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To what degree is it a sign of things to come?


LilSprout

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Please move if this thread is incorrectly placed, many thanks.

 

Ok I should make this clear I am EXTREMELY nervous about sharing this. Mostly because of the judgement it is likely to incur on both myself and the man I care for very much.

 

(You can read more on my past relationship here and here.)

 

I'll just come right out and say it, I think my ex and I may have had an incident of physical domestic violence.

 

I've kept this quiet to a lot of people because I did not want people to think badly of him and generally I still don't but I would be lying if I said it did not worry and even scare me. To note here: I have considered taking my ex back a lot, though would only seriously contemplate if he asked me about it however this one occurrence makes me very anxious about the notion of taking him back, his attitude to the whole situation is very concerning to me.

 

I'll explain. Basically back in June when we were still together (we'd just had our 1 year anniversary) he did something very out of character. We were in the kitchen talking to his brother and his new gf (this was the second time I had met her) and I can't remember what was said but if I recall he said something a bit dippy and I jokingly call him out on it; this itself was not uncommon, I mean it's just banter. But then after a moment he pushed me, he pushed me in the face and with enough force so I stumbled into the adjacent wall. It came out of nowhere! It was like...perhaps he was embarrassed in front of this girl and it was a strange instinctive reaction, very very child like but not playful. No one said anything about it, either at that moment or afterwards (which I think is very odd because, as I said, it was right in front of his brother and gf).

 

At first I wondered if it was an accident. I used to do this thing when he was saying silly stuff, I would place my hand on his face and turn it the other way, as if to say 'oh quiet you' but never with any force. I wondered if he'd tried to do that same but not known his own strength. But here's where I get really worried, he never apologised for it, not properly. You would think if it was an accident he would immediately be saying sorry, helping me up etc, I mean we've all been there; making arm gestures not knowing someone is behind us and whacking them in the face. One of my best mates nearly broke my arm once cos he was playing too rough but he was immediately apologetic and embarrassed. Accidents do happen.

 

When we were alone not long after the incident I was understandably angry, especially as I was embarrassed at the impression given to his brother's new gf. I demanded an apology. He said sorry three times but he wouldn't have if I hadn't said anything and none of it sounded very genuine. He made it sound like I was making a deal out of nothing. Now I look back I definitely should have packed my things and left without a word because honestly I think it's unacceptable and utterly appalling the lack of understanding from his point of view at the seriousness of that situation. He still to this day hasn't apologised for it and when I would bring it up (because it did come up a few times during the BU when we were still talking) he would always ignore the point entirely.

 

What makes me so uneasy about it is how unpredictable it was. We weren't fighting, or arguing or anything like that, it was....just impulsive and spontaneous, like how a child acts when embarrassed by parents or a sibling (I used to recall my younger sister shouting at me and punching me in the arm etc when she was young if I embarrassed her in front of ppl). He generally showed none of the 'key' signs of an abusive partner, he certainly wasn't jealous or controlling, he didn't call me names, he could be a little critical I suppose but not enough that I would red flag it (I've been emotionally and verbally abused before in relationships so I know how to recognise it), has wasn't manipulative, he did not threaten or blackmail. It was just this one freak incident but it really worries me.

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You're broken up. And he has a new girlfriend now.

 

Since you're no longer together, how is this a sign of things to come? You're no longer in a relationship with him.

 

Very true. It doesn't really effect me anymore.

 

But the incident still nags me bad because I have no idea where it came from.

 

Additionally it's so I know what to look out for in future relationships. If this was an act of physical abuse it means I have suffered abuse in BOTH my relationships. I don't want to make the mistake of picking someone like that again.

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To be honest, I think you just miss him and are looking for excuses to write about him and re-experience the relationship.

 

I don't blame you. Breaking up is hard.

 

There are sites online that list early warning signs of potential abusers, if you really feel this is something you need to be careful of in the future.

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Well, there are no signs of abuse until there is abuse. So that was your sign.

 

Really, I would have been totally shocked if someone grabbed my face and pushed me. But you also have to take responsibility for stopping physically aggressive moves like putting your hand on his face and pushing it when you want him to be quiet, even if you think it is a joke. I would never do that. Some women think because they are women they should be entitled to physically push around, slap, shove men while they ridicule or argue with them, and the men are supposed to just take it because she's a girl, but those could qualify as assaults legally and would put you in the position of being the one who started the fight.

