, this was going to be a risk but my plan was to give it to my husband to read.  I didn't know what might happen, but I will stick my neck out and be painfully honest here and say that the small ray of hope somewhere deep inside that has so stubbornly refused to die out was still shining strong.  Somewhere inside me is the hope that he might read it, see the truth for what it was, seek help with an abuser programme, be one of the tiny minority to see it all the way through, be one of the tinier minority who *actually* change for good and then we might actually have a healthy, happy relationship.

I know in my head that this probably ain't gonna happen.  But that ray of hope is a dratted, stubborn thing that seemingly can't be stamped out.

My head was telling me to be careful, he'll go mad when he even sees this book.  But I couldn't help but hope, for him - for me - for us - for the family, that it might start off the journey that leads something I've always hoped for.

My husband was having the children on the Saturday and Sunday (day 8 and 9) so my plan was to give him a bag of his stuff and put the book in it at the bottom.  Then when he would be back at his place I would text him.

Day 7 - a busy day

The last day of the first week was a very busy day.  We go to a family group that lasts all day and is exhausting.

I thought we might all want to take a little Time Out from life for a while, but it turns out that what is best for the children is to keep up the usual routine, for them to see their friends and have the reassurance that life has not stopped.

I couldn't face telling twenty people what had happened so I emailed the group to let them know.  This meant that it was very hard seeing more sympathetic faces, and I was on the edge of tears virtually the whole day.  I did end up offloading everything onto one of the other mums.  Told her everything about us in about a 1/2 hour monologue, and I hope she doesn't mind or think I'm crazy now...

The thing is everyone who knows him thinks he's such a friendly, easy going, affable man.  As do I.  But he's not all (or even most) of the time that man.  But, do I want to tell everyone every detail of everything that's happened over our lives?  Now, no.  Not at all.  So then it becomes difficult when people naturally want to know "what happened?".  Because I'm not happy - yet- to admit to most people I know that my husband manipulated, lied and emotionally abused me for all these years.  That he's almost destroyed everything that I thought I knew.

Emotional Abuse.  It seems like a modern made-up name for something not-that-bad.  That's what I'm guessing people think.  If you've lived at the bitter end of it, you know how insidious and destructive it is. 

Anyway, the children again seemed Ok.  A bit more reflective and quiet.  I am trying hard not to take out my upset on them, but sometimes they frustrate me and I feel like the bitch-mother-from-hell.  I have shouted at them a couple of times over the last week, which is the last thing they need.

<I only hoped that week 2 would be better>

Day 6 - Telling the Children

My husband had asked me to tell the children he was working away til he got himself a flat nearby.  My experience before was that when he was on his own he 'broke down and couldn't stop himself telling them' and he made it all a lot more traumatic than necessary.  If you have never seen your dad cry and suddenly he is hysterical, sobbing about having to leave you then naturally you're devastated.

So, I opted to brace myself and tell them on the morning of Day 6 because he was going to see them for the first time that evening.

I tried to think about how to tell them, tried to think of the best ways to break the news to them, I looked it up online and in the end just went with the flow of what I felt best.  I just told them that we had decided to separate, that dad had moved out and was looking for somewhere nearby to live, that they'd see him every weekend and a couple of times in the week or whenever they felt like it.  They were shocked but didn't look surprised.  They had heard the shouting and been upset then dad had not been there for 6 days, so I guess they had an idea of what was going on. 

They didn't say a lot.  I asked if they were sad about that, they said they were.  I said that was ok, that I was sad too.  I asked if they had anything they wanted to ask, they said no.  I said that they could always ask dad or I if they wanted to know something or talk something over.  They said Ok.  Then they sort of went on as normalish.  DS1 acted a bit over-the-top cheery, but that is his usual nervous-anxious sort of behaviour.

Once they were told I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders and realised how much I had been feeling sickened about telling them.  I don't want to destroy their lives, and only hope that what I'm doing is going to make their lives a lot better.  Maybe not today, but in the long run.

Later on we went to visit a friend with children they enjoy playing with.  They had a great time.  Unfortunately she had a couple of other visitors, one I don't know well and one I'd never met, which meant 2 hours of 'socialising' for me that I really could have done without.  And sympathetic looks!!  I swear, they will kill me before this is all over.

Day 4 and Day 5

I was really down on days 4 and 5.  Very upset.  I had to speak to lots of different people (benefit agencies mainly) and repeat the words "my husband and I have separated".  When said over and over again, it seems to get more and more heartbreaking.

I have a book called "It's My Life Now".  It's been helpful in lots of ways, but one of the ways is that they totally 'get' that despite everything we will still be grieving after the end of an abusive relationship.  Grieving for the life we thought we might have, the life we thought we had, the end of the dreams, the end of the companionship (because if you've been there, then you know, it's not all bad) and lots of other things.  Not everyone will of course feel like this, especially if it's been a relatively short-lived relationship, but most will and most will grieve for different things.

