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I am trying to recover from a very abusive relationship. We weren't married, but were together for many years. I have been trying to get away for years, and have only managed to get away this time because of a restraining order.

A few months ago, after he got really physical with me and I threatened to call the police, he warned me not to. He has been in jail for domestic violence charges many times against other people. He said he knows the system and he knows how to get them to arrest me instead. Well, I called the police anyway after escaping the house when he was threatening me with a kitchen knife. I was so scared and traumatized I didn't articulate to the police what happened. Well, his manipulation was out in full swing, and I got arrested.

Now, I'm going through an unbelievable amount of legal crap, and I'm going through it alone. He says I deserve it because I threatened to call the cops on him, so he had no choice but to lie to the police.

I guess my point is, I am so hung up on this guy I can't move on with my life. He is SO MEAN to me, I am constantly blaming myself and trying to figure out how to change my behavior so he will treat me well. I need his approval so much, even now that we're separated, that I will drive myself crazy. One of his common behaviors is telling me that I'm a piece of s***, and he is going to hang up on me but he wants me to continue to call and text him my apologies. When he thinks I'm sorry enough, he will respond. If I don't continue to call and text for hours, sometimes days, I am accused of being with another man.

Even though he's really jealous, he has been with many other women and doesn't bother to hide it. He told me he was with 7-8 other women that he met online while I was out of town on business. He said that I deserved it because I didn't pay for him to come along on the trip. He has been with dozens of women (that I know of) since the beginning of the relationship. I never tried to stop him, I just tried to get him to love me more.

I am so worn down emotionally from this relationship, I don't know how to let go of needing his approval. I don't know how to start rebuilding my confidence. He has been abusing me since I was barely an adult (he's much older), I feel like I don't know who I am without him. Sorry for the rambling post, but I really need advice on how to start healing.
 

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There's only one way to deal with an abuser and that is to leave them for good. There can be no contact whatsoever, as the abuser will continue to suck you in and abuse from a distance.

Please contact your local women's centre or refuge and tell them what you have told us, OP. They deal with these things on a daily basis and will give you the best possible support and advice. They will also assist you with the following:-

Now, I'm going through an unbelievable amount of legal crap, and I'm going through it alone. He says I deserve it because I threatened to call the cops on him, so he had no choice but to lie to the police.
You cannot start the healing process until such time as your abuser is no longer in your life and there is positively NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER.

Edited to add: Here's a link to a very good support site for physical and emotional abuse. I think you'll find some interesting information there, as well as some very supportive people:-

http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Physical-Emotional-Abuse/support-group
 
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Please google the closest women's shelter, call them, and then GO THERE. This is EXACTLY what they are there for - to help women leave abusive men. Period.

Please do this today.
 

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And go to the library and get this book; it will change everything for you: Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds Of Angry And Controlling Men, by Bancroft.
 

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Wow. Girl, you're gonna have to look inside yourself and do the hardest thing you've ever done before. You're gonna have to find that strength inside you and do it.

You have to leave that place. Leave the entire area and cut off contact with this man 100%. No contact whatsoever. Don't tell him you're leaving. Just leave. Change your phone number, address, email, everything.

You sound so broken that this will be the only way. You have to first get away to a safe place and then slowly begin to rebuild yourself. It'll take time. You're a beautiful person inside and many of us here have been there before so we understand.

Pull up your boot straps and get on with it. The first day of the rest of your life begins now. Be strong and love yourself.
 
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