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Because We Need To Talk About It

  1. Bumper Nov 8, 2019

    I was in an abusive relationship for 10 years, it's hard to talk about it because it's usually women who are abused.

    So i have Complex PTSD, from long term exposure to trauma/abuse. I also get bad anxiety attacks. Some things like hyper-vigilence will never leave me & the flashbacks may lessen over time. My tolerence to A holes is zero, my problem is determining if people are in fact A holes, or if it's just my perception of them.. In fact, i had a flashback the day after watching "Joker" last weekend & a day later i woke from a dream screaming.

    To digress a little, the film was too real for me, how he was misunderstood, how he was the victim & yet blamed. He wasn't born that way, he was made that way.

    I think i cracked at the end, i just couldn't take it anymore, i packed all my things and just left. I had to put up with the repercussions for a few weeks, 30-40 missed calls a day, 40-50 text messages, on bad days i just shut the phone off.

    About 2 weeks after i left, I realised i couldn't remember a thing, nothing. I knew i was with her, and for how long, but no details. I was frightened, i didn't dare go out in case i ran into her, i stayed home a lot. The flashbacks started about 5 months later, a smell, a place or a word spoken would trigger one. i was terrified, i didn't know what would set it off.

    The next few years were difficult, dealing with the flashbacks, waking up screaming or crying, i didn't know who i was or what i liked, i realised everything i did was the way she liked & i had no idea what i liked anymore. As cliched as it sounds, i had to find out who i was, what i liked & didn't like. I knew i wasn't quite right, i had no one to turn to, i didn't know what was wrong. All i could do was stay as strong as i could.

    She had issues, that i knew, her dad was a gambler & wife beater. She was also most likely Bi polar. I tried to get her to seek help many times, but now I hope she rots in hell.

    I started seeing a psychiatrist last year, 12 years after i packed my things & left. I felt i had tried my best & held out for too long, & i still needed help to address some issues. i almost gave up because the psychologist who was assessing me kept triggering me. She asked me difficult questions, about things i had not thought about for many years & expected immediate answers, i told her i was thinking but she kept pushing, so I refused to talk to her & requested for another, who was much better.

    The psychiatrist is hopeless, he doesn't look interested, barely asks any questions and only seems interested in prescribing drugs. He didn't even want to make any diagnosis, which after checking around, seems to be the norm. The most he would say was it's an "adjustment disorder". The system itself is meant to make sure you are ok, but it seems to work the opposite way. When you show up for your appointment, you are asked at every step, if you have/had suicidal thoughts ; at the screening, counter & clinic nurse & finally the shrink. They stopped asking when i replied, "If 1 more person asks me, i may very well have suicidal thoughts."

    All the drugs numb you, you don't feel like doing anything or care about anything. I would have things planned, but when it came time to do them, i just could not be bothered. Not hobbies or interests, not even food, you just seem to be in a trance. A trance that goes on for months, lethargic, indifferent, apathetic. They let me sleep initially, but i started waking 3, 4 times a night or more. I'm already a light sleeper, but on anti-depressants, it was ridiculous. The slightest thing would wake me & it was difficult to go to sleep again. In the end, i just stopped taking them, i stopped seeing the shrink & only saw the psychologist. I realised i needed help to find out what my triggers are & why. Then how to deal with it, it's a long road ahead & the end never in sight

    The things i remember;
    threats, criticism, spiteful comments, shaming, ridiculing, insulting, hostile looks, silent treatment, lying, gas-lighting, physical abuse, emotional blackmail...the list goes on. I remember seeing a list once, of all the things that an abusive person does, she actually did every single thing on the list.
    - i was blamed for everything, everything was my fault, i was always wrong.
    - Her constantly belittling or putting me down, my appearance, possessions. "you're useless, petty, stupid, etc"
    - taking, breaking, destroying or throwing away my stuff. But done in a way that she could use as a lever against me.
    - In front of people she would be the complete opposite & pretend to be nice, but in private it was the opposite.
    - i had to apologise for everything, "even when i am wrong, you have to apologise".
    - comparing me to every other man in the world, "why can't you be more like xxx?"
    - She would purposely take the opposing point of view for everything, if a car cut me off & i honked, i would get told off for getting angry.
    - If i didn't agree to anything, the arguments would start. About nothing, over nothing, it would just do my head in.