 

So you need to work on your own behavior, to not manhandle men when you are verbally ridiculing them (in jest or otherwise) or legally you 'own' the start of that incident. Yours was a tiny shove if you shoved your face away from you, but still a shove. And it encourages him to return in kind.

 

So it was very wrong of him to shove your face, but you set a precedent by pushing his face around yourself. And 'calling someone out' is ridiculing someone when they say something, so you probably need to stop and think about that and how your behavior might humiliate and escalate things.

 

But to this case, he is an ex and gone. So live and learn. Try not to ridicule other people, and also don't shove men around physically thinking you'll get a pass and it is OK because you're a girl. It just isn't. Pushing his face when you want him to be quiet is one step from a slap, and not appropriate under any circumstances, joke or otherwise. Violence tends to escalate, and once it enters a relationship, it starts with a shove, then a push, then a slap etc. So it sounds to me like you and your ex were NOT a good combination and pulled each other chains in a negative way, so you are better off staying away from him and just moving on.

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Wow I positively disgusted with this.

 

I am 100% not a violent person physically or otherwise. I am certainly NOT an abusive partner.

 

We all have playful things with our partners and what I did with him was totally playful and we both agreed that. And ridiculing? Never ever ever have I ridiculed someone I loved or cared about, jested and joked but never ridiculed. I have a wide circle of friends who would vouch for this, I am certainly not a malicious person in neither my words nor my actions.

 

I've seen many close friendships and romantic relationships where the people involved would, as you would state, 'ridiculed' each other and it is always in good humour and I have never seen that be a reason or excuse for physical violence nor emotional/verbal abuse. Nor have I seen it deteriorate a relationship in the way you are implying. When you are close to someone, or have a personal relationship what is the point of walking on eggshells and being uncomfortable constantly. I'm sorry but I just do not agree. I think you are blowing small, playful and actually subtly affectionate action WAY out of proportion.

 

I have been verbally and emotionally abused before, I'm no fool I know the difference between a joke and someone actively trying to harm me with their language.

 

I'm sorry but I totally disagree and actually I would be lying if I wasn't pretty furious that anyone would dare to insinuate I was an abusive person. Really really shocked by that.

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But that's what I mean, I've read a lot of those sites before and there were absolutely no warning signs in this relationship until that moment where he pushed me.

 

Makes me feel cursed or like I make men into monsters.

 

EDITED: I just looked at your other posts and saw you're broken up with the ex. So I'm revising my post since I thought you had gotten back together with him. Sorry, my bad that I didn't read it closely enough.

 

Look, as someone who worked at a women's shelter in Los Angeles for over a decade I am going to tell you straight up that there often isn't any warning sign before physical abuse starts. There just isn't. And it doesn't matter who the person is, being physically abused or an abuser touches everyone from every walk of life, socio and economic strata there is. The fact that you feel scared and the fact that the shove came out of nowhere is yes, a warning sign. And you need to listen to your gut on this and stop trying to argue it away. There are however usually red flags of other behaviors and that's what you need to be examining right now. I notice you mention he could be critical, but then you try to explain that away. And I would advise you to maybe take the time to work out and learn what normal behaviors are and to stop excusing others bad behaviors. It isn't up to you to apologize if someone else becomes verbally abusive and you do know the difference. Criticism is where someone tells you that you need to not get so upset over something and to just talk to them instead. Verbal abuse is where they tell you something like, "You are such an ugly crybaby, you know that?"

 

I am not going to say anything "bad" or "judgmental" here but I am going to level with you. What you feel, the shame and the worry and the protectiveness towards your ex are all warning signs that you seem to think you deserve or somehow cause the bad behavior. And you don't, ever. But that is the earmark of someone who's been abused either verbally or physically in the past in his or her life. So that's when therapy and maybe reading a few books on abusive behavior and how to spot someone who may be exhibiting signs of being an abuser can come in really handy. You call yourself a monster and that worries me, because that label is so far out of proportion to what either of you did in this incident that I can't help but feel someone else earlier is the one who labeled you that. And now whenever you experience anything like that earlier experience your default setting is to go to that label.

