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Emotional abusive relationship- 6 years on

Community Member

Hi everyone,

I left an emotionally abusive relationship 6 years ago. At the time I was confused and hurt (read high anxiety, depression) and didn't really fathom the full extent of what was going on, but I knew in my gut that what was happening was not right. After leaving, I very quickly realised from his response that I did not want to go back. There was no apology or anything for his behaviour, just blame and anger for all I'd put him through that forced him to treat me that way, and a lot of arguement as to why he hadn't done anything bad enough for me to leave. At the time I tried to explain why I left, I did my best but he didn't agree my excuses where enough so he came to the conclusion I was lying and had something to hide.

since then I have done everything I can think of to cut him out of my life. Divorce, I've moved, changed my number, blocked him on all social media (which I no longer post to to stop him gaining more info about me), etc etc. but he still finds ways to tell anybody he can that I left him without cause and that I cheated, I have a illegitimate child, I'm a bad person etc. He's written my neighbours, bank, boss, all my extended family, church pastor, regularly writes my parents and siblings.

It's now been 6 years since I left him. I maintain he has no right to my information, I do not want any contact with him, I do not want to know about him, and yet he is still finding ways to get people to contact me on his behalf to beg that I "contact him just to explain". The latest told me via messenger that he has blood cancer and my leaving without explaining is badly effecting his mental health. I immediately blocked this person.

I have worked so hard to recover from the damage that relationship did, my anxiety is the lowest it's possibly ever been, but now I'm just angry. Six years and I'm still having to be so careful and guarded. I've received legal advice and advice from the police that as he posses no physical threat, there's nothing I can do legally to put a stop to it. So what, I just keep on like this?? Are there any people with experience with an emotional abuser who has any advice on how to stop this, or how long it may continue?? All the websites I've read say I need to cut him out, but it's just not working.

thank you kindly for your responses.

7 Replies 7

Community Member

Hi Chickenhead

You have done very well to reduce your anxiety levels even with your ex stalking you. I would seek another legal opinion as stalking in all states and Territories is illegal. it is not legal to spread malicious stories nor to contact anyone that is associated with you to smear you and attempt to get third parties to get you to contact them.

It is concerning this person has been doing this for so long and it needs to be stopped. please research your options and get good advice before doing anything more than you have done so far. make sure you have a good support network around you.

Have a look at the SBS article Stalking- go the SBS website and search "stalking"

Stalking is repeated, unwanted contact that causes fear, anxiety or stress. It's a criminal offence in every state and territory in Australia.
In all jurisdictions, except for Queensland, the legal definition of stalking requires two or more instances of unwanted contact. In Queensland, stalking requires only one incident.

I hope I have been helpful.

Regards Ankles

Thank you for responding Ankles,

The advice I received about 5 years ago was that because there was no physical threat, no judge would grant a restraining order (or equivalent for Qld??). My ex moved to WA after we split, so his campaign has been technology based and good old postal from the start. I was even told by the police that DV laws didn't cover it as we were no longer together. I wish I'd had your info back then!

one awesome thing to come from all of this was that in the fallout, I stopped to ask the question "How and why did this happen?" Ive examined what about my upbringing predisposes me to avoid conflict, why I haven't previously recognised the emotion of anger, why I need other people's approval so badly, why I've performed so poorly in some aspects of my career... the list goes on. And consequently I've made substantial changes in my life.

I made the decision to be angry instead of fearful when it comes to my ex. I also decided that it didn't matter what he told people about me; if they truely knew me they would know it was unlikely, or they would talk to me if they had concerns (although no one ever did). For those that were upset with me he was bothering them, I decided it was their business who they conversed with, I have no control over third party conversations.

At this point any damage he could do to my relationships has been done and I've moved on. As I genuinely do not believe there's a physical threat, I am unlikely to pursue this legally. I just get angry at the persistence. No means no, and he just doesn't get it. Anger is a new emotion for me, so sometimes I just don't know what to do with it!

Hi Chickenhead

it is so unfortunate that in hard times and or times of need that we find out who are true friends and who are just fair weather friends. our relatives are often the ones that surprise us the most. yes you are right if anyone does not know you well enough to understand you and who you are then it is their loss.

