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.
Fast forward to June. I had recovered somewhat and felt better when we hit another bad patch. Apologies, I can’t remember the cause. Again, separation was on the cards. This time, while I was nipping out dh broke the news to the children that he had to move out and when I returned from the shop there they all sat devastated and crying - dh, and the kids. A few hours of this turmoil was all I could handle and dh and I decided to give it one last shot. We went away for a week as a family where dh and I did lots of soul searching and talking about our problems. We tried to put in place strategies for improving things.
The reconciliation was going well and I was feeling positive, believing that a lot of our issues had been resolved for the first time.
In October, my youngest jumped up and accidentally smacked me in the jaw. I went to the chiropractor who fixed it. For some reason this spurred me on to contact the wonderful homeopath who had miraculously cured ds' eczema after 4.5 years of hell with it. I went to see if I could resolve all my issues, for my sake but mainly the sake of the relationship that had been so affected by them.
During the last three months of homeopathic treatment, and long consultations with a wonderful woman who is non-judgemental, insightful, hopeful, encouraging and inspiring a lot of things have happened. Firstly I suddenly started to be hyper-aware of all the times that I changed my behaviour or choices as a direct result of dh’s actions. Whether they be explicit or implicit. Without feeling any pressure I started to feel stronger and more comfortable in myself. Virtually nothing relating to my childhood abuse came up over the last three months, but lots and lots of things to do with dh have. Suddenly all the little jibes and major mistreatments sprang to the forefront of my mind, but not in an emotionally destroying way. More a heightened awareness way.
At this point I still had a lot of sympathy for dh - after all, he has PDD-NOS to deal with, which makes communication difficult, makes it difficult for him to make friends and socialise, leaves him feeling isolated etc AND of course 95% of the time he is funny and a nice guy to be around.
Anyway, over the last couple of weeks dh has been getting more and more tense saying he feels a difficult time coming in the relationship. I’m slightly baffled but let it go.
Two nights ago, I come home and he is going off the wall. It’s about money - out loud - but about other stuff under the surface. It heightens because I am stronger than usual and don’t take it from him in order to reduce conflict. It ends up with him screaming at me in front of the children and all the old accusations come back - I’m selfish, I laze around doing Fuck All, he works hard to fund my 'self-focussed lifestyle' etc.
I do get upset and try furiously to think how I can help him understand my POV (still sympathising over the PDD NOS here). I go upstairs to put the kids in bed and come down and we talk for an hour and a half. He continues to say that I am lazy, selfish, live a ‘self focussed life’, am irresponsible, condascending etc etc. I try to defend myself, he talks round in circles, holding up isolated incidents from 10 years ago as examples and so on. My youngest wakes which means I have to go to bed, as it’s 11pm and it’ll take him a while to get to sleep etc. My husband looks at me in a focussed, calculating way and says “you need counselling, R, because all these issues are due to your childhood”.
I go to bed in a state of shock, get barely any sleep and yesterday morning he goes off to work with only a half sympathetic, patronising smile, obviously thinking that I am about to spiral into the nervous breakdown I nearly had last year.
So, dh is at work. I think things over, thinking I can’t live like this. No matter how much I doubt my own perceptions now, I just can’t quite accept that I am all the things he says I am. I know I am not this person he says I am. Not only that but suddenly I wonder how it can possibly be my problem or anything to do with my childhood that he is shouting and effing and blinding at me, or making me feel I am not a good enough mum, not good enough around the house, not a good enough wife. The problem is (for him) that I am not accepting his opinions and behaviour without a fight.
So I email dh, and say that I want him to leave and a summary of that paragraph above. (we have to email because apparently I become too emotional and irrational during heated arguments, and that is difficult for dh to put up with).
He emails back a pretty abusive reply that I am selfish and blah blah. Basically everything he always says. Again, citing my childhood abuse as the root of all our problems.
I reply stating ‘ha ha’.
He comes in, packs a bag and takes off to his buddy’s for the weekend without a word to the kids or anything. Last night I started to get that fear in my stomach about life as a single mum of 4, and without him. The fear and anxiety that usually ends in us ‘giving it another try’.
But last night I went online and googled ‘coping after separation’ and came across a link to a book called ‘Why does he do that. Inside the minds of angry and controlling men’. Just 30 minutes reading through the comments left by women had read it (there are 100’s!!) and the scales fell from my eyes. I recognised instantaneously that my dh has been systematically and insidiously emotionally abusing me for the entire 14 years of our relationship. I went to bed with a clear head for the first time in a long time!!
I went out to the library this morning, got the book, came home read and digested every one of it’s 400 pages.
My god. The lightbulb is shining brightly! The plans are being laid. This relationship is over. I can see him for what he is. A cold, calculating, manipulative man who came into a relationship with me *because* of my past history and the vulnerability that this had caused in me.
And that fear and anxiety in my belly has changed to fire and anger (and still anxiety!! LOL). It already feels incredible that I had never named him as an abuser. He is so clever and calculating that despite his following actions during our relationship:
- leaving me to travel round the world for a year when we had lived together for a year already with no consultation.
- got intensely jealous and had sex with me while I was too drunk to consent
- threatened to throw me down the stairs and kill our baby because he didn’t want it
- pushed, kicked and punched me at various times
- told me continuously that I was lazy, selfish etc
- criticised constantly
- maintained that our son was not his
- threw pets across the room
- treated my daughter appallingly over the last ten years
and a million zillion other things, that I still maintained he was a nice man really, that he had lots of problems, that we could work things out, that he loved me, I loved him etc etc. I can’t believe it! And you know what, he’s so good that everyone thinks he’s a fab father and husband and that I’m just a bit of a moaner!!!
But my eyes are open! Please god, I get through it in one piece because I am afraid of what he’ll do when he realises he is no longer in control of me or our life.
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