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Moving on after leaving emotionally abusive relationship

Community Member

I am hoping to get some advice from people who have been in a similar situation.

I very recently left my partner of 12 years, who I share 3 children with, due to the relationship being toxic and unhealthy for both me and the children. During the course of our relationship he was very controlling, very jealous and insecure (went through my mobile daily), and I let him mold me into what he needed me to be - an extension of him - instead of being my own self. My own opinions, views, values, dreams and aspirations always came second to his or were completely wrong in his eyes - he could never see my side or see a different point of view other than his own. I could never say no to him, because if i did it was days and days of him punishing me by being abusive, ignoring and being horrible to me. I could never say no to sex, because it meant i didn't love him and he would sulk for days. If he wanted to buy something or spend money, even if it was ridiculous or we were broke, I couldn't say no for the same reasons. I don't know when or how it happened, but I eventually gave up. I gave up having an opinion, I gave up having a voice, and I gave up trying. I would just agree with everything he said. I never said no to sex, and there were times when I remember lying there just hoping he would finish quickly. When I started working again all the jealousy, insecurities and controlling behaviour came to blows and we had some very violent and aggressive arguments - some in front of the children - and I decided it was enough and it was over.

It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, to split up my family, to put my children through divorce and pain, and to cause extreme hurt to my husband - whom i still loved but could no longer be with. I'm now struggling to move forward, and have been so tempted at times to go back to him so that I can stop hurting. I never wanted this to happen.

I am also struggling with finding myself, and who i am anymore. I feel like i have lost who i really am and i dont really know how to find that again. It has been 12 years of this abuse and I'm struggling to break all the bad habits i have made. I'm still living my life trying not to do things that might upset him - making sure i always have my phone on me just incase, making sure the house is clean etc. And i dont know how to break that pattern.

I was hoping that perhaps others can relate and perhaps offer some advice to help me get through this tough time.

3 Replies 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Chel-sea, welcome

Your experience has similarities to my first marriage. My wife used emotional abuse for 11 years. We had two girls and when finally I planned my own demise I saved myself and left.

I lived in a caravan park for a while where a friend told me "never go backwards". I had felt an urge to return to her. Mainly it was grief for the loss of of my full time fatherhood but guilt had a role to play.

Time did heal the wounds and upon my good second marriage realise that love and care can be found.

Of the many threads I've wrtten there are some that are most apt for you to read. Please use google (you only need to read the first post of each)

Topic: the best praise you'll ever get- beyondblue

Topic: guilt the tormentor- beyondblue

Topic: narcissism- beyondblue

Topic: the definition of abuse- beyondblue

Topic: so what are their mental illnesses?- beyondblue

Your self esteem has taken a battering. This will take time to regain it. When you are ready, go on dates or light sport, a hobby, mix with others, feel the freedom. Remind yourself of how you were owned. Never forget it but make steps to normalize your life.

I hope you improve. In years to come like I am now, you'll reflect not on him so much, more on yourself in the courage to stand up against dominance. This will make you proud in that you prevailed.

Well done. Repost anytime in those threads or here.

Ps. You can also google this

Queen witch waif hermit

Its and example of the feeling of someone owning another person. (The queen)

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
hello Chel-sea, my deepest thoughts for you and can I welcome you to the forum.

This is a life that no one should be forced to live, a controlling partner who only demanded what he wanted, became jealous and the list goes on.

This must have been terrible for you and your 3 kids because the four of you would have been affected, and there would be no respect and even trust wouldn't be there.

Please, you shouldn't move back to him because the dominance will still continue, you will be hurt and pushed around even more than before because he will think that want him and then take advantage of the situation.

To spit up the family is only because you needed to protect the 4 of you from being told what to do and when to do it, you have done a very brave act.

Are you able to talk with someone a friend, your doctor who may prescribe some medication and then refer you to a psychologist on a mental health plan, which entitles you to 10 free visits.

This is what I highly recommend, and please get back to us. Geoff.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Chel-sea,

Welcome to the community here on the forum.

"Finding ourselves" after a trauma or a stressful existence can take time. I'd like to suggest you get out pen and paper and write down what was important to you before you were married.

Consider what is important to you now. Make a list of things you would like to do or achieve in the next 6 months and consider how this might be possible.

I like to work on one thing at a time, break down plans and goals into achievable chunks.

Doing things for yourself will help to build up your self esteem and sense of self worth! It might be something as simple as buying yourself a bunch of flowers. (supermarkets have lovely bunches at reasonable prices)

Maybe try changing your routine. Have a cup of coffee and look in a magazine before you do the housework!

Habits can be hard to change, finding yourself may take a little time and imagination. It seems you want these things, so I would like to encourage you to find ways that work for you to make these things happen.

Cheers from Dools