Unlike many posters on this site I am a male victim of emotional abuse. I met my partner when I was 20 years old and she was already married. In a complete whirlwind courting period where she asked me to marry her and divorced her current husband. Four months after meeting her we were married. I spent 20 years in a marriage with extreme emotional abuse. I was always told how other men were better than me in every way. Not once in 20 years did she tell me she loved me, but rather she had married me because I was a ‘good person’. She had affairs that I always forgave. I was not allowed to talk to women or I was accused of plotting to sleep with them whether they were 12 years old or 60. I was cut off and isolated from my family, my children were told that they had a ‘single mom’ because I was so useless. My children were told that in front my face, not behind my back.
Eventually 15 years into the marriage my grandfather died and something inside me came alive and I resolved to break free. I had terrible guilt at the thought of leaving and it took 5 years of building up the courage. Towards the end I started to see a psychologist who told me that my ex showed all the symptoms of a psychopath and that for my mental health I should leave. It took someone else telling me to leave to get the courage to do so. My self worth was so low and fear so great that I had a severe panic attack and believed I was having a heart attack and ended up in hospital alone with nobody to call.
Over the past 5 years since the divorce I have slowly healed, but still have a long way to go. I have just ended a second toxic relationship that fortunately has only lasted 18 months. In this last relationship some of the patterns of my marriage were repeated, some unbelievable lines were crossed and yet I forgave. She got angry with my and had sex with my teenage son to punish me and I forgave. She lied constantly and stole and I forgave. The ability for someone to trigger such self doubt that I question my own sanity and what the facts are is incredible.
Something I really do want to share having followed this page for a long time is that ‘they’ don’t matter and neither does knowing the truth. Knowing the truth will change nothing and so I have no need to obsess over it. What matters is me and my mental health. It is hard not to question why someone can treat you like that, but it really doesn’t matter. Why I ignored red flags, allowed myself to abused is what matters because until I change myself the pattern will continue.