I left my partner over 25 years ago, but he is still there, I am still tethered by him through my kids. After years of manipulation, possessiveness, emotional blackmail, it took me years to heal from the emotionally abusive relationship, to psychologically heal. Whilst I have healed and moved on years later, I find I am going through it all again, but this time through my adult children and I simply do not know what to do.
I had tried to leave him a couple of times before, but I wasn’t psychologically strong enough, the manipulation, the emotional blackmail, financial abuse, using my kids as pawns a bargaining tool, the brainwashing “I wouldn’t be nothing without him” just reinforced the self-doubt that had weaved and gripped me. It was like being gagged, I couldn’t see or feel the ropes, but they were there all the time, getting tighter and tighter, suffocating all my self worth, so I would go back to him, like a scorned puppy with my tail between my legs, just reinforcing his ego that he was right all along.
He was a great showman, a master of manipulation, to the outside world he played the role as a perfect stay at home father, he didn’t go out with the lads he was an all-rounded family man. What people didn’t see was his self-obsession, sense of entitlement, he showed no concern for others ( if he did it was for show) deep down all he ever cared about was his feelings and opinions.
He was perfect he never did anything wrong, he would always find a way to justify his behaviour and actions. He would compare his childhood or lack of it, to mine, justifying his insecurities, I would feel sorry for him and try and overcompensate for the life he felt he should have had, again the sense of entitlement was always overwhelming, he could never relate or put himself in anyone else’s shoes because he would be more worried about what their shoes looked like.
He would always be well presented, his hair was never overgrown or out of place, he insisted on wearing the best clothes, even when we couldn’t afford them, his clothes were a form of armor a way of deflecting his imperfections from the outside world.
If I ever got close to exposing him, or if he was feeling vulnerable he would smooch me with lines such as “you are all I have got” or even turn on the tears for double effect, managing to turn the sense of blame and shame on me! I simply cannot count the number of times he was able to do that? He’s was a great actor, he still is
I would have given him a Grammy award or hit him with the fucker! – for playing the role of victim, he was that good.
But in the eyes of everyone else, the law, he hadn’t harmed his kids, well not physically, it would have made things so much easier if I had cut all ties with him, including him seeing the kids, but in the eyes of the law, etc… he still had rights. Even when he was arrested and sentenced for dealing drugs he would still use the kids as a weapon a pawn in his attempt to win me back or feel like he still had a stake or say in my life.
In the early days, I would take the kids on visits, not for him, but for them, after all, they missed their dad. But he was never really interested in the kids the questions or enquires would always be about me, in the end, I had to cut off the visits and get someone else to take them. I couldn’t do it, I had moved on from his control and I simply couldn’t sit opposite a man that had emotionally abuse and used me for his self-gratification, not even for the sake of the kids.
Upon release, he would demand access to see the kids, but if he ever thought that I would be benefiting, let us say going out or doing something that I couldn’t have done without him minding the kids, he would come up with some excuse and let them down, he could never see that they only person he was hurting was the kids, it wasn’t me.
He never contributed financially awards he kids upbringing thinking or using the excuse that the money would be spent selfishly on me and not the kids. He could never see that after being the only breadwinner in the relationship, that I had learned how to be financially resourceful and that I had never needed him for his money.
I have always known deep down that he would hurt the kids emotionally, that he would play the same manipulation game through them and I couldn’t do a fucking anything about it! and now it’s happening, I feel powerless. As a parent, it is our instinct to protect our kids, but in this case, it is their own fucking dad!
I can get mad at myself knowing I allowed him to have contact with the kids when we separated, but I also know had I refused contact, all this would have done is give him the platform he needed to play the victim role, his favorite position. And he would never have let that happen, those kids were his birthright, his entitlement and deep down he knew there wasn’t a fucking dam thing I could do about it. It is my duty as a parent to protect my kids, I feel the guilt from knowing that It was me that has put them in this position, I couldn’t live with his manipulative behaviour, but my children now carry the burden that I was once able to escape.
People saw the signs, warned me about him, but I had to work him out for myself. I can now see him for what and who he truly is, he has a fragile ego, and brittle self-esteem, the person who portrays himself as having a strong psychological constitution is a very weak man.
I no longer feel or carry the blame for who he is. I used to think I could help him escape or see the light, get him to see sense, but I was never able to achieve that, and neither have the string of women he has latched onto over the years managed to achieve it neither.
His sense of reality is so distorted and ingrained that I know deep down he will never change, all the attempts made by many of the years, haven’t worked. I know my kids think that, well should I say hope that he will change, I see them try and I also see them fail and it is heartbreaking.
All I can do is be there for my kids, even though it never feels enough, all I can do is
- Help them understand that they are not to blame for his behaviour or who he is
- That they are not responsible for a 51-year-old man’s feelings
- They are not responsible or to blame for his failed relationship
- They are not responsible for his failed health
- That they have nothing to be sorry for
- That they have nothing to feel guilty about
- That they have a right to live their own lives
- That I am very proud of the women that they have become
- That they are entitled to make their own mistakes and learn from them
- Remind them that they are stronger than they think, they take after their mom
That I will always be there to listen
- I will always support them and help them work out what’s best for them
- I will remind them that I don’t want anything in return except for their happiness
- But most of all, remind them that it is ok to say NO
All I can do is say sorry and be there for them
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