    Some incidents i remember;

    - She was quiet the whole day, i asked if anything was wrong, or if she wanted to talk. Her reply was " Why? Is something wrong? Did YOU want to talk about something?" . I said no.... she kept quiet the rest of the day while i waited for the explosion. Nothing happened till late at night, as i was lying in bed reading, she was tossing & turning. When i finally fell asleep, she was waiting... she elbowed, then kicked me awake at 2am. I told her that since i already asked, & she had nothing to say, she should stop her nonsense & go to sleep. Of course it was rejected even though i said everything she wanted to hear, apologised for whatever it was I did that made her that angry. She actually said "you're not getting away with it that easily" She refused to accept anything i said. Then at 7am she said she wanted make up sex, i was already numb, I told her nothing in the world could induce me have sex after a night like that, which started another round of "you don't care about me, you only care about yourself, you're the most selfish man i have ever known..." The rest of the day, i got text messages blaming me for her being tired at work, for keeping her up all night..

    - Another time she tried to start a fight, i refused to argue, i told her so & walked away to sit on the sofa. She snuck up behind me & clapped her hands right next to my ear, the ringing didn't stop for 2 days & i have some hearing loss from that.

    - I had a fever, and was sleeping in bed when her parents arrived for a visit, she told me to get up or her parents would think i'm useless for sleeping in so late. I said no, she stood in bed & literally kicked me off with her foot.

    - She threw my clothes into the wash, including 2 brand new shirts, along with a red rag. When all the clothes came out pink, she played the victim in front of her sisters, saying i would get angry, i would blame her, etc. So i have 3 women telling me off, how she meant well, etc. (This is because I did all the housework, all laundry, ironing, cleaning, she started fights when she found hair on the floor )

    - Somehow she got pregnant, i said i wanted to keep it. She didn't. I begged her, she said she would lose her figure, delay her promotion at work, get tired... i said she had no figure, she could choose not to take maternity leave & go straight back to work, i would care for the baby completely & hire some help if i needed. She didn't want it, she got rid of it. I forgot all about this incident till i had a flashback at work, it was hard to keep from crying. Then i forgot about it again & had another flashback. I console myself by thinking that maybe it wasn't mine, and friends have told me the same.

    There are plenty more, but i don't want to remember.

    For people who ask why i was with her, or why i didn't just leave...
    It wasn't always like this, it didn't start like this. She drew me in & when i thought i would rescue her from her problems it got flipped around. Slowly, over the years, you get so sick of the fights that to avoid them you just do what she wants.

    Why didn't i leave earlier? She was so good at pretending to be nice to me in front of our families that both sides would take her side. Also, she would tell me that if i left, she would kill herself. And she would make sure everyone blamed me for it. "I will kill myself in front of you", " If you leave, i will jump down the building", "If you don't apologise right now & beg me to forgive you for thinking of leaving i will slit both my wrists".

    The last time she said it to me, i told her to go ahead, and i walked off.
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  2. JimInOz Melbourne Australia Nov 8, 2019

    So, aside from that, howz things?

    <end bloke joke phase>

    I thought I had a shit time when I got divorced but it's hard for me to imagine the pressure/stress etc that you went through.

    I was on the brink of pulling the pin, but got talking to a neighbour one night when I was putting the bin out. He had been divorced for a few years and just chatting with him bought me back to reality and got me back on track.

    Hopefully you're now free of the burden (her) and can start planning your new life.
    janice&fred and Bumper like this.
  3. michael22 Nov 8, 2019

    Hey @Bumper , thanks for sharing.
    I'm glad you escaped from the psycho.
  4. Bumper Nov 8, 2019

    Thanks guys :)

    Me too...

    Don't know if you can ever really escape it, Psychologist likened it to being a prisoner of war, trapped, at the mercy of your abuser. Some of them never really recovered, i must admit the thought did enter my mind but i was like "i'd rather kill her than kill myself".
    I thought i was fine, but some things were/are triggering me so the missus & my bff had an intervention of sorts. Current missus is great, but i can't talk to her about "it", there are some things she can't grasp..

    I hope you're doing fine too Jim :)
  5. Longbow Nov 8, 2019

    @Bumper, after reading your post I thought you were describing my “Ex”. Same behavior, almost to the letter. You end up drifting into the role of gentle, weak, victim; depressed, confused, unmotivated etc etc....been there, done that. The strange thing is that it stops when you switch to Alpha-male Mode and stop behaving like a little puppy (at least it did for me).

    I suspect that your friends and family will end up saying “we didn’t want to mention it at the time but we could all see that she was bad news”.

    Are there really more women abused by men? Psychologically I don’t believe it for one second; it’s not exactly something that blokes like to own up to.

