Abusive relationship - domestic violence (?) - emotional and verbal abuse VS physical and sexual abuse

Thank you

@Movingforward10 I wanted to say that I'm sorry it happened to you at so young an age. 19 and early 20s is much too young to be dealing with stuff like that. I know we thought we were super grown up at the time, but looking back now, at kids who are 19... They're babies, aren't they? Only just beginning to work out who they are and what the world is.

I'm grateful it happened to me in my late 30s. We have a lot more life experience under our belts by then, have seen friends and acquaintances deal with similar situations, know what support options are available etc. Tho, I have to say, the age factor also makes me doubly annoyed at myself because I'm like "Sophy, you were almost 40... You KNEW better than to fall for crap like that!"

@shimmerz thankyou for sharing that. You describe really well how your bruise felt like "here is tangible proof at last".

And yeah, my ex was incredibly charming... Everybody loves him. He's a lovely person to spend time with - smart, kind, attentive, a good listener, warm sense of humour.

During the honeymoon phase, I did pick up on things seeming a little "excessively" intense, for want of a better word. But I figured that that was his personality and that being head over heels in love is meant to be intense and a bit over the top. So it didn't really ring any alarm bells straight away. There were a few red flags, but nothing that seemed particularly concerning at the time.

Looking back on it now, some of that honeymoon phase behaviour does seem like a person with anxious attachment trauma trying to cling and be possessive. But a lot of it also felt truly loving and trusting and kind and warm and lovely. Which is what makes it so very hard to wrap my head around it.

Ever since the breakup and the abuse, which happened so suddenly and so out of the blue, I've been reeling and trying to work out what the heck happened.

I think I've been through every possible scenario in my head a hundred times... For a while I was scared that he was "a perp" and "a bad person" and that he had consciously used the honeymoon phase to manipulate me.

I also went through periods of doubting myself completely - had I somehow set off the abuse, the way he kept claiming?

Or had it been a loving relationship, and we had just started "fighting" because he felt insecure and I felt triggered by his behaviour?

I went over and over it from so many angles in my head, that I started doubting everything. It got to the point where I'd question whether the relationship had even really happened - maybe it was all some big misunderstanding and he had loved an idealised version of me and I had loved an idealised version of him and then once the honeymoon phase was over, it turned out that we actually didn't love the "real" other person and so it was all just some big, weird mix up?

A lot of my questioning centered around whether he was a good or a bad person. (I realise they're not very useful categories, but it's the question that went through my head constantly.)

I recently read an article about DV that kind of helped me resolve that a bit. It explained that DV and being abusive in relationships is not so much a "character trait" as it is a learned behaviour. The person doing it has learned that it's acceptable behaviour to treat someone else like that, when they are feeling frustrated, insecure, upset, or whatever.

That kind of helped me see that my ex, who had a lot of truly wonderful traits, could ALSO behave abusively. It's not an either/ or thing.

Doesn't really make it any less sad or awful. But at least it stops my brain going crazy thinking that someone can't have genuinely wonderful traits but also be so abusive that it's totally unacceptable to subject yourself to it in a relationship cos it will ruin your mental health.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
wanted to say that I'm sorry it happened to you at so young an age. 19 and early 20s is much too young to be dealing with stuff like that. I know we thought we were super grown up at the time, but looking back now, at kids who are 19... They're babies, aren't they? Only just beginning to work out who they are and what the world is.
Thanks for saying that @Sophy (in lockdown) . I suppose, for me, that relationship was just an extension of the impact of trauma from the years before that. So it makes sense me to that I was in that relationship and felt loved in it and accepted it, given what preceded it.


Glad you are finding resources that are helping you to validate what happened to you.
 
Ohhh... I just realised something.


it was "just words" and "just behaviour" and that I "should be strong enough" to cope with words and behaviour.

the age factor also makes me doubly annoyed at myself because I'm like "Sophy, you were almost 40... You KNEW better than to fall for crap like that!"

The physical/ non-physical thing isn't the only reason I'm judging myself.

My brain seems to think that childhood trauma wasn't my fault, because I was just a kid and couldn't have prevented it.

But any abuse that I encountered during adulthood is 100% my responsibility to deal with and I should've been smarter/ seen things coming/ reacted sooner/ prevented it happening.

Hmm, that's quite a harsh judgement.

Aparently, I expect adult me to have super powers.
 
Oh holy f*ck...

It's a "thing".

I spoke to an acquaintance (named S) today, who I vaguely knew had gone through a similar relationship cycle... honeymoon phase and then shockingly awful breakup out of the blue.

She said that her ex had been a narcissist through and through and that a friend who knew them both and observed his behaviour, helped her spot the patterns.

Also, this acquaintance, S, didn't break up with her partner at the first sign of abuse. She stayed with him a few more years, so she got to see the full extent of the behaviour play out.

Whereas I broke up with my ex at the first sign of the abusive behaviour, so all I witnessed was the intense, awful downward spiral of things getting so horrible, that it made no sense at all. There weren't any "patterns" that I could observe and analyse, to work out what was going on.

So, apart from the difference that S stayed in her relationship a lot longer and hence having witnessed her partner's behaviour on full display... We "compared notes" today and it was so uncanny... Our stories matched, as if they'd been written by the same author. It was so weird.

So, I asked her about the honeymoon phase and whether this was common with narcissists and she said "absolutely yes!".

Which is not something I was ever aware of... I've managed to keep narcissists out of my life so far!!!

So, I just got home and googled it and O M G it's a "thing"

If you google narcissist + love boming then you get 1.5 million results.

Psychology Today - All you should know about narcissistic love boming

Idealize, Devalue, Discard - The dizzying cycle of narcissism

8 Signs your relationship is just a string of manipulative love bombs

Love bombing - 10 signs of over-the-top love


Ugh

Sigh
 
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