Just over ten years ago I was looking through the chat section on a dog forum, and I came across a post with this heading. A lightbulb came on for me and I realised for the first time that I was OK, and 'he' was not.
I left. I had to break into my own house with the help of a locksmith to rescue my dog. I moved three times in 9 months to get away. I had to call the police several times. I had to go to court to get the house sold and my share of the proceeds.
When the scales fell, I could not understand how an intelligent woman like me could have allowed him to get away with it. But emotional abusers are very clever, and sneak up on us!
One or two threads I have come across have rung warning bells for me. So I think it time I speak up.
Here is the post (reproduced with permission) that started my journey. I will be forever grateful to the lady who wrote it - and supported me through the process of regaining my me.
"I got out of a violent relationship in 1999 (wooohooooo :biggrin: ).I have several bits of info that I find very useful.I know women I have shared it with have found it a real eye opener,I swear these men all went to the same 'charm school' :rolleyes:
domestic abuse isn't just about physical abuse it's about running people down emotionally and psychologically
What abuse is'nt:
Talking and acting so that she feels safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things
Listening to her non-judgementally
Being emotionally affirming and understanding
Supporting her goals in life
Respecting her right to her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions
Partner accepts responsibility for themselves
Acknowledges past use of violence/abuse if this has occured
Admits being wrong when they are
Communicates openly and truthfully
Sharing parental responsibilities
Being a positive and non-abusive role model for the children
Mutually agreeing a fair distribution of work
Making family decisions together
Making money decisions together
Making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements
Solving conflicts together in a way that helps both of you
Being willing to compromise
What it is:
Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.
Putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think she's crazy when she isn't, playing mind-games, humiliating her, making her feel guilty for no good reason,accusing her of affairs etc.
Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes. Limiting her outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions.
Making light of the abuse, not taking her concerns seriously, saying it didn't happen, shifting the responsibility for abusive behaviour, saying she caused it.
Making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay inappropriate messages, using visitations to harass her, threatening to take the children away.
Treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the master of the castle, being the one to choose men and women's roles in the house.
Preventing her getting or keeping the job she wants. Making her ask for money. Giving her an allowance. Taking her money. Not letting her know about or have acess to family money.
Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
Threatening to leave her
Threatening to commit suicide unless she obeys
Threatening to report her to the police/social services etc on made-up reasons
Making her drop charges against her partner
Making her do illegal things
THE SURVIVOR'S BIBLE
Accept that you will never find rational motives behind irrational people (abusers), but you will drive yourself crazy if you try.
Accept that you will never understand why or how he can be so cruel and lack remorse, and let it go. You can only learn to understand yourself and your own behavior.
Accept that you cannot control or change an abuser (not with any amount of love, money, or attempts to be the perfect mate), but you can control how (or whether) you react or respond toward him.
Accept that your abuser has nothing you need or want. Each time your bruised psyche attempts to convince you that you want or need him, use your brain. If you stop to think about what you really want and need, you will find that these are things he cannot give you (love, honesty, respect, kindness). He does not have them to give.
Know that these needs are normal human needs (the desire for companionship, intimacy, love, honesty, respect, affection, kindness) and that you can have these needs filled. Learn to find these things from within yourself and from people other than your abuser.
Remember that if you try to get anything at all from him, you are giving him immense power, because he then has the choice to either give it to you or withhold it. Don't give him that power in the first place! Besides, why negotiate a deal with someone who doesn't have what they are negotiating to give in the first place?
Remember that it is always wiser to risk long-term happiness and leave that it is to risk long-term unhappiness (or worse) and stay.
In the beginning, before you learn to love yourself again, remind yourself that although the most difficult and heart wrenching thing is no contact, it is also the healthiest choice and the only true way out.
Always know this. They need us more than we need them! We've just been brainwashed into thinking the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Admit to yourself and to trustworthy support persons that you need love, concern, understanding, support, and especially validation to make it through recovery from abuse.
