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Thread: I chose to leave but still feel lost

  1. #1
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    I chose to leave but still feel lost

    I left my husband about two weeks ago- he has always been verbally abusive and hot headed but this year it really escalated and it got to a point that it was really affecting my mental and even physical health- plus he shoved me the night I left. So I'm currently at my parent's place taking space. However, now after eight years of refusing, he wants to try couples counselling. I'm being encouraged by everyone to at least try it. I am willing to try it virtually, but I feel pretty hopeless about it. Which is a bad attitude I know, but the thing is, he won't even admit that he has been abusive to me. He insists that we just fight too much and that he needs to learn to stop picking stupid fights with me. It's very hard for me to feel hope that he can change if he can't even understand what his behaviour has done to me over time. It's also hard for me to reconcile that someone I love and have had great times with, can also be so terrible to me and clueless about it. I realize no one has any answers, but I'm feeling extreme guilt over wanting to just escape this marriage and start over. He has hope that we can work through this, and feels broken that I honestly tell him I'm not sure what I want. I'm scared about starting over, but it's gotten to a point that I'm okay with the possibility of being alone in life/not having a partner to have kids with- that could be preferable to staying with him and putting up with the way he treats me. He and his family, who I am close to, try to fill my head with ideas of marriage being hard and every couple fighting, but it just seems really off to me. I also have no answers as to why I put up with this for eight years, why I married him when he's always had this side to him, etc. I just really need to talk about this.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Couples counselling is not for abusers. He needs specific therapy designed for abusers. Couples therapy will only reinforce his abusive tendencies as I guarantee he will present himself in the best possible light. And if he's a charming doctor the therapist might not see through it if they are not specifically trained to treat abusers.

    Ask him if he's willing to attend individual therapy for himself that is designed for abusers who wish to stop abusing. See what he says.

    And you also need individual therapy to find out why you accepted abuse and chose to stay. You need healing too.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Don't fall for it. Couples counselling is Contraindicated for abusers. Rather seek your own counselling and an attorney. Stop communicating with him. No one with a good conscience would recommend you get back with him or try couples counselling.

    You need Expert advice from Your Own therapist and an attorney. You also need to google "Cycle of violence". He will get worse, much worse. The 'counselling' is to trick you to get your guard down. You also need to research and educate yourself on abusive relationships.

    Do you live in a culture where families encourage women who flee to go back to their abusers? Why are these friends and family asking you to jump back into a toxic dangerous situation? Do you come from an abusive home?
    Originally Posted by PinkMoonlite
    he shoved me the night I left. he wants to try couples counselling.

  4. #4
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    Following up on Bolt's post, abusers use couples therapy to continue their abuse. You absolutely should not attend couple's therapy with him.

    Also, him making the least amount of effort only after you left does not mean that he deserves another chance. He has been miserable to live with for 8 years and YOU should be working on the relationship? I agree that you need individual therapy to figure out your own life, so take care of that, long term, before you start even thinking about working on this relationship.

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    I needed to hear this, even from multiple people. I don't want to go back, but even through separation and divorce don't couples see a counsellor to mediate? Or is it not worthwhile? We have a virtual session booked for later this week.


    Originally Posted by Wiseman2

    Do you live in a culture where families encourage women who flee to go back to their abusers? Why are these friends and family asking you to jump back into a toxic dangerous situation? Do you come from an abusive home?
    Maybe? Not that I come from an abusive home, but I think culturally people don't really "do" divorce, and to them abuse is only physical. I know better, but I've been confused about when to give up and how long to try. I've tried too long and too hard though, and there are way more reasons to leave than stay.

    I am actually in individual therapy weekly, which has been helpful, but I still struggle with guilt every day. He doesn't really respect my wanting space and is acting a lot more traumatized than I am about the idea of divorce. I'm currently on sick leave from work for a couple more weeks and I'm focused on regulating my eating and sleeping (both were a mess from anxiety), and enjoying time with my parents. But I get waves of fear about embarking on this, even though it's the right decision. I seriously don't know anyone who's been through this and it's like my world has been turned upside down.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Cancel it. You are allowing manipulation. Read up on abusive relationships. No abuser "respects" you on any level, you are just property, like a punching bag when he wants to feel better.

    You need to stop chitchatting with him. Why hasn't your therapist told you this? Unfortunately it will get worse before it gets better for a while. You'll have to focus on the safety of your friends and family and (hopefully) a good therapist.
    Originally Posted by PinkMoonlite
    We have a virtual session booked for later this week.

    I am actually in individual therapy weekly, which has been helpful. He doesn't really respect my wanting space and is acting a lot more traumatized than I am about the idea of divorce.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Stick to your individual therapy. There is only so much family can do for you but you'll have to dig deep and ask yourself whether you want to continue a future with this person. You sound like you have already made up your mind and your family members are muddying the waters. Stick up for yourself a bit more. It's all pain and blood red haze right now, withdrawal, shock, disbelief and chaos. You will get through it if you keep sticking to what you already know and what you hope for in the future.

    What helped me through the first stages of my separation ironically was having a safe space to think, not being around people at all. This meant being in my own space. Staying with family was not an option. No one believed what was happening in the initial weeks and months. It's not until eight or nine months later that I opened up about it to family members and found support.

    Don't jump back into the previous situation. Wait it out and just wait for all the levels and stages of grief to pass. Your first stages of withdrawal and grief are to be absorbed back into the routine. Wait it out and do nothing. Keep working with your therapist and share with him/her your stages.

    Not everyone will understand you or be willing to help you. There are many voices and lots of opinions. You will feel like a broken reed floating in different directions in the current but you'll find your way again as long as you keep asking yourself questions and listening to your instincts.

    You may not be strong enough to know what to do for a long while yet. Keep giving yourself space to think and cry and do nothing. When you're ready to start walking again you will.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Couples counseling is not effective for abusers.

    Just because couples who have not have abuse as an issue attend couples counseling doesn't mean you have to.

    Are you going to continue to allow him to dictate your life?

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    I am truly sorry you are going through this but it seems like you've reach a decision (and a good one, might I add). Personally, I think you should leave him after putting up with this abusive behaviour and disrespect. You don't want to live in this toxic environment for the rest of your life, do you?

    I speak from experience. I was married for 29 years (now divorced for 1.5 years) and I put up with his verbal and emotional abuse for a lot of that time. Why? I guess because I had small children, and I took my vows seriously. Very very stupid, in retrospect. I don't know what I was thinking. But, I can tell you that I feel so much better these days.

    Getting back to you: of course it's scary to leave an eight year marriage but I fear that he will not change. He might shape up for a while but then he'll revert to his old ways. You, dear OP, do not deserve this awful behaviour on his part. You need to focus on your well being and healing. Good for you that you are going to counselling. If you leave him, you will experience a roller coaster of emotions. Please know that this is normal. But, with time, your guilt/heartache will lessen and you will be able to think clearly. I hope that presenting my opinion and experience has helped you in some way. Keep us posted.

  11. #10
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    I agree with the other posters. An abusive person is not someone you try to build something with.
    He's asking for therapy because he's desperate. He never thought you would have the courage to leave him. He doesn't even believe that he has a problem.

    You have to work on your guilt. Very important. Your guilt is what kept you in a toxic relation for so long.

    You also have to start beleiving that you deserve happiness.

    So go for that happiness. You won't get it with him. And like you said, you want kids so no time to lose trying to fix someone through therapy. No time to loose if you want kids.

    Fix yourself, take care of you, stop listening to advices that don't align with Your instincts and go find that nice man who's already sane, respectful and wants to build a family with you.

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