    PM me if you want to talk.
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  6. BlackTalon This Space for Rent Nov 8, 2019

    @Bumper, my god, you went through hell! Glad you have made it out the other side. It makes my 10-year relationship with my ex seem like a heartwarming love story. It's amazing how they can be so nice to everyone outside of the house, and then direct all of their anger, anxiety, depression, etc. on those who are the closest to them. And they initially draw you in by being super nice, loving, etc., and gradually over a couple of years you become their dumping ground. And as you say, they slowly take away your whole identity, and your home life is devoted to walking on eggshells and putting them before anything else. It's a shitty way to live. It took me close to two year to 'get my life back', rebuild abandoned friendships, restart hobbies and sports I enjoyed before I met her, etc. And on top of it all you often need years to recover from the financial settlements, as in a divorce they can get very nasty and try to ruin you.

    This thread has interested me from the start, as it is therapeutic reading about those who have problems are are trying to work their way out of it. My ex rarely tried; she went to a couple therapists over the years, but had no interest in sticking with it, and the meds she went on a couple of times often made things worse. It is good to read about people trying to overcome/ deal with their depression and anxiety issues, as I have been on the other side of the table and experienced how much damage can be done to the spouse and immediate family members.
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  7. tyrantlizardrex Nov 8, 2019

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  8. alam Nov 8, 2019

    :eek: I guess some of us are just lucky to have stayed away from the path of wackos and psychos.. :coffee:
    Bumper likes this.
  9. Tigeranteater Nov 8, 2019

    Your ex had Borderline Personality Disorder not Bipolar. Do a little reading on Borderline Personality Disorder and it will help you come to terms of understanding and possibly healing. It has helped me. I’m very sorry you went through hell like that. Do not let it define you. That’s easier said than done. It is possible to heal.
  10. X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Nov 8, 2019

    One can easily have both Borderline and Bipolar, the combination is not a pretty thing.
  11. Bumper Nov 9, 2019

    In the beginning i was totally lost, she played me easily, i didn't understand what was going on. She must have been 4-5 steps ahead of me. She knew all the buttons to push, i didn't understand why we were arguing all the time. But i always got the blame, it was because i was petty, inconsiderate, mean, unkind, young, stupid, etc The list was never ending. When i should have been happy spending time with her, i left angry, frustrated all the time. I was genuinely perplexed, it never occurred to me that she was doing any of these on purpose.

    After a few years, i tried different tacts, i started to think that maybe it wasn't always my fault all the time, i tried being nice, i tried showing more attention, less attention, Alpha male? She got angrier & louder, she would out-alpha me by shouting me down. I think it has to do with her dad beating up her mom when they were younger. It stopped by the time i came on the scene, but i think she was identifying herself with her mom, except that this time, her mom always won. Of course i didn't realise i was playing that role till much later.

    Just when i thought i figured out how she thought, she'd change the ob markers. I was working in Melbourne, she asked me to come back. When i came back, she immediately took a position in HK for 2 years. It was just frustrating. I visited HK frequently, once, going from the airport to meet her in a mall, she screamed at me, can't remember why or what was said, then stormed off. Left me standing there there with the luggage for over an hour. (she'd recently moved & i didn't know the address) I remember feeling miserable & thinking if i should just go straight back to the airport & catch the next flight home.

    She also constantly spent all my money, i was always paying off bills. Her demands for gifts got more expensive, but she never ever spent any money on me, not that i ever asked for anything. She'd laugh & say "i didn't know what to get you, so i got you nothing.". She also stole money, & borrowed money with no intention of repaying any, when i left her i was almost broke.

    Sorry it comes out in bits & pieces, as i type something, other memories come out..

    She had 2 lucid moments in 10 years, once she said she liked starting the arguments so the making up would make her feel good. The other time i told we we should get help if we're always fighting & miserable. She screamed that she wasn't crazy & didn't need help. She also had no friends, none that she spoke to, & never anyone she went out with. That's a red flag there, because every waking moment she only has you, and why no friends?

    Her traps were elaborate, sometimes taking days to play out. I often wondered if she thought them out in advance or just played them along. One of her favourites was comparing me to her ex, according to what she said, he was a brilliant conversationalist, cultured, intelligent & a social chameleon who could fit into any situation. They could talk about anything, and they would laugh at the sad couples they saw who were silent at dinner, who had run out of things to say to each other. So after mentioning Mr Perfect, all her answers to me became monosyllabic & closed.

    What do you want to do? nothing
    Where would you like to go? don't know.
    What do you want for dinner? shrugs
    Did you read the news about the new xxx? No.

    Awkward silence, then "you really have nothing to say to me?" ...Cue argument.
    Then i would become the sad person who had nothing to say.

