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  1. That level of control is still abuse. Abuse isn't just about anger or hostility or violence. It's about control and manipulation. Feeling like you have to walk on eggshells and that you are not at home in your own home is no way to live. It's definitely not a normal or healthy way to have to survive within a relationship. It will take a long time to "retrain your brain" to not have those automatic "I can't" voices pop up when you want to do something. Or you might even be automatically discarding possible things to do and ways to be in your life before they even become conscious, because of the conditioning. That sort of thing is almost impossible to retrain while you are still with the controller. One cannot recover from the effects of living on a toxic waste dump while one is still living on it. I can give you an example of a controlling situation I found really humiliating with a very verbally abusive ex-bf. This of course may have no relation at all to what you experience, but it exemplifies how humiliating it feels to be controlled by someone else. He'd been recently divorced and didn't have a lot of independent life skills, like how to shop at the grocery store and put together meals. (Sheesh, I just realized that's the second one I got into the same situation, lol.) So one day we were shopping at the grocery store and he wanted to get some eggs. He picked up a carton of a dozen, but I noticed that all the dozen cartons had an expiration date of the following day. The cartons of 6 eggs had expiration dates that were about 2 weeks away. So I told him that he shouldn't buy the dozen carton because it was expiring the next day, but rather buy two of the cartons of 6. The price difference was only like 20 cents. Well, he got very angry and snarled/shouted at me - "I'm not going to buy two 6-packs! I'm getting the dozen!" It was embarrassing... (and of course wrong lol, sheesh. Why buy a dozen eggs that are expiring tomorrow? doesn't make sense, to me. I know some people consider them "still good" past expiry, but why take a chance for a few pennies?) Then he pointed to the entrance of the dairy section and barked at me, "Go stand over there!" - and made me walk over there, far away from the eggs, so I wouldn't interfere. Thereafter, whenever we went to the grocery store - when we were nearing the eggs, he'd smirk and I'd have to stand where he'd told me to stand, outside that section of the grocery store, and just wait for him to be done - so that I wouldn't "try to tell him what to do." It was humiliating and degrading. He'd shout and point right there in the store, like a dog, for me to "stay" there. I guess one could say that I was "trying to control" him, but those kinds of self-arguments are slippery slopes when you are trying to think about the dynamics of abusive relationships. And they do use that argument - that you are trying to control them. Yeah, I guess I was "trying to tell him what to do." But he didn't have the life skills so I was trying to teach him. Also, I think in my current situation, if the same thing were to occur, my bf would not have a problem with not buying food that was about to expire and buying food that had a longer life instead. In fact, he's learned to look for those things, too. He'd probably say to me, "Good catch!" Confused, it is definitely exhausting to try to always live every aspect of your life in order to not make the other person angry. That's not the way life is supposed to be. Thinking all the time about doing things how he wants, arranging your entire life and mental aspects, too, in ways you probably don't even realize now. It's completely consuming. It will exhaust you and prevent you from being your own self and living your own life. So please try to remember, when you weigh your relationship, that this, too, is abuse. It's not just about the anger or the blow-ups. It's about the everyday details of life. It's interwoven throughout every little thing you think and want and do. It degrades you as a human, you are not respected or allowed to be your own self.
  2. Wow... that's difficult to deal with, and on top of everything else! He's not going to change. How long have you been together? How long have you known him? When you know your partner is abusive and you'll never truly be able to relax and feel good being with them... think about it. What would it take to really feel entirely safe and respected and comfortable and secure within that relationship? Something that you logically know would never happen, right? If I were you - and this is me - I wouldn't tell him, especially not before you've made your own decision. (And depending on which decision, perhaps not at all, ever.) Make your decision not based on guilt or a sort of self-flagellation of "I made my bed now I have to lay in it" self-punishment.... but on the realities of the situation. The reality is that he is abusive and you don't want to be with him. You got hoovered - it happens to the best of us. They are skilled manipulators. They're good at what they do. It's not your fault. But feeling "stuck" is the last thing you want for the rest of your life to be happier. Unfortunately abusers are almost never reasonable about co-parenting. They're abusive. It's just not how they operate. So #1 - no matter what your decision - don't let it interfere with your grand scheme. You've distanced yourself from him for a reason. Even if he's "being" a certain way - you know it's an act. It's a facade. It's like a play, a role he plays in order to achieve certain things from you. It's manipulation - it's not genuine. And #2 - don't make a decision based on guilt or self-punishment. Those are unhealthy ways to make choices and would likely lead to regret. Ask yourself - and be honest with yourself - what do you want to do? You and you alone, since you will be alone in this if you want to seek a healthy life. Try to peel off the layers of guilt and self-anger and think what you really want. Picture alternative versions of the future (without him). Which is the one that you want? That's where your decision will lie.
