Physical Abuse in Relationship, but it wasn't all the time? (triggers)

  • 4 Replies
  • 967 Views
*

cherrywine

  • Member
  • 7
    • View Profile
Hello, I'm new to the forums. Discovered it today after a couple weeks of spiralling. I've been drinking, spending money, letting myself get into a mess, not showering, missing work, sleeping all day, not taking my medication, going clubbing and looking for men to hurt me.

I've only recently got a sort-of diagnosis of PTSD (my doctors both "don't believe" in diagnosing mental health difficulties). I'm not currently having any therapy or professional support. My "problems" have always been looked at in isolation when I go to the doctor or have been in CBT, never as a whole set of things that have happened. I was in an extremely controlling/emotionally abusive relationship from the ages of 14 to 16, raped at 16, assaulted at 17, in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship between 17 and 21, raped again at the start of this year and assaulted on a couple of occasions this year while drunk at clubs. My self esteem is nil, my self loathing is through the roof.

Despite considering myself someone who is really clued up on abusive relationships (I campaign in my university on sexual violence and abusive relationships) I spent four years (three at university) with a man who treated me awfully. He was incredibly jealous and I'd always be walking on eggshells worrying about whether or not I've made him angry by doing something. He would be so jealous about people we lived with, which made it hard to just live in this house with people. I felt so trapped and embarrassed by his behaviour. 

When he was drunk he could fly off the handle at any point, it wouldn't always lead to him being violent towards me but he would get extremely angry and confrontational with me. On the rare occasions that he would get physical, he would: pull my hair, pull me about by my hair, shove me, put his hand around my throat, bite my face, drag me by my arm or clothes, rip my clothes.

I honestly didn't even THINK of this as abnormal, abusive or an unhealthy relationship. In the morning things would always be different, he'd act like nothing happened or that we were equally bad. It didn't help that people around me would carry on as normal (we had a room each in a house share with 6 other people). They would drink with him as if everything was normal.

Even now I can't help but feel like I'm exaggerating the impact of this relationship, that those things weren't actually that bad in context because they didn't happen often and that I'd provoke him like knock his drink over, walk off or dig my nails in his skin. I mean if it was really REALLY bad, wouldn't our friends/housemates have done something or wouldn't want to drink with him anymore? Am I just blowing this out of proportion to make myself feel like an innocent party in the relationship? Has anyone been in a similar kind of relationship?

*

Three Roses

  • Guest
Re: Physical Abuse in Relationship, but it wasn't all the time? (triggers)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 03:04:55 AM »
Hello and welcome, cherrywine! Glad you found us. :)

Lots of us here have been in that sort of relationship. Sometimes we recognized it as abuse, sometimes not. But, we knew we weren't happy and it seems we all just felt that it was probably our fault.

I'm sorry no one in that house had the compassion and courage to speak up for you. :hug:

Chances are you are not blowing anything out of proportion; statistics show that more often than not, we minimize what's been done to us, and excuse it.

Again, welcome and thanks for joining.  :)

*

cherrywine

  • Member
  • 7
    • View Profile
Re: Physical Abuse in Relationship, but it wasn't all the time? (triggers)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2016, 04:11:20 AM »
Hi Three Roses! Thank you :) I'm new to forums in general so I hope I can figure out how to use it to help me.

I feel like I'd say the exact same thing to someone else but I find it very hard to believe it for myself (don't we all??).

One thing I struggle with a lot is finding a way to express what I'm thinking/feeling in a healthy way and communicating with others what is going on with me.

*

radical

  • Member
  • 847
    • View Profile
Re: Physical Abuse in Relationship, but it wasn't all the time? (triggers)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 06:40:29 AM »
Hi Cherrywine,

I'm embarrassed to say that I was a volunteer at a refuge for families escaping violence and coercive control, all the while in an abusive relationship myself in which I was 'occasionally' kicked, hit, slapped, pushed, dragged across the room by my hair, had things thrown at me etc.  It was also very psychologically violent, and I was often raped. I was intimidated and controlled, but I was an activist, so how could I be?

The power of denial.  I had so many excuses for him, for me staying, for believing what was happening was 'different'.  So many ways to forget, minimise or compartmentalise memories.  I was a hypocrite, being there, but I didn't mean to be and didn't know, even though in flashes I'd see myself in someone else's story, felt chilled to the bone, experienced cognitive dissonance like I was breaking apart, then thought about something else and forgot again.

I didn't have any idea of what a healthy relationship even looked like, and all I had to compare it with was the perpetual war-zone of my childhood, in which the fighting never ended and there was no kindness, affection or laughter except when visitors very occasionally called-by.  (My brother called me The Sulk because I was unable to swing instantly into a smiling facsimile of normal when that happened, but froze instead).

*

Dee

  • Member
  • 1489
    • View Profile
Re: Physical Abuse in Relationship, but it wasn't all the time? (triggers)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2016, 01:24:03 PM »

I was in an abusive marriage.  I honestly didn't understand that it was abusive or wrong.  I thought that was what marriage was like.  I keep gaining an understanding of how abusive it was.  The last couple days have been especially hard because I am starting to understand some of the questions my therapist has been asking me over the last year.  I am just now starting to get the extent of the abuse.  It is hard to sit here after the fact and realize just how bad it was.  I've been struggling with being angry at myself for not knowing.  I feel stupid for being an adult and not protecting myself.

I did grow up in an abusive home.  I do think that played into not knowing what a marriage could and should be like.  However, I also feel this happens to a lot of people that don't come from abuse.  The relationship sucks you in, the good times make it feel like you are silly to think this is anything other than good.  It gets so confusing.  Even as I type this I am thinking of how I would sit in my car, in front of my house, crying because I didn't want to go in and I am thinking, maybe that should have been a clue.  I tend to believe that if you think it was that bad, it was, perhaps even worse than you can process right now.

Unfortunately for me, I endured hours of texts last night with him making demands of what I should do about our son not doing his homework.  I can say that I no longer panic and feel like I have to do what he tells me.  I might reply to one or two to tell him I am handling it, but I no longer explain myself and once I said what I feel is enough I ignore the texts.  I can't wait until my youngest, 16, turns 18.  Still because we have kids he will always be in my life to some extent, but now I have more control.