    The last 6 months were the worst, I had tried everything, i tried talking to her sisters, who brushed me off. My last hope was marriage counselling. She'd strung me along saying she wanted to get married, then ask why we had to. She asked for a large diamond ring, but never wore it. She wanted kids, then changed her mind. Both our families were asking why what was going on, So she went through the motions making plans that would never happen. We went for 1 session of the marriage counselling when the pastor pulled me aside & said he was referring me to someone more senior.

    The senior pastor spoke to us together, then separately told me to give her no reason at all to make her unhappy. She went ballistic from the moment we left church. She looked spaced out, didn't say much, arguments got more intense, things she said got meaner. It got worse with each session, i think we had 3. By then my routine was ridiculous. The more i did, the more was demanded, it got to the point where it was like this.

    - i had to rush home from work,
    - had to talk to her for 2 hrs till she fell asleep,
    - only then could i have dinner, alone

    then i had to
    - wash up everything
    - do the laundry
    - fold, iron & put away all her clothes as well as her sisters'
    - sweep & mop the whole house.

    She picked on every little thing, hair on the floor meant i didn't sweep or mop, a glass in the sink, that fucking glass... "Did you leave that FOR ME TO WASH?" AM I NOT TIRED AFTER WORK? YOU CAN'T EVEN DO 1 SIMPLE THING I TELL YOU TO!" YOU THINK I HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN TO WASH YOUR GLASSES?! Imagine that, for an hour.

    I think i left a week after that, i never found out the Pastor's plan, but he did tell me 1 thing, if she harmed or killed herself, it wasn't my fault. He stressed this very emphatically. Maybe he counselled a lot of people, maybe he sensed it, i certainly didn't tell him about her threats.

    That reminded me of something, she used to say mean things, that got progressively worse, then run out of the room to where her sisters were. Being stupid, i'd rush out after her & ask why she said that. She'd be a completely different person,

    "huh? what are you talking about"
    "you know what i'm talking about"
    "See, he does this all the time, he's crazy, always wanting to argue & scold me"

    Cue 3 women laying into me

    What mean things,

    "You're petty, so petty, i have never met a pettier person in the world"
    "You're stupid, don't even know such a simple thing, how can anyone be so stupid"
    "You're useless, can't even satisfy me, xxx used to satisfy me, you're not a man"

    i mentioned bipolar disorder because 1 of her nieces had it, possibly a sister, i just thought it might run in the family. Also because of this 1 incident.

    Once, we had lunch out then went home. Everything was fine, no drama, no outward signs of anything wrong or impending fight. she went to the bedroom & was silent for too long. I went to check & found her changed into her sleeping clothes, sitting on the floor with tears streaming down her face, she was sobbing quite badly. I was shocked, this was a new one to me. I asked what was wrong, she ignored me, it was like i wasn't even there. She had earphones on, with music playing. i took them off & asked what happened, she just put them in again. This went on for 20 min, no reaction from her, tired, hoarse, i said i needed a drink of water.

    The moment i left the room, she let out a blood curdling scream, as if she was being stabbed. I rushed in panicked, asked her what was wrong, nothing again. Shook her by the shoulders, nothing, just nothing.

    Repeated cycle for 2 hours, leave, scream, run in, nothing. Shout at her, nothing.

    Finally i punched the wall in frustration, she curled up in a ball screaming " don't hit me! don't hit me!"

    I'd never hit her, near the end it seemed like she was trying to get me to do it. Purposely egging me on, breaking stuff in front of me, throwing my things in the bin then asking me to throw the rubbish out, pushing me physically, poking me in the chest, forehead, slapping me, spitting, all the while saying her mean things. It was very difficult to take, i asked her why she was doing this, i cried, she just didn't stop.

    If she did have both, i wouldn't be surprised.
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  12. michael22 Nov 9, 2019

    Sounds more like depression than bipolar. Plus borderline personality.
    Doesn't matter any more.
  13. Wryfox Nov 15, 2019

    You know, the thing is for men we want to rescue the damsel in distress...its in our DNA...except some don't want to be rescued...they just want the continual rescuing because it feeds the emptiness of their insecurity. There is no rescue possible. How could she think of these elaborate schemes? Because she's an expert..she spent her whole life doing it. You didn't have a chance quite frankly. I'm sure it was learned from her family, from a young age.

    The point is though, this was normal for her. It's all she knew so there wasn't a guilt factor to it. It just was how to live life. I've seen it closely in a dear friend for years with his girlfriend. I'd shout at him to wake up, but no...he was thoroughly caught in the web of her passive aggressive games. He started very risky behavior, life threatening behavior...I suspect because he knew he was trapped, and going out in an "accident" was, to him, a viable way out.

