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I chose to leave but still feel lost


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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.

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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.

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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?

he shoved me the night I left. he wants to try couples counselling.
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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.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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BTW, abusers do it because they like it. They feel you "deserve" it or you "made" them do it, but in reality they like to see you cower, cry, beg them to stop and declare your love for them. Why would they want to give that up?

 

That's why "couples counselling" doesn't work. They will not willingly give up something that gives them so much pleasure.

 

He has to admit he does it, he has to want to stop and he has to willingly attend specific abuser's counseling. And he has to stick with it, not give up after one session because the therapist is trying to teach him how to stop abusing.

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Besides what other's have said, another major point of consideration is the scary thought of having children with this man. Children bring lots of joy, but also bring a great deal of stress into one's life. He's a high risk of being just as abusive to children, and perhaps he'd even be worse with them.

 

It's your life and nobody else has a say so. Yes, leave and enjoy the freedom of pampering yourself--beginning a new life without abuse. Boosting your own self-esteem will take a good long while to achieve, but have faith you can do the work to make it happen.

 

I left an emotionally abusive first marriage, and about a half year later, was shocked to hear myself laugh so regularly and so much more freely after too many years of being so unhappy. I bet you'll be doing the same eventually. Take care.

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Besides what other's have said, another major point of consideration is the scary thought of having children with this man. Children bring lots of joy, but also bring a great deal of stress into one's life. He's a high risk of being just as abusive to children, and perhaps he'd even be worse with them.

 

It's your life and nobody else has a say so. Yes, leave and enjoy the freedom of pampering yourself--beginning a new life without abuse. Boosting your own self-esteem will take a good long while to achieve, but have faith you can do the work to make it happen.

 

I left an emotionally abusive first marriage, and about a half year later, was shocked to hear myself laugh so regularly and so much more freely after too many years of being so unhappy. I bet you'll be doing the same eventually. Take care.

 

Beautiful inspiration especially the parts in bold. Thanks for sharing.

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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.

 

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.

Great post. I agree 100%. OP, cancel the couples counselling appointment and focus exclusively on your own individual therapy and stick to it. This guy should not be in any of your future plans.

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I can understand how you feel... The outside pressure, all the opinions and advice.... But at the end of the day you have to listen to yourself. It's really easy for people not in your shoes to tell you how your feet feel.

 

I've been with an abusive, hot head in a romantic relationship and in a friendship. Eventually, like you, I reached a breaking point. With the guy, like you, I knew he was saying whatever to get me to invest more time. It was tough standing up for myself. Not only to him but to our families and friends.

 

I was the unreasonable one. But I knew in my heart, I had forgiven and forgiven. I knew how downright mean he could be to me. The horrible things he said to me. It was my life and I didn't like it. I didn't want to be this woman. He was a mess of a person with zero empathy or compassion.

 

Every nice thing he did was all for show. I actually thought to myself, I am the reason people think he is so great. I'm the catch here. I make him look good. Behind closed doors he's a mess.

 

It was tough... After several months apart, more than one person approached me, to tell me, how he is a miserable drunk and it's so bad. And my response was always the same. Yes. I know. That's why I left him.

 

I don't regret leaving him. I do still carry the scars. I can get mad at myself for tolerating what I did and for so long. I deal with it. I don't always feel this way. It gets better with time.... I remember that I did love him at one time. He did have good qualities. and we were happy for a time.... But it was too much and I bailed to save myself and that's what's important.

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The couples counseling is a good start , other than the verbal abuse and the shove there has been no other incidents ?

 

Problem with walking away completely is you’re throwing everything away, the entire relationship would have been for nothing , something to ponder

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I'm definitely leaving, I'm looking into the process of filing for divorce, and telling myself that I can get through this and make my life so much better. Just to clarify, we've been together eight years total but only married for two, and I'm only 31. So now is the time to get out, work on myself, and hopefully meet someone else eventually that I'll want to start a family with. All the fear about what people will say and think, and fear about possibly not meeting someone else and having kids- it took me so long to realize that stuff pales in comparison to dooming myself with this guy for life. I can't stay just because of guilt. There's no hope to be honest, and I don't even know if there's love.

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Pink

 

Reading your other threads is telling. There was nothing healthy about your relationship. Here are a few words from one of your other posts "My husband has mental health issues too I believe, and I'd like to support what he's going through but it triggers me too. I don't know how to be happy or even neutral."

 

Let me give you some affirmation. You did the right thing leaving him and you are doing the right thing filling for divorce. Trust us on this and do not let anyone deter you from moving your life in a better direction.

 

Is it scary? Hell yes it is. I was scared when my divorce started and I had all kinds of resources and support around me. It is a huge unknown so it is scary. Divorce in itself is just a business deal working out legalities but the emotional separation is the thing that fills your mind and causes you to doubt your choices.

