As I read through this list, amongst the many others I have read over the past year, they are all the same. Control is what your abuser seeks. He/She thrives on it! A low self-esteem seem to be a norm as well.
Personally I didn't realize it while living through this. It all seemed "Normal". I questioned things from time to time in my head and wondered if this is how other families and couples were. I did feel some envy at those that seemed to have it together, even if they had some bumps in the road they seem happy. I had longed for that. I longed for someone that would take me for me! Not to belittle me, put the kids down and someone wanted a strong family that was built with love, trust and honesty. I wanted a marriage and a helpmate. Someone I could walk side by side with. Someone that would lift my spirits and be my friend.
Our marriage was like a ticking bomb waiting to go off. The tension day to day was so intense! My hair would fall out due to the stress, my stomach hurt all the time ( I was popping antacids like candy), I was tired (due to him making sure I stayed awake until he was asleep first! He was a light sleeper another blog story for another time!)
I seemed to be sick all the time, the month before we left I hadn't been able to relieve myself of solid bodily fluids due to the stress. I was jumpy all the time!
I didn't recognize many of the signs early on. Once we left I had an "Ah-Ha! Moment." I have made a slow recovery, I was told it maybe years and years or never before I work through my issues, the same with the kids.
For awhile I felt foolish, how could I have let someone do the things he did? How did I allow myself to stay with the kids that long? Why did I endure it for that long? These questions plagued me for a bit. I am realizing there was more to it. There are the mind games, even once I was out of the house there are still mind games. There are threats of him "Telling" on me or threats to kill the kids or me or all of us! In my case my STBX has mental illiness that has been attributed to his abuse. No matter! If it is drugs, alcohol, mental illiness or just because there is no excuse! Abuse in any case is abuse.
Getting out before it was too late was the best thing I ever did. There were continued death threats as well information that my STBX attempted to hire someone to kill me as well as hiring someone to take pictures and follow me. Driving by my home and place of work is something that is being done. I have made numerous phone calls to the police as well as my Atty about these matters. While heis/was under investigation for Soliciting and Conspiracy to commit murder I still worry. I worry more about the fact that sadly my son made a choice to return to his father. And as a result my son will no longer speak to me orhave any contact with me at all.
A relative of STBX made the comment that if I hadn't gotten out when I did they were sure I would have been dead by the end of the year. Though they kept their mouths quiet and shared my secret about the abuse they firmly believe thatwould have been the case.
Seek someone out that you can trust! A relative or friend or perhaps a law enforcement official. Confide in them,ask if you can give them important papers to hold onto or maybe to use as a contact or a safe place to stay if need be.Women shelters are a wonderful avenue to use! There are many women in the same boat! No one can tell you when to leave only you will know when that will be. But don't make excuses, no money, no where to go, no car, no job... I stayed for these reasons plus a hand full of others. But they were just excuses and not a good enough reason not to save my children and myself from further harm! If you don't do this for you then do it for your children before it's too late.
Symptoms: Indicators of Abusive Relationships
Using Emotional Abuse
Putting you down
Making you feel bad about yourself
Calling you names
Implying that you are crazy
Playing mind games
Using guilt as a weapon of control
Treating you like a servant
Making all decisions for the family or couple
Acting like an owner or master
Being the one to define and enforce roles
Expecting you to obey like a child
Using Coercion and Threats
Making or carrying out threats
Threatening to leave
Threating to harm themself if you leave
Threatening to hurt other family members or pets if you leave
Threatening to report you to police, child welfare, etc. to control you
Threatening to file false charges against you
Using threats to get you to drop charges
Threatening to expose a secret
Making you afraid - looks, gestures, actions
Threatening to expose a secret
Using the Children
Using the children to relay messages
Using visitation to harass you
Threatening to take the children
Threatening to harm the children
Controlling what you do
Controlling who you see or talk to
Limiting your outside involvement
Not letting you work
Not letting you receive an education
Using jealousy to justify actions against you
Destroying your support system
Minimizing, Denying and Blaming
Making light of the abuse
Saying abusive behavior was not abusive
Shifting the responsibility for the behavior to you