    It is painful to watch...and we ended our friendship because he couldn't go anywhere without her(she wouldn't let him), and I saw her manipulations first hand so much it disgusted me. One of the weird ones was always having to go the bathroom. If we were driving around and if we talked too much to each other she would demand we stop somewhere so she could to go to the bathroom. This happened anywhere. As soon as he didn't pay attention to to find a bathroom ...and make him wait(or us wait). I once told him man she must great in the sack to put up with this. He said they didn't even have sex, though she would tease him endlessly. F**ing nuts. He finally got a job across the country and disappeared, but by that time it had gone on for at least 7yrs I know of. So, you know, its not just you.
  14. michael22 Nov 15, 2019

    Pity the couple with kids in a relationship like that.
    pdxleaf likes this.
  15. Walrus Nov 15, 2019

    Very sad. I wish I could read these experiences and think they were a small percentage for the population but so many of us deal with tragedy all to frequently. A few months ago my life really turned upside down and I was quite lost. Not that things have improved greatly but after some time your mind starts to see the bigger picture and just because things suck at a certain period it doesn’t mean they will continue like that. Suicides many times come about when people are stuck in the moment and see no hope of change or any other way out. It’s bad stuff. My best to everyone going through the shit right now. Things change, it’s not always great but it changes
  16. KynaSD Mar 13, 2020

    This is too important to hide or ignore...thank you for sharing
  17. Bumper Mar 16, 2020

    I had a flashback last night ; she would shift her grip on my hand if we were going down any steps or stairs so that she'd hold only my little finger. Think holding a stick, except the stick is the little finger. And, she would always happen to slip or lose her balance, every single time. If i shook her hand off or stopped her, an argument would ensue. It was extremely painful, the finger was sprained many times, possibly fractured at least once. Just one of the many little things that added spice to each day...

    Guess which finger?

    Yup, that's right. you get none, you can't initiate it or you'll get a barrage of abuse. And if it does happen, it's just painful, a set sequence must happen, and if you don't follow the steps, it's more abuse. eg; background music, scented candles, soft lighting, 2hrs of painful conversation to get her in the was maybe 3 times a year? It was used as a weapon, a threat, a carrot to dangle in front of you, i was pretty much put off by it anyway.

    The thought did come many times, still does, but i tell myself that she'd win if i did... I just kept myself busy to the point of exhaustion, still do. You're never doing nothing, if you do, you just start thinking about the things that have happened, so keeping busy & finding things to do is important. Once you get started, it gets easier. I think i'm lucky it doesn't hit me badly. I shut it down straight away & find something to do, you just never stop. If you let yourself wallow, it's a hole that gets bigger & deeper. I only drank late at night, when i was really exhausted & still can't sleep, i needed something to deliver a knockout. Tried everything, valerian pills, chamomile tea, lavender, even sleeping pills had no effect. I think you get so keyed up waiting for something to happen that the body is always tense. Even now, i sleep between 4 to 6 hrs a night, maybe a little more on weekends.

    Also, as info in case anyone's interested, you're always scanning, crowds, buildings, gatherings, situations, everything, everywhere you go. I have to know where the exits are, I have to know where i can get a weapon, find a tool, where the danger is, where to seek shelter, who to steer clear of, who is in that group of people over there, if they attacked me, who would i tackle first. i need to know how things work, why it works and so on.

    So mentally, it can get exhausting. But on the plus side, i know where to go to buy stuff i need.

    It's been years, but i don't think it goes away. I may think less about it, but there's nothing you can do about flashbacks.
    Walrus likes this.
  18. Walrus Mar 19, 2020

    Sounds like the situation you went through left you with ptsd to a degree. Looks like you will have that finger as a lifelong reminder, not that you need it.
  19. SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 21, 2020

    @Bumper I can tell you that flashbacks can go away - but not if you try to do it alone.

    EMDR is really effective. PM me if you need to. There are ways for it to heal and not scar, with some dedicated effort and the right assistance.
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  20. pdxleaf ... May 8, 2020

    This thread touched a nerve. Thank you to everyone who shared. When you are suffering, there seems to be no way out, no way to make it stop. But it will. Time doesn't heal everything but it can help.

    Sometimes it helps to know you aren't alone. Witness the people here. Many have been experienced mental pain and come through it. Of course, we have our own, unique demons and trials. We can't know exactly what you are going through but we can offer hope, and encouragement to hang on.

    Life changes. Nothing stays the same, not even the bad days.
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