Finally, remember that asking for or expecting any kindness, honesty, love, maturity, reason, or other unselfish behavior from an abuser is like trying to get blood from a stone.
Try something you've always wanted to try. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. Do whatever it is you want to do. YOU ARE FREE NOW!
Start to consider what you want from a healthy partner in your next long-term relationship. If men want to establish an intimate and/or long-term relationship with you, let them know that you are available as a friend right now - and more may come later.
Learn to love and respect yourself. Give yourself all of the kindness and love he never did.
Soon you will see him for what he truly is, and you will see yourself as well. This I promise.
This one I find the best for those who aren't sure or are newly involved with someone.I use this one a lot at work.
Abusive Behaviour â€“ checklist
If you are uncertain whether your partner is abusive or if you want to be able to tell at the beginning of the relationship if the other person has the potential to become more abusive, there are behaviours you can look for, including the following: (remember, you donâ€™t have to tick all the boxes â€“ itâ€™s a list of examples of abusive behaviour.
1. Jealousy. An abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy has nothing to do with love; itâ€™s a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. In a healthy relationship the partners trust each other unless one of them has legitimately done something major to break that trust (like actually having an affair).
2. Controlling behaviour. At first, the abuser will say this behaviour us because they are concerned for your safety, a need for you to use time well, or to make good decisions. Abusers will be angry if you are â€œlateâ€ coming back from the store or an appointment. You will be questioned closely about where you went, who you talked to. As this behaviour gets worse, the abuser may not let you make personal decisions about the house, your clothing, or going out. They may keep all the money, or may make you ask permission to leave the house or room.
3. Quick involvement. Many abused people only knew their abuser for a few months before they were living together. The abuser may come on like a whirlwind, claiming â€œyouâ€™re the only person I could ever talk toâ€ and â€œIâ€™ve never felt loved like this by anyoneâ€. Abusers are generally very charming at the beginning of the relationship. You will be pressured to commit in such a way that later you may feel very guilty if you want to slow down or break up.
4. Unrealistic expectations. Abusers will expect their partner to meet all their needs: the perfect partner, lover and friend. They say things like â€œif you love me, Iâ€™m all you need and you are all I needâ€. You will be expected to take care of everything for them, emotionally, physically and sometimes financially too.
5. Isolation. Abusers usually try to cut their partners off from all resources. If you are a woman who has male friends, you are a â€œwhoreâ€ a â€œslutâ€ or â€œcheatingâ€. If you are close to your family, youâ€™re â€œimmatureâ€ or â€œstill mummyâ€™s little girlâ€. The abuser will accuse people who are supportive of you of causing trouble, and may restrict your use of the phone. They will gradually isolate you from all of your friends. They may not let you use a car and may try to keep you from working or going to courses etc. Some abusers will try to get you into legal trouble so that you are afraid to drive or go out.
6. Blames others for problems. If your partner makes a mistake, itâ€™s your fault for upsetting them in some way so they canâ€™t concentrate on their work, or didnâ€™t have what they needed immediately to hand. It is your job to be at fault for everything that goes wrong, and totally responsible for ensuring that their lives are perfect for them. (after all, theyâ€™re not adults capable of doing small things for themselves like the rest of us!)
7. Blames other for feelings. Abusive people will tell you â€œyou MADE me madâ€ and â€œI canâ€™t help being angryâ€. They use phrases like this to ensure that you feel guilty for their inability to do what the rest of us manage to do perfectly well â€“ behave sensibly round other people. Abusers like to see themselves as the â€œvictimâ€ of your â€œfailingsâ€ and they do not take responsibility for their own feelings and behaviours.
8. Hypersensitivity. Abusers are easily insulted, and may take the slightest setback as a personal attack. They will rant and rave about tiny things that are really just a part of living.