 

Neither of you is a monster. A monster is someone like that guy who locked up three young girls in his house for ten years. A monster isn't someone who has one incident bordering on domestic abuse. I don't think what happened was anything other than a warning sign that things were not right with your ex and that yes, it was abusive. It was a warning sign yes, and now you're free and clear of him. So stay away from him, focus on yourself and please go talk to someone or at least educate yourself on the nature of abusive relationships. You shouldn't be feeling like you're a monster for speaking up about what could have escalated into something worse.

 

You aren't a monster, not even close.

 

P.S. I would however urge you not to engage in rough housing type play with others though since too many times a) that's how an abuser sort of starts grooming you towards the idea that a punch or a slap or a shove was just play with an "Oops, don't know my own strength" behind it. Until they drop the pretense anyways. b) Sometimes those types of behaviors escalate if one or both people rough housing get angry. And c) it can be learned behavior from people who are abusive and you in turn start to mimic it. So I would say stay away from that sort of behavior altogether, it just never ends in anything but flared tempers or bruises and injuries anyways. There is no such thing as safe rough housing in my eyes and it can be a gateway to later, more serious physical abuse. My two cents on that and I know others may disagree, but I have made my observations that it's not normal for someone to shove or pinch or hit you in "play." Animals do it, because they're learning how to defend themselves and to hurt and kill other creatures for food. We aren't animals, end of story.

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OK, so when you do it it is just 'fun' or 'roughhousing,' but when he does it it is abuse?

 

You have to try to not label the PERSON but understand the BEHAVIOR that leads to escalating tension and abuse in relationships. For example, he could say that push that he gave you was no different then the shoves you give his face and that it wasn't abusive or intended to be abusive and hence he is not an abuser.

 

People take very wrong turns when they try to label the PERSON rather than analyzing the BEHAVIOR. And you were both crossing the line in terms of manhandling each other in ways that were not purely affectionate but done in the context of saying 'oh shut up' (then you push his face), then you 'call him on something' (which is a form of ridicule) then he shoves your face.

 

So don't let your ego get involved when analyzing situations for whether they are dangerous/escalating/legally actionable. If you lay hands on someone for anything less than a caress, then it could be considered legally actionable, whether you do it or he does it. And you need to be aware of that and act accordingly rather than getting hung up on labels where you want to label him as an abuser because he shoved your face, while you consider yourself 'playful' when you shove his. He could use the exact same argument as you do, and legally he is correct, because in both cases they were shoves during incidents where ridicule/tension was involved.

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I have to agree with Lavender. While his shoving was unnecessarily rough, your history of manhandling him likely set the precedent. In addition, there is nothing more disrespectful than ridiculing a partner in front of others and when they get upset...throwing out the smoke or !he, I was.only joking"

 

So....as to your concern "do I turn men into monsters?"....my answer is; your passive aggressive need to belittle them in the guise of joking may strain their last nerve. And that is something you should think about.

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Having read the story as an outsider I really think you are causing yourself problems and almost bringing yourself issues when really there doesn't need to be any over this .

 

What he did wasn't good , he clearly had little remorse for whatever reason , but it was a one off incident and I think it would benefit you if you just move on from it rather than dwelling on it and wondering why he never gave you a substantial apology . Don't mistake my words for meaning what he did was ok ...but it was an isolated incident , you are no longer together and I think you are feeding your imagination a little too much by scraping over it all .

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It's hard to read your situation, but I know my ex used to antagonise me and it she would say things that were borderline abusive and embarrass me at times in front of others. But because it came from a woman, I only look like half a man for complaining about it. It would drive me crazy and make me feel really demeaned.

 

It sounds like you kind of antagonized him, and it possibly reached a boiling point. There was no precedent of his behaviour either, so maybe he was just fed up with your comments. Perhaps your interactions fueled that incident, it's hard to say, but if you were being mean to him, no matter what your intention was, it may have triggered him to respond instinctually. Now Im not saying his behaviour is justified, and had I done that to my ex, she would have left me with no second thought. So pushing you is a behaviour you should have not stood for.

 

What I think you need to look at though is both how you treat him and he treated you. Otherwise as others have said, you guys are not dating anymore, so you shouldnt even be worrying about this anymore.

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I would look at it more as: the first relationship was definitely abusive, so that is making you hyper-aware to any possible abuse in the second relationship. So instead of worrying that it's a pattern, why not see it as an improvement? You are now aware and can address things as they come up in any future relationships.

 

I also agree with the poster who noted that you may still want to talk about the relationship because it's a way of remaining connected to it. Perhaps consider letting the analysis go at this point.

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