  3. Nah, the eyetears were because it was touching, not because of pain.
  4. I was going to say exactly what WB said. It's his abusive mind-set, his entitlement. The table is his. Anything else - too bad. It's your fault for not rearranging the world to suit him. It's her fault for not rearranging her life to suit him. It's even more than about the fact she would get upset that he did that. It's total lack of consideration for others. That's what goes along with the entitlement of the abusive mind-set. He doesn't care about others. He has zero respect for others. HIS lack of consideration for her project was what caused it. However, he will turn that around and say it was your fault (and hers) and that the lack of consideration was yours... because he literally views himself as king of the castle. The table's his, the house is his, and you and her were the intrusion into what was rightfully his. He is selfish and abusive and inconsiderate and doesn't give a rat's butt about you or her. The brush intruded on his kingdom. The curtain and rod intruded on his kingdom. He is abusive and entitled and has a totalitarian, selfish worldview where nobody else matters but him. He honestly does not care if other people are hurt by his actions. He has no concept of "consideration for others." It doesn't matter to him what others feel.
  5. WB, to be honest, although what you're experiencing with the lightheadedness, dizziness, foggy brain unable to verbalize... although it could very well be psychological and due to confusion and overwhelm and abuse - and almost assuredly is exacerbated by it, no matter what... To tell you the truth, it sounds an awful lot like what I experience when my thyroid levels are too low. I think you've mentioned this before too, but I'm not sure what your status is on this. I'd really highly recommend you get this checked - and insist on all three tests (T3, T4, ultra-sensitive TSH - because for me, at least, sometimes one of these will indicate the low level when the other tests don't). And even if you've had it checked recently - within the past 6 months or year - get it re-checked. Things can change, labs can be wrong, or the right tests may not have been run. Did I ever tell the story of when I was certain I had low thyroid, due to symptoms and strong family history, and so I went straight to an endocrinologist. Who said my labwork was fine and I did not have hypothyroidism. So a year went by (with me suffering and upset that maybe "this was just the way life was now for me")... Then, in pre-surgery labwork from another doctor, they said, "Oh by the way, your thyroid level is low - you'll want to see your regular doctor to get that taken care of." And btw also, it was also very possible that I lost a job at least in part because of those symptoms. So this is why I'm so insistent. And it also gives you low energy, can make you gain weight (it slows your metabolism) and in general makes me feel foggy and confused and unable to even think about thinking about what's wrong. Other people's symptoms may vary, of course. But I really strongly highly strongly highly (strongly highly) recommend you get this checked and taken care of. And if you're already on meds for it, it may not be enough - and even if labs are at the low range of normal, most good doctors will know that if the low range isn't comfortable for you, then you should have it increased. AND ALSO, each of the different brands/forms of the medication will hit people differently. Sometimes some don't work that well even if technically the labwork is okay. A pharmacist will usually change you between brands without requiring the dr's permission. I bounced between all of them before hitting on the one that worked best for me. Then that one was discontinued and I'm on one that doesn't work quite so well, but is better than the others I tried. Seriously - don't be quick to assume this is psychological or "your fault" for "not being strong." This really sounds like some physical issues to me. Also have them check your iron levels, and your B vitamin levels - and D. D. D. D. If you are low on D, make sure you are taking enough of D3 (not the D2 they prescribe) - vitamin D as Cholecalciferol. I take "Doctor's Best Vitamin D3 2000 iu" - I take this 3 times a day - with breakfast, with coffee between breakfast and lunch, and with lunch. I'd kept adding one more and one more and one more as each made me feel better overall. I understand there can be issues with taking too much - my particular levels are smack-dab in the middle now (whereas I was clinically very low before I started this). Vitamin D impacts your energy and your muscles. Also if you are not taking a multivitamin (with iron), I'd strongly suggest it. The symptoms you experience sound physical to me and I'd really suggest getting them checked. I think we tend to "take on" things as being something we can mentally overcome and sometimes forget to check and take care of the body. What you describe - I've exactly felt this way. And usually there are physical steps to take to improve this. Also, how are you eating? Are you getting enough protein? That's a big deal, too. Anyway - check the body. Don't self-blame - self-care.
