I am being abusive? Or am I being abused?
My name is Jane!
Welcome. We are very pleased you have chosen to join the forum community. I have no doubt you will find great support here.
Gaslighting is very possibly the most aggressive of all control behaviour, I know that probably sounds bizarre when it’s compared to physical violence or being restrained, but in the end it leaves the target controlling themselves on behalf of the controller. Honouring completely that your partner is obviously mentally unwell, and no doubt has a lot of background causes for their behaviour, we can only hope there will be genuine support and healing coming into that space. However, the impact on you has been the same – regardless of the reasons or intent. Certainly, it is always good to double check the nature and character of our own behaviour periodically and to check in with our own values – but if absolutely everything feels off, then at least something is off.
It could be really worthwhile to have a catch to our friends at 1800RESPECT – here is some info on them: https://www.1800respect.org.au/
Relationships Australia are another amazing resource – find their materials here: https://relationships.org.au/
Of course, we are more than happy to support you here, give us a call on 1300 22 4636 or if you click ‘Chat Now’ at the top of the page, you can have a webchat with us.
Please always remember to honour your needs and keep yourself well. Never hesitate to reach out!
Hello Jane, to answer your question is not easy because it depends on how you feel you are being treated and like wise as with your partner, taking into account his condition.
If this was happening well before his admission and you were finding it difficult to agree on making a decision, then perhaps spending some time on your own may reevaluate your position.
You need to look after yourself.
No, you are not being abusive - it is that simple. Quite the reverse, you sound a very caring, practical and sensible person and sound very much like you are the one being abused, which I guess you have suspected already.
Sadly, all the things you mention - his saying time is “wasted” on relationship problems, blaming you for blowing up, screaming, slamming doors, his altering the past together with all his other manipulative actions such as not giving you a chance to talk, threatening suicide and all the rest all point towards a certain type of person.
Unfortunately a person you may have got the stage of half-believing due to his constant arguing, insistence and twisting things to be your fault. That combined with your wanting him to be well and in a safe place has left you very much at sea.
Sophie’s suggestion to ring 1800RESPECT is an excellent one. They are very experienced and you may well be surprised at the number of things in your life you have just accepted up until now form a pattern pointing to your being abused.
It is one of the unfortunate ways a person’s mind works that if one is told something often enough one can start to believe it - even if one’s memory says different. In a similar way one can start to blame oneself if told things are always your fault even when the logical half of you knows they are not.
As far as I know getting the abuser to change is not an easy or quick thing, if possible at all.
I’m sorry to paint such a negative image, but see no point in not telling you the facts as I see them.
You are in a very painful and stressed place; may I ask if you have support? A family member or friend you can talk frankly with? They do not have to fix things -unless you need practical support- just listen, discuss and care.
I’d also suggest counselling for yourself - however please do seek 1800’s advice, they’d know better than me.
One other thing, it is important that whoever is treating your partner gets the full picture, not just the twisted version he presents, otherwise his treatment may not be as effective
It may be after seeking advice you may want to re-think a lot of things, please do come back and talk some more, we are here to support you whenever you want