I didn't really speak to my husband over these few days, and I felt kind of numb-yet-desperately-sad.  I had contacted my homeopath to ask for some remedies to help me through the anxiety and fear that I was feeling.  I hadn't received them at this point, but was spraying the old rescue remedy like it was going out of fashion.  It did help, somewhat.

Good sleep has also been a thing of the past.  I seem to drift off Ok (because I'm exhausted from the emotions of the day probably) but wake in the middle of the night with everything racing round my head and take hours to get back to sleep, if at all.  I've had more 4-something am wake ups than in a loooong time.  So I was also starting to feel sleep deprived, which seems to heighten my emotions. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Day 4 - More emails

I had spent the weekend reading 'The Book' and had decided we would separate.  To keep things amicable, I decided to 'go along with' the same old, same old until my dh had moved properly out of the house.  This is because he has been physically abusive and explosive on occasion in the past, and I am genuinely afraid of what he might do.

This was a Monday and I spent all morning sorting out the practicalities of getting my husband to leave, and getting everything sorted for us.

My email:
I spoke to housing benefit today and although they can't guarantee it til they've seen everything and had the application it looks like I would be able to get housing benefit. 
However, as part of the HB claim I need to prove we are not together by having a single tenancy, not joint and have all other benefits paid into a single not joint account.  On this basis I have today contacted tax credits and child benefit to advise of the change of circumstances and change payment to my X account.  Also, I have contacted X (Landlord) and they need a letter signed by both of us asking to give up the tenancy, and then they will issue a single tenancy for me.
If you want to take the children swimming at X tomorrow that's fine, nothing else is planned.  I will meet you there, then hang around in X or whatever and pick them up afterwards.
I'm giving a lot of thought to our myriad of issues and problems, nothing is resolving in my head.  Even if I apologise for the money going on the card, that's like a drop in the ocean of our actual problems. 
If I could honestly believe that you could stop believing that you are entitled to tell me how I should live my life, spend my time and sit in judgement on whether I am 'good enough' in so many areas of our lives then I would drop everything to be together as a family.  I want us to be a family, I consider you not only my husband and the father of my children, but also one of my longest term friends.  I don't want us to not be together.  The thought is destroying me, but the thought of living with someone who insists on trying to run my life and judge me is going to destroy me even more.  So, I see no choice but for us to be apart.

Day 1 - emails

The morning after the night before that I describe in my initial post.  I emailed the following to dh:
I can't believe this.  Only a few days ago I was genuinely thinking that 'we' had changed and would not be doing this again.  But then, I obviously believed some things were resolved that clearly weren't.  So we are here again.
You are right, I believe that the time has come for us to separate.  For a few reasons.
Firstly, these issues which have been the same and ongoing for what, 10 years or more?  Clearly no matter how much discussion takes place they can't be resolved.  I have no desire to be discussing my behaviour and whether or not it is good enough ever again, let alone when I'm 40/50/60.
Secondly, I no longer will accept the manner of which you talk to me during these times.  The swearing, the general disrespect and rudeness.  If I ever spoke to you like that you would flip out.
Thirdly, this insistance that our problems are largely my fault because I haven't had counselling to deal with childhood issues.  I know that this is something you've identified as a way of shifting any blame from you to me. 
The problem I have is that you want to control my behaviour, because you believe you have some right to tell me what I should do, how I should spend my time etc.  You don't have that right, in any way, in my opinion.  The idea that the problem here is me because I won't allow you to control me is an odd one and one I don't accept.

Day 2 - the story so far.

This is a lightly edited forum post I made, at a wonderful forum I have been a member of for a while.  Many members have been with me through the ups and downs of at least two years of this marriage:

Well, I’ll start at nearly the beginning. 

Around about exactly a year ago my marriage hit yet another major crises.  We were on the road to separation, we were looking at alternative accomodation for dh etc.  For numerous reasons we decided to try again.  During the process of trying to talk through our problems and how to resolve them a couple of things happened.

Firstly, dh agreed to get assessed for Aspergers.  Two years previously a Relate counsellor had suggested this might be something we look into after a fruitless course of couples counselling.  Anyway, as a concession *to me* dh agreed to this.  He was diagnosed with pdd-nos. 

Secondly, my end of the bargain, so to speak, was something I was unprepared for.  dh announced that 50% if not more of our problems were because of my childhood.  Now, I had a difficult and periodically abusive childhood and I surely do have issues as a result of it.  However, in thirteen years of marriage it had never been mentioned really.  From our discussions I came away starting to doubt my own sanity.  Maybe it was true and I wasn’t coping with it all, maybe it was true that I had a warped sense of what a ‘healthy relationship’ might be - thus putting exceptional pressure on dh, maybe I had not the first idea of the kind of person I really was.  Maybe I indeed had a completely incorrect perception of myself.  And only dh could see, because he knew me best of course.

I spiralled down into an almost nervous breakdown.  For the first time in years I started getting flashbacks to the abuse, it occupied all my time, I was struggling to focus on the normal stuff.  Dh was very sympathetic and caring during this time and we reconciled.