  6. Well here we're actually discussing two different types of medications: anti-anxiety, and antidepressants. Some dr's may prescribe antidepressants for anxiety/panic issues, and it may be a big help. My personal experience: Many many years ago, when I was still married, I was put on a few different antidepressants (because living as if you are nothing is depressing, and the sum total of a lifetime of abuse). We tried a few, nothing helped. As I recall, I did receive a benefit from Paxil - I think that was the one. It made the world feel and look different, clearer, colors more pure, it "felt" better. I was on that for a very brief time (it takes some time to "kick in" - I think I only felt the positive effects for a few days)... my doctor thought we could do better, so he took me off of that and tried a different ones. Nothing else worked for me. Like Melinoe also, he prescribed Prozac for me to try, but after one single dose it ate a hole in my stomach and I never touched it again. It was horrible. Actually not sure that it didn't originate issues I still suffer now after decades, because that was the first time. So the dr tried me back on Paxil (if that was the one) after trying a bunch of others... now, it no longer worked on me. In the interim years there have been a lot of "new" meds that are supposedly better. Now and then someone tries to get me to take them. I won't do it, afraid of the side-effects. Besides, for me, I'm primarily responding to situational issues. I don't want to alter my entire being because of sucky situations - and side-effects tend to hit me very hard, and my brain is something I don't really want to mess with chemically in that manner. And I've had other, supposedly benign medications mess with my head. So I'm protective of it. That's just me and my experience. Now, all that being said.... one thing I do love to have to get me through anxiety and panic is anti-anxiety meds. I like Xanax. It just makes me feel better, when I need it. It's not the type of thing you take every day, though, so it's more reactive than something that proactively helps prevent panic attacks. I had an absolutely awful terrorizing situation in which I felt hostage and was being traumatized daily, in a work situation a few years ago. I literally was basically having a nervous breakdown but on an ongoing basis... I disintegrated, but had to pretend normal and like I had my sh&t together even in the face of traumatizing events that I was being forced to go through and which were malevolently planned to harm me mentally, psychologically and professionally. This experience really "broke" me and I've never been the same since. At the same time, it was a part of myself and my life I don't care so much about anymore... except that I need that part (the "working for others" part) in order to survive, of course. So it really is hard to heal from this stuff. I'm still not, and maybe never will, because of the nature and scope of what was done, and because it keeps repeating so "maybe it's me and maybe I really am that horrible and worthless." The only way I got through it was with medication support. There is a chemical nature to panic attacks that, in my opinion, it's a vicious cycle that needs to be broken somehow in order to learn how to feel like you're back in control of yourself. If medication works for that, then that's a good thing. Another thing I use in a pinch... this may sound weird, but it actually does work.... is benadryl (diphenhydramine). Personally, because I react strongly to things, I buy children's chewable tablets (I get mine at Walgreen's). A true dose is, I think, 2 tablets - but I only ever take 1, and it works pretty quickly. Depending on the situation I might only take a half of one - so that's a quarter of a children's dose and doesn't knock me out. Also I've found that Bigelow Sweet Dreams tea (it has chamomile) can help, but it's a "milder" help. These are things I do when I need something. I have very few xanax left in my arsenal so I'm very protective of them and I have a hard time getting an Rx for them. Anyhoo. If it interferes with your life, it's time to explore your options and find medical support if it seems like it could help. It can be scary, but which is worse? You're the one who gets to make the choice. I think panic attacks for no apparent reason at Starbucks is a good reason. On the other hand - I'd also recommend that you don't exclude physical causes, and also I'd suggest getting a really thorough physical exam including labwork for all the body systems that could impact adrenaline and such, or any potential physical reason for these symptoms. Just to make sure, cuz you say it seems random and out of the blue and not really being triggered by anything. So I'd say start there, because you'd probably have to go to a physical dr anyway for any meds - when you describe the symptoms to them, make sure to express that you'd like to investigate for any possible physical reasons since these episodes don't seem to be psychologically triggered.
  7. What Mel said, 100%. Great post.
  8. Someone accused you of creating conflict? I'd think that might be a red flag... And it made me think, if someone talks "around" the topic like that, rather than addressing what you brought up, that could be manipulative obfuscation and blame-shifting... so that in and of itself could be a red flag. (Except of course when a person is trying to communicate with an abusive person, as I've even done that... "Now you're just trying to distract me"... "Now you're just bullying me..." etc... so it's probably tough to tell sometimes.) Maybe from the feeling.
