Covert abuse

by Sarah C
(San Marcos)

My marriage was destroyed by escalating covert abuse. What do I mean by that? It’s like everything seems perfect from the surface and outsiders don’t realize that anything is wrong. Over the years, he undermined me in so many ways and made a lot of promises which he never kept. This man is a lawyer, a pillar of the community, but he was a liar at heart. He negated everything I did for my children, with a particular flair of telling them he paid for everything (a lie), and started to re-write history regarding his history with them (he did not parent whatsoever).

But the worst thing was that it culminated in bouts of "gaslighting", where he was telling me I did not agree/talk/chat regarding decisions/events etc. He then started spewing to my children I should be committed as I "was crazy" and even attempted to choke me to death in front of them. He refused to apologize.

Then the day came my son started hitting me. I found (after the 3rd time - twice I ended up in hospital) my husband providing a celebratory breakfast with my 18 year son, and I could not even walk properly because of the injury and footprint left on my back by an 18 year old man) and hearing the words "she is a liar" and a "hypochondriac".

I rang Woman's Aid, cried my eyes out, and made the decision that husband had to go. I realized he was grooming my son to kill me! My son refused to go for counseling and refuses to acknowledge he hurt me physically - and now tells people that because I did not prosecute him - it was all a lie! I was smart enough to set my boundaries - and both are out of my life!

Comments for Covert abuse

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Need Relief
by: Julia

I thank you all for sharing and it gave me hope to go on with the journey of life that was giving to me by God.

The signs were all there
by: Kate

I was a nice young woman with a nice mom and dad and I was divorced but took care of my kids. I had excellent credit and lots of it. I didn't know about people who pretend to be things they aren't and who must control you. I knew nothing about game players. I didn't understand how my attitude of hang in there, don't toss people aside, and give people a break was a lure to people like my messed up future husband.

He charmed me and spoiled me. He took me on lots of plush trips and fancy dinners out. Bought me expensive things. I was a simple person and he focused all his attentions on. After a 6 month relationship, I was whisked off to Vegas and drinking and came back married to him. The first few months ok. One of the first things he did when we got back from Vegas was refinance the house he just bought and he did so with me on the application. I thought wow he loves me. Ha, ha, ha. So dumb I was.

I never saw much of my husband because he worked 80 hours a week in the car business. I was in charge of kids and home stuff but I worked too. I felt something was wrong with us. My husband wasn't intimate. He discounted my feelings a lot. He was a liar too. He told people stories that weren't true. I said something about it to him, but he just got angry. He drank a lot when home or out. I did too. It was acceptable by his peers.

His friends all had weird relationships and none were happily married. Most had girlfriends on the side. All were ex Coke heads. All liars. When I met my husband he had just moved into his house he bought and had really high house payments. He was letting his friend’s mistress stay in the room next to his for $500 a month and his friend paid on the first. That way, the guy friend just told his wife he going to go to my husband’s house to watch sports and she didn’t suspect a thing. I should have ran while I could. I blew it off. That was a huge sign of my husband’s character. Never again will I ignore such things.

But my marriage was full of little things here and there that I know now were him messing around or him manipulating things to go a certain way that put him in a place of playing the victim. Our sex life was a joke. I know he is bi sexual but still he won't admit it. I don't want to sleep with him being like that. But god forbid I have the same boyfriend 10 years and he is only person I sleep with. My husband has made me look so bad.

And yet I couldn't prove my suspicions. So he won. He had everyone believing he was a loyal husband and I'm an awful mean wife. Until the day I found out he was messing around with my cousin B. And it got ugly. He told everyone I was making it up. Why would I do that? He lost his 23k a month job too. Again my fault. Like really???? Who is dumb enough to believe that? My husband’s very good at manipulating people. 50 yrs. in the car business.

Well I found out about Narcissist personalities and gas lighting. And armed with that knowledge I set out to expose the truth, and to break free. My life sucks right now. But I know I have to hang in there and it will get better. I've finally gotten the proof I needed. The signs were there and I ignored them. Don't you be stupid too like I was.

Everyone thinks I’m crazy
by: Sheryl

My husband spends all his time at work only comes home to sleep. Yet his checks never have any overtime hours on them. I checked his bank account and he spends $20 for his lunch time, when the kids are and me are at home starving while he's feeding people at work. On the weekends he’s home, but all he does is sleep and never even moves a muscle to help. I am a fulltime mom student and I work too, yet he never helps with anything. Even to go to the market is a fight.

He goes over to my parents to tell them he doesn't know how to keep me happy anymore, that I am always mad. Yet I am the one who does the finances, take care of all the house work and have all of the responsibly with the children. He breaks things around the house all the time and yells at us all the time. But to everyone he says I'm crazy. I never have one cent because he doesn't give me access to his money and I get paid like $200 2x a week which is only for gas and maybe food.

Covert abuse is a reality
by: FinallyFree

I can definitely relate to your situation. My abuser and I were married for 12 years, during which time he systematically demeaned and devalued me to the point that I withdrew from life, almost becoming suicidal. He told our children that I was the cause of his cruelty - if I would just "act right" everything would be ok. After years of infidelity, emotional, and physical abuse - I finally had enough. When he left, I was relieved and never ONCE asked him to come back as I felt relieved and liberated. To the public eye, we were a perfect, kind couple. He continued to devalue me once we separated stating that "he has to say something because people will ask questions". I even felt that the personal attacks were a small price to pay for my freedom.

Everyone thinks he's awesome
by: Kelly

I have been married to a man I've loved for 27 yrs. I was never able to put my finger on the exact cause of my low self-esteem or chronic dependence on him. I've even had physical illnesses for years with unknown etiologies. He was a Christian leader in our church and active in our community. He even coached our children's sports and was awarded 'Coach of the Year' many times.

Once I FINALLY realized he was a 'covert abuser' demeaning me privately & publicly, I packed up my two children and with the help of my mother, moved to an apartment. It's only been 3 months, but by now I think I should be working, making new friends and forging a new life for us. However, he's still in contact with us and I'm stuck. I SO want to move on, but at 52 and with so much history and community ties I am feeling paralyzed. AND knowing what a liar and manipulator he is, I have been abandoned by ALL friends. Hard telling what he's telling people for his self-preservation. His public image (and to his family of origin) is all he seems to care about. I need help!!

I always felt unworthy
by: Patty H

He always made me feel unworthy, and unappreciated. He scared me when he was angry and acted out. He was very controlling.

Courageous Decision
by: Diane

I believe you made a very courageous decision and the right one for yourself and your self-respect. Keep strong and empower yourself. Your 18 year old son will one day realize what he has done to his own mother.

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