I hope when you reflected on your upbringing and what it is that defines you that you have been able to deal with what you discovered if not please seek help.

I have recently sought help to deal with a period of my childhood that was rather difficult and has defined who I am. I was given a sheet that described a condition that my Psychologist thinks I may have (OCPD) and wow did it open my eyes to who I am why I have done things the way I have.now I understand who I am I have been able to asses things better I also now like the direction my life is taking.

Although our lives may have been a certain way till now it does not mean they need to remain that way. once we understand what the cause / triggers are we can then understand what we need to do to build a network of friends and when to walk away from situations or people.

I have always had a sixth sense on some people but did not understand it until recently.

life is a constant growing process I believe from reading your reply that you are developing into a person you respect and like especially as you delve into why you are who you are and find ways to achieve what you wish.



Thank you Ankles,

It is so helpful to finally get a diagnosis that helps explain what's going on. I had a diagnosis of high anxiety, which was a no brainer, but it was the follow up suggestion of (at the time) Aspergers by my phsychologist that really added the perspective I needed to address how and why I operate. I'm glad you're finding the same with the OCPD diagnosis. It really does make a big difference. It explains so much of why I've had so many instances of not reading the people around me with any sense "red flag" when it should have been obvious.

some people and situations continue to baffle me. There's nothing I can really do except continue to learn about myself and the choices in how I respond. Hence my original post here.

I appreciate your kind words.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi chicken head,

firstly, I want to commend you for leaving your relationship and saying enough is enough - good for you :)!!! The hard part is over, he’s behind you, you’ve divorced, you have your life back but he won’t get lost. My sister was in the exact same situation - she divorced her ex-husband and he kept sending threatening messages, contacting people she worked with to get messages to her (which embarrassed the hell out of her), and showing up at my parents place etc. It took a long time but he eventually went away, she just never returned his message, no matter how much he tried to bait her, her workmates knew not to say anything, and he was eventually stonewalled out. In the end she was also extremely angry, the fact that he never seemed to take responsibility for being a terrible husband, using drugs, drinking and stealing from them constantly. But she had to come to the acceptance that he was never going to blame himself, everything was about him, same as always. But that’s why she left him. And she was happy, and that was the best revenge.

Thank you Juliet,

I appreciate hearing I'm not the only one to ever have experienced this, although I'm so sorry to hear someone else had to deal with it. I don't believe my ex will ever take responsibility either, but your sister is right, the very thing making me angry is the very reason I left him. I lose sight of that sometimes.

His behaviour and lengths he is going to to place the blame on me is confirming I made the right decision to leave. As much as I knew it in my gut at the time, I was so confused I wasn't sure I had made the right decision, but I know it now without a shadow of a doubt.

Its so good to hear your sister is happy. Thank you for your encouragement.

Hello Chickenhead

Nice to meet you. So sad for you that you went through such a bad time. On the upside there is your new-found knowledge about yourself which you may not have realised had you stayed with your husband. It's a hard way to learn as many others will agree. I left my husband after 30 years for much the same reasons and looking back I wonder why I did not go earlier. By the time I realised the situation I had four children and no self confidence left to believe I could care for them. Not the best reason for staying but it seemed the only choice at the time.

I see him fairly often at family gatherings and take care not to talk to him about anything I consider personal. My children, especially one daughter, were upset when I left but no recriminations. I know one daughter talks to him about me but, like you, I have decided I cannot change this and simply get on with life.

I think you are going well with your life and I am full of admiration for you and the difficulties you have managed. I can see how hard this has been for you for the past six years and also the time you spent with your husband.

Being able to recognise our faults is so hard and many people never acknowledge their responsibilities toward others. It sounds as though your husband is part of this group but unfortunately is pursuing you to try and make you say it's all your fault.

Stalking is an offence as Ankles has commented. If you feel up to it I would suggest you make a complaint to the police. You have all the evidence in the attempts he has made to contact you and the attempts via other people. I'm certain you could write a list. He can be ordered not to contact you in any way including through a third party. I was given this protection when someone was charged with an offence but tried to keep in contact with me. He immediately stopped.

I know this is a different circumstance but your situation is far more serious than mine as he is affecting your mental health, sense of security and well-being. Not on.

We are always here if you need any support or anywhere to vent your feelings.