  9. You SO did the right thing!!! Just because everything was good except that spark - you would never be happy with him. And then that wouldn't be fair to him, right? You'd always feel bad, like you were play-acting. You'd be putting your body into situations you didn't want. You'd have to kill pieces of yourself inside, to go through that. There will be others, they will all be different. Some you will like except for one thing, and others you will like except for another thing. You never have to settle for any of them. All people have the right to break up with others for any reason. Breakups are, by nature, going to hurt one or both of you - but that doesn't mean it's wrong to do. As with an abusive relationship, you can't just not-break-up with someone because of not wanting to hurt them. It's kind to not want to hurt someone, but it's inevitable that they will experience hurt. Removing yourself from their "dream" is going to hurt. That's normal and it's okay. And now, if you care about and respect him, then you should let him have his space and not pursue him. You already let him know you'd like to be friends - but he doesn't seem to be looking for that. And I think for some guys, that "feels" like an insult (even though we truly mean it!) - and it sounds like he was already having a future all planned out with you (yeah, that - to me - would scare me, lol, it's a bit much). For all you know, you actually may have dodged a bullet. He was proceeding too quickly for you, and it was making you uncomfortable. After dating for months - no matter how many - and he was already planning a future and talking about marriage - yeah, you may have dodged a bullet. So if I were you, I'd let him go. Not only to respect him and his space and his own pain and self-care........ but also, because personally for me, I feel bad about myself when I "pursue" anybody. If somebody wants to be with me, they will do it, and I wouldn't have to pursue or try to talk them into it. Trying to plead with someone to be with me in any capacity - friendship, romance, etc. - is, to me, self-degrading and I have promised myself I would never, ever put myself in that situation again. It makes me, personally feel horrible and less-than about myself. I would rather hold my head high and walk away. The people who want you in your life, will not require pursuing or pleading or trying to talk them into anything. And those are the "healthy" relationships to have in your life. So this was a really good "practice run," and you absolutely did the right thing by breaking it off. In a lot of different ways. You deserve someone who gives you a spark. You deserve someone you want to share yourself with physically and be intimate with. You would have died inside, had you stayed with him. And his too-hurried I love yous and future-planning, to me, is a red-flag - not necessarily of abuse, but to me it's pretty likely. Controllers and abusers can be nerdy, quiet, seemingly easygoing types, too. Trust me..... Ohhhh trust me on that one. Not disagreeing about anything has zero indication of being in a healthy relationship. This relationship was not healthy, even if he did not seem toxic at all. Because you weren't wholly happy within it. And that counts! That's everything! It matters! It's important. And this? That's just what normal guys do. It's not anything that special. This is the abuse conditioning talking, making it feel like it was something special. It's not special at all. It's just normal. So you will find others who don't mind if you don't text goodnight (holy cow, ANY guy you date shouldn't mind! If they do - DROP THEM IMMEDIATELY). You will find others who are okay with you going out with your friends (again - ANY guy should be okay with that - and if they're not, DROP THEM). So in essence, be careful of glorifying that which is actual normal because it feels so different from abuse. It's not glorious, it's just normal and what you should expect from anyone. Being grateful that someone has a non-abusive reaction to normal stuff... is very dangerous for you, it's a road for you to end up in another relationship you're not really happy in - just because it's different. But non-abuse is not glorious, and you do not need to over-value or be overly thankful for it, or to worry that it's the only time someone will react non-abusively to you. So yes, absolutely you did the right thing! 100% absolutely, incontrovertibly. Unquestionably. 100%. Good for you!!!
  10. Very good - brought tears. This is all so true. Made me think back to when I was married. When I was first married, and the very first signs showed. I wish I'd read this. I wish I'd known that I was a person and that that marriage was not "just how it was" and that I deserved to be treated as a person. This is not how it's supposed to be. <-- was one of the motivating thoughts that got me out (there were probably 3-5 total, lol). Most of my marriage was before there was the Internet. And actually, the Internet and chat were instrumental in making me feel like I was a worthwhile person - a person at all - who didn't just have to keep going along with "this life" as it was. It's hard to explain but I bet a lot of you can understand. To leave, I had to believe I was a person and not just a sort of amorphous blob who had to go along with things. I know now this was probably "boundaries" stuff I'd never learned, and the product of multidimensional abuses and control growing up, and some sort of developmental lack. Now later in life I'm criticized for my knowledge of boundaries - as if others for some reason feel they have a right to invade or override them. I am criticized for maintaining they do not have the right. No matter their criticism - they are wrong. Y'all - you are a person, in and of yourself, unique and individual and separate from all others, and from everything that happens. And you get to choose what you do with your life. Not just the people on tv or in movies who go on adventures or get to change their life. It's not just the people in stories on the internet. You are one of those people, too.
