Three Year date-auditable Diary

An Abusive Marriage, extracts from my Journal

This is the most authentic way I have in which to portray my experience of abuse. I began to write in a bid to understand what was happening in my marriage.  There are, perhaps, 2% of my experiences of her abuse recorded here in this post. In February 2012, just after the split, following a visit to a friend who used to work for Womens Aid advising abused women and a call to ‘Mankind’ (recommended by my friend) regarding domestic abuse, I compiled many individual journal files and some emails together. Then I read the result.  I was incredibly shocked to realise the oppression I had been under and the extent of my wife’s psychological abuse. It had a huge emotional effect on me.  I had been under its shadow since the autumn of 2007, within weeks of marriage.  I had scribbled many brief notes on pieces of paper too, but they have been lost or discarded.  Nevertheless, writing those notes has helped me remember what happened. This particular page is not intended to be used for memories that I have, but for the date-auditable documentary records that I kept.  I still retain them as a means of authenticating the contents of this blog because I can prove that they were written piece by piece during 30 months of abuse, they were not written afterwards.

In the future I shall write in separate parts of the blog about how the abuse started and the consequences of my failure to properly recognise it and deal with it properly for what it was. I spent far too long trying to tolerate it, which had consequences for my own conduct. I will cover some of the difficulties responding to it in such circumstances and how I only began to fully recognise it after splitting-up. That recognition occurred in February 2012 just after the split. It followed my telling a friend about my wife’s most appalling attitude towards my (by now adult) foster daughter – a member of my family – who my wife frequently insisted was “ferrule” and “…. would sleep with any of them (the men at our wedding)”.  That was far from the case then.  Only three years on, she married bore a child, runs a well organised household and is professionally qualified with a high degree of responsibility.

My friend was someone who my wife absolutely refused to meet with. I would have been very happy for the three of us to meet and I had suggested that. Furthermore, she had forbidden me from meeting her again and there were big problems when I once decided to refuse to comply with that order and my wife found out.  In February 2012 my friend reminded me that she used to work as an advisor for Womens Aid. She explained that my wife’s behaviour regarding my foster daughter O was domestic abuse.  As I related other stories, she told me that they, too, were domestic violence, a term which covers emotional, psychological and other abuse. In the 1990’s my friend and I had both completed a two year part-time university counselling course, during which we had worked together as ‘buddies’.

She referred me to an organisation called “Mankind”.

The end of the day of that visit was very dramatic …I shall write about it in the future, but the timing of the meeting that preceded it was most remarkable, it prepared me for what I was about to face.

The next morning I looked at Mankind’s website. The government’s definitions of abuse were explained and I gave them a call.

Types of domestic abuse

 

Around that time my wife sent out emails about my alleged problems. Those I had access to, because they were sent to some of my friends, were written in a manner that I felt was very condescending.  She suggested that she had been very patient, claiming that I had enormous problems that I struggled with.  She recommended several books to her audience.  I bought two of them to read. More on that later.

My Journal (Diary)  is almost entirely date-auditable. That means the dates noted can be proved as the dates when it was written.  Anything in italics is a later addition, for information only.  The rest is precisely ‘as is’, with all spelling mistakes etc. all left in. I have changed nothing of what was written then other than to put some parts in bold.

Note that by the time of the first entry here, the enormous problems of abuse had existed for over a year and I was by then struggling to cope with it, please bear that in mind whilst reading the first few entries.

Diary entry for 14/02/09. Valentines Day. Found in “Travel Notes” file

I wake up with a headache. I accept D’s presents and cards. Then I turn back into bed. D tells me to just get something for my head and stop my self pity. She goes on insisting it is self pity. Eventually she gets me something for it, but still points out it is self pity. Later, trying to sort it out is quite tumultuous. She told me I was behaving like a boy with self pity. I simply didn’t want to bother moving. I find her insistence about things like this very painful because she will not accept any other explanation.