9. Cruelty to animals and children. They may punish animals and children brutally, They may expect children to be capable of things well beyond their years, or of behaving to impossibly perfect standards (of course, if they donâ€™t, itâ€™s all your fault, (not theirs â€“ theyâ€™re not a parent, after all!!). They like to tease animals and children until they cry or yelp in pain and then say â€œoh it was just a bit of funâ€. They may be very critical of other peopleâ€™s children or any children you brought into the relationship. They may threaten to prevent you from seeing your children or helping them when they cry, they may punish the children if you do something wrong, or prevent you from being with them as a punishment for you. Abuser who beat their partners usually also beat their children.
10. â€œPlayfulâ€ use of force in sex. This kind of abuser lies to act out fantasies during sex where they are in charge. They like to tell you that the idea of rape or acting it out is exciting. They show little concern for whether you want sex or not, and use sulking or anger to get you to give in. They keep you awake until you do as you are told, or wake you up, no matter how exhausted you are. They also use sex as a way of â€œmaking upâ€ after violent beatings â€“ â€œthere â€“ see â€“ I love you after all because I have demanded sex after hitting youâ€. All makes perfect sense really (not!).
11. Verbal abuse. In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel, this can be seen when the abuser slags you off or swears at you, belittling your achievements. They may accuse you of â€œnot being a real woman/manâ€ They may threaten to tell others secrets you shared with them in happier times in the relationship. The abuser will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function without them. They may tell you that you are fat, useless, ugly, that no other person would want you, that you are lucky that they are still around because no-one else would bother with you. They will keep you awake for hours to yell at you or force you to do extra work around the house or for them, etc.
12. Rigid Sex Roles. Male abusers expect their partners to play the traditional role in the household. Male abusers will insist that women obey them in all things, and see your role as being servant to them.
13. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Many survivors of abuser are confused by their abuserâ€™s sudden changes in mood, and may thing it indicates a special mental problem. Abusers may be nice one minute, and explode the next. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who beat their partner. Many survivors believe that if their partner would only give up drinking or using drugs, the abuse and violence would stop. It usually doesnâ€™t.
14. Past Abuse. These people say they have hit a partner in the past, but the previous partner â€œmade them do itâ€. This is never true. The fact is that they will begin to hit any partner they are with as soon as they have reached the right stage of abuse in the relationship â€“ by following all the patterns above until they feel like they have complete control and no chance of being caught. Then the violence begins. You cannot â€œmakeâ€ someone hit you â€“ it is always their choice to do so.
15. Threats of violence. This could include any angry or frightening threat of physical force meant to control you â€“ â€œif you donâ€™t behave I will slap you/hit you/kill youâ€ . This is not normal behaviour, but abusers will tell you that â€œeveryone talks like thatâ€ and that it is â€œnormalâ€ or â€œdidnâ€™t mean anythingâ€.
16. Breaking objects and wrecking/throwing things. This behaviour is used as a punishment and to terrorise you into submission. The abuser may tell you that it proves how much they love you because they havenâ€™t actually hit you, have they? But they are using violence and terror to control you, and they know it. It indicates great danger to you when someone thinks they have the â€œrightâ€ to punish or frighten their partner by doing any of these things.
17. Any frightening use of force during an argument. An abuser may hold you down, restrain you from leaving the room when you are afraid, push you, shove you, pin you to the wall, trip you up, chase you threateningly.
18. And we havenâ€™t even got onto the subject of the violence that comes next, or the way they control people by stopping their money or food....
And all through every stage of this, you will be told that it was â€œall your faultâ€ and that â€œthey canâ€™t help itâ€. Two of the greatest lies ever told. The reality is that they are incompetent and pathetic people who lie a lot.
Life isnâ€™t about threats and fear. If you are afraid of your partner, or what they might do to punish you for getting something wrong, this isnâ€™t normal, it isnâ€™t acceptable, it isnâ€™t how other people live, and it ISNT your fault. You have been caught by an abuser, and this is what they do to each of their victims in turn. It just happened to be you this time.
If they help just one person then it's worth it."
Anyone who needs to can always PM me