  11. If he files with the court for custody you would be notified somehow, but if his attorney does not have your address, that makes things difficult. I don't have any advice on that. Your attorney might be able to be the go-between. If your h has no address for you then there are alternate "notice" methods he would have to fulfill, but you might miss them. A clean break and not communicating with his mother would probably be safest. I wouldn't be able to advise on how to keep tabs on his location beyond ways you probably already know about or that are legal.
  12. Oh and of course also make sure your privacy settings are all "friends only" and not "friends of friends" (or public, of course). Including images/profile pictures.
  13. Unfortunately I think the members who really knew this stuff best, no longer post. But if you make sure Location Services are off on your phone, that's your best bet, for all things. Never allow it for any program. If you have to temporarily allow it, immediately turn it off. For FB, make sure there is nothing in your profile or settings identifying your location. Make sure your public profile does not show anything. Never allow it to check in anywhere. Try looking at your profile and messaging from another account that isn't your "friend." (You can make a fake account just for this purpose and NOT friend yourself.) Check it every which way. Never "check in" anywhere. FB messenger is a weird app. I'd avoid it if I were you, I just don't trust it. But if there is nothing in your FB profile identifying location, and you have no location service on, then it probably can't locate you that way. BEST BET, though, is to delete your current account and start a new one, not using your real name and not one that's easily guessable. Do not allow anything public. Texting, maybe but probably not unless the other person is in TARU or something. But don't take my word for it at all. There may be ways to open texts in programs and look in the code - I really do not know, but I'm guessing not, unless your location service is turned on. HOWEVER. All this being said. It's possible that there is a hidden locator app installed in your phone if he has every had any means to have access to it. To really disappear you should get a new phone and probably on a different account and service entirely. You should also have a professional check your vehicle for tracking devices. (Not kidding, we have had members...) Any other digital devices such as laptops or tablets - you should either replace entirely, or wipe clean - not just delete files, but re-initialize to factory settings. Go through your purse or discard it and your wallet or anything else you typically carry with you, in case anything might be embedded into a lining. I know this all sounds extreme but ... better safe than sorry, and if you are concerned, if nothing else it will make you feel better. And it doesn't hurt to err on the side of safety.
  14. Children who live in an abusive household have much less chance of growing up healthy, than if they have one household with one parent that is abuse-free. Many members have thought if they stayed they could protect their children better. What happens is that the children grow up without any perspective that abuse isn't normal. They are very badly impacted by the abuse. It's much healthier for them to have at least one household that is not abusive - it helps them gain a barometer about abuse, helps prevent them from either becoming abusive or being targets of abuse their entire life, is just on the whole healthier. Bottom line: staying will not protect your son. On the contrary, it keeps him in an abusive environment 100% of the time. As for custody and scheduling - with an abuser, you never ever just leave that up to their own will. It gets spelled out in legal documents that they must comply with. Yeah,they may fight, but that's not unusual. So I think the best way is to go into the negotiation asking for the moon. Like you really want it all. Then when you "concede" to a lesser amount, they feel like they've "won." And if issues arise later - well, you will find ways to deal with them, then. One thing at a time. It's just another step to go through. These concerns are totally normal, but not something that should keep you from moving forward. You will find that there will be a new "normal" that is healthier for both of you - it takes walking through a rocky path to get there, but it's there.
  15. Sad

    If you need, for your own mental safety, to withhold information and not tell certain people things - then that's wise. If telling people these things make you doubt yourself, then they are not supportive and not helpful. If someone really cares about you, they would be encouraging and would want you to be happy. Also, if your new counselor doesn't think it's the "best thing" for you to pursue - keep looking. Nobody - and I mean nobody - should encourage you to stay in a relationship with a person who makes you feel unhappy. For any reason! Everyone has the inherent right to choose who they want to be with. Who they live with, who they want to spend their time and their life with. That choice is yours, and yours alone. It's nobody else's business. YOU are the only one who feels your own self and your own soul. YOU are the only one qualified to make this judgment, this choice. Unfortunately, with your sister and your friend, you are banging your head against a brick wall. They believe what they want to believe. And you know what? It's sort of condescending and insulting, I think, to assume you don't know enough about your own life and aren't wise enough or adult enough to make this decision for yourself. People who respect others also respect their decisions. Sometimes it hurts less to disengage from such people. I had to, too, with my own family treating me this way. I was never, ever seen as an "adult." Always "less-than." It's incredibly negating and hurtful. I'm sorry