After a lovely meal out then watching a film at home we are both falling asleep. At 1110 D chooses to raise a point that I do never make love to her at night and that she is always available for me. I point out that a man has to ‘perform’. She says I have not made love to her in the evening for a year. I said that I made love to her in the evening just a few days ago. (I also made love to her in the early hours about two weeks ago). Yes I am usually most interested in the morning, but her idea about a year is so, so inaccurate.

I feel completely cornered by D, she dictates who my friends are. In the past we have had a lot of arguments aout Z. A week ago we had an argument about going to J’s wedding reception. The other day she was questioning us going to S’s 30th. I feel as if she is isolating me from the few people I like having contact with and dictating who our friends should be. There is an aspect of this that I cannot handle and I am starting to think more and more about avoiding D.  I get fed up with D’s judgement of family members. Today she was once again complaining about B who has not contacted us about a weekend away. B was last weekend telling D how forgetful she is becoming.

I have now told her my BP yesterday was 160/107. D knows the week before it was 160/100. Before I married her it had never been over 130/90. Yesterday the nurse asked me if there was any reason for it. I said I didn’t know. I am very concerned about this.

 

21/7/09
21 July,

D gets up at 0715. I get up about 0735, make a pot of tea and take a cup to D in the bedroom. I had already noticed she had (very unusually) closed the bedroom door. I opened it and gave her the tea.

I set the breakfast table and asked D if she wants porridge ‘no’.

I start breakfast and prepare a morning reading, ready for D coming through. (She often complains that I am not our spiritual leader). I listen to R(adio) 4.  I often listen to R4 in the kitchen provided she is not there.
At 8.05, in preparation for D coming through, knowing she complains about R4 and tells me I ought to listen to something more cheerful, I switch off the radio, thinking she will appreciate that.
At 0820 D says ‘I am going Tim’. I ask ‘aren’t you having breakfast’. D says ‘no, I have a board meeting today and I’m late. We kiss goodbye. She is distant (but as she would tell me she is responsible for her own behaviour). She waves a very quick goodbye from the car and leaves. I recollect Sunday morning, when I was sitting at the breakfast table, feeling a little tired so I’m not promoting any conversation, but passively eating breakfast. D is sitting there too. D tells me off, she’s telling me in her words to liven up, that at home she wasn’t allowed to behave like that. I feel as if I am being treated like a child and D is my mother. In my opinion there was nothing wrong with my communication, I was just tired. She was emulating her mother.

I felt disappointed by D’s communication last night. She used words like ‘never’ and was telling me things about how I am (in her view). I tried explaining that ‘never’ was not an appropriate word because it hardly ever applied and that it would be much better to use phrases like ‘I feel….’ rather than telling me how I am directly.

I’m becoming more reluctant to talk. I have shared deep things with D that she then points out to me to explain my behaviour. She appears to decide that some aspect of my behaviour is related to my past (and I may know that to some extent it is). I feel that there is more to it, that, perhaps, it is also due to how we interreact and therefore it is down to D to consider too. I feel that she is ignoring that aspect. I have tried to discuss this with her several times, including last night.

Last night I also raised how she tells me I am a thinker (MBTI) not a Feeler. I told how that affects me, that I feel a lot of things intensely and feel that she invalidates that.

13/9/09
Yesterday I suggested to D that we plan to depart at 1130 for Largs. This morning we agreed on that, with 1200 being OK. We had got up at 0830 and got straight on with breakfast. I had a list of things to do. After breakfast (before 0915) D was doing her thing getting stuff ready and I went to do mine, which included doing some things outside. It included picking some blackberries. (Our initial plan had been to go away for the weekend, since we had extended this to Thursday I needed to do that before we left, rather than afterwards. Otherwise many would be lost. (Jam etc for the winter, very satisfying, and I had wanted to go into agriculture). I planned to spend up to an hour outside, This has been a contentious issue in the past, with me wanting to harvest a crop I had ‘cultivated’ and D complaining we had too much. When I got back, an hour later, D complained about me picking blackberries whilst she was ‘working hard’ (or similar remark) getting us ready. Oh no, not again. I decided to say something and got pretty annoyed about it in the end, because of the background to this. Why oh why wouldn’t D let me make the most of this small harvest? It’s driving me up the wall.
It turned out that she was actually concerned about not being able to contact me, but that had been lost in the objections to me picking blackberries. I said I was sorry, I had thought about taking my phone, but didn’t. As far as I saw it, D had things to do, I had things to do, we had agreed a time to be ready and we were working towards that. An hour outside fitted that plan. To pick everything I would have spent two hours out, but I had decided to compromise in what I thought was a significant way. Does a farmer grow a crop then fail to gather it in? It brought back D’s comments about gathering in the apples, which was along the lines of ‘I won’t eat them’. (I will add that as a consequence of D’s attitude, in 2011 I picked none of the bumper crop of redcurrants, apples or plums, yet this was a smallholding and my wife had chosen to marry the owner. I left the redcurrants to the birds, I gave the apples to the sheep and I fed the plums to the hens. It sickened me, but I felt so controlled by D that felt I had no option. I couldn’t bring the harvest inside. Only the last few apples were kept, such was her oppression. A long time before that she had stopped me raising lambs and had given the lamb in the freezer to a colleague for his dogs. My wife refused to use it because the lamb’s mothers were in the field. Well, she had married a smallholder and she knew I raised lambs for meat. By autumn 2011, following prior requests, she was pleading with me to stop a neighbour giving us veg out of his garden. It was lovely stuff, but she bought exactly the same items from Tesco because it was clean. Unless I insisted that we use it, she left the veg that was gifted. I also had to tolerate repeated complaints about my growing perfectly good lettuce. Apparently it was because her father had once grown so much he had to give it away. What was her problem)?

We argued a lot at the flat. As our first meal we agreed fish and chips on the prom at sunset. This surprised me, I thought we would be eating out in a restaurant. Once back with the shopping D suggested we eat in the flat then go out, there was just enough time. We agreed Steak pie, carrots and leeks. then D added sweetcorn, which she mentioned whilst cooking. I was looking up sunset times, which D agreed I would do. When dinner was served it was Scotch Pie, mushrooms, tomato and sweetcorn. I generally eat what I get, but this was completely different to what we had agreed less than 20 minutes, with us three metres away from one-another all the time. I didn’t complain, but thought ‘I get fed up with all this tomato-based stuff.  It really did seem like tomatoes with everything.   If I knew D was going to ignore me and serve this I’d have agreed on fish & chips’. D saw that I wasn’t that happy and pushed for me to tell her, so I said how we had agreed carrots and Leek. We had a big argument which eventually culminated in me saying I was craving vegetables. (A few days before we had discussed how our bodies sometimes tell us what we need). D went to the bedroom. I went out, via the bedroom, walked along the prom during sunset and onward to the supermarket, where I bought the cabbage and peas that I ate later.  After she had gone to bed.  I often want to eat slightly more ‘conventional’ food.  It isn’t a huge issue, but when we agreed what to have then D changed it substantially right in front of me without communicating I felt that firstly she was a hypocrite because of her earlier complaints about communication, secondly, that she didn’t care about my choices and thirdly, that she might have been doing this deliberately. This is something I am convinced she did during early 2012 and it had a very drastic effect. I find it interesting that I identified such behaviour a long time prior to that.


We have two large chest freezers. One is more than twice the space considered suitable for one, but it suits the way we shop & my crops. (She did marry someone with a smallholding). I used to have one and that was plenty for more than one. D complains at me picking fruit and a few days ago she pointed out there wasn’t much room in the freezer. I felt as if my efforts had been futile. I have been interested in gardening since a child and this is the first time I have encountered someone complaining that I am bring in