 

Are you back on your meds? I see that you moved back in with your parents which is the best thing you could have done. Here are a few things you need to do just for yourself.

 

Stop talking to him about the relationship, counseling or reconciling. It is over and way to late to save.

 

Don't feel like you owe him anything or need to help him fix himself. Anyways he doesn't think he has a problem so why even try.

 

Stop talking to his family. Perhaps in time when this is all over you could be friends but right now they are his advocate and conduit to you and that needs to stop.

 

Get healthy mind and body and as you do your spirit will begin to rise. Go for walks, eat right, stay on your meds, continue therapy and ask for homework for between sessions.

 

Wake up each day and read something inspirational. I printed my signature below out and framed it. I read it out loud to myself each morning and each night before I laid down to sleep. It helped keep my mind focused on what was important.

 

This is scary but doable. Remember the hardest part is over which is getting the courage to leave, everything else is from now on is one step at a time.

 

Lost

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I'm definitely leaving, I'm looking into the process of filing for divorce, and telling myself that I can get through this and make my life so much better. Just to clarify, we've been together eight years total but only married for two, and I'm only 31. So now is the time to get out, work on myself, and hopefully meet someone else eventually that I'll want to start a family with. All the fear about what people will say and think, and fear about possibly not meeting someone else and having kids- it took me so long to realize that stuff pales in comparison to dooming myself with this guy for life. I can't stay just because of guilt. There's no hope to be honest, and I don't even know if there's love.

 

Good for you for realizing this. You're young but you're also wise beyond your years. Pick yourself up, brush off and don't be afraid to restart.

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I can only share my personal experience, but what you do with that I totally support. Unlike me, you've already left and reconciled with the idea of not returning. That shows you are alot stronger than you give yourself credit for.

 

I was in an abusive marraige and though I didn't think there was hope for change, I went to couples therapy anyway. I didn't know what to expect but what that did for me was reinforce my decision. I have zero guilt for having decided to ultimately leave and I don't spent a single moment wondering if there was something I should have done. The guilt can haunt you when children are involved. If I didn't have kids I wouldn't have considered it, but I owed it to them to make sure I took advantage of every opportunity, even if slim, that something might help. They deserved that.

 

I continued with my individual therapy while going through couples therapy. For a few weeks it felt like all I did. I got the support I needed from my individual therapist who helped me sort out my priorities, find my voice and regain my confidence.

 

Couples therapy was rough, but I have to thank my ex for showing his true colors. Out of the gate he said all the right things. Typical of him, he thought he could charm his way through it, but therapists are very skilled to catch someones who's just choosing words to be manipulative and paint a picture of being saintly.

 

What i quickly learned that with another person in the room, you witness what someone else is hearing. It's different than having just your individual private exchange with your husband. It allows you to be more objective and observe from a distance. The couples counselor barely started to challenge us and my ex's charade of contrition fell to the ground the real man came roaring out and he spoke to the (female) therapist the same way he would speak to me. It was embarrassing. When challenged he was defensive, offensive and combative.

 

It was a difficult time, but I wouldn't have done it any other way. Couples counseling didn't save my marraige, it showed me the door. That was something I never would have expected from going through something that you think it designed to save a marraige. In a strange way, going was a gift.

 

Your situation is different and you seemed pretty resigned, so you are further along than I was. But if you are at all considering taking him up on it, it might be something to consider.

 

I've also known couples this far gone that were able to turn things around. I am not trying to convince you of anything. . but its something to think about and you might go into it with an open mind and see what happens. I learned some valuable life lessons from having done so.

 

It's very common to feel lost. In order to stay in an abusive relationship you are required to give up very important parts of yourself and you catch yourself putting up with things no one should, ever.

 

It took me years to get my balance back. I was pretty much an empty, lost shell. It was a difficult, sometimes painful journey, but ultimately very well worth it. I am a totally (I think) different person today.

I wish you all the best. . .

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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 it has become too much for you.. Has he always been this way?

IF he has always been nasty towards you, no, he can't change. is how he is.

 

Which is a bad attitude I know, but the thing is, he won't even admit that he has been abusive to me

- Nah, is not a bad attitude of yours.. Is on him, for his behavoir, I beleive you have been overly patient. but have had enough.. Good on you to react now.

 

I have been to this point, a couple of times.. and after some therapy and 'me time', did me a whole lot of good!

 

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.

- No.

 

You tried.. that's it. Your relationship is done... right?

There is no 'happiness' in it. Only your emotional/mental health that is affected now. Take care of YOU- as you are.

 

If you cannot get in for some prof help at this time.. try & be around friends & family for support- if possible.

 

You also may need some time to 'get back to good, become yourself again'.

Get your rest.. eat well.. maybe get back into a hobby.. hang with friends.. and I found getting lost in my music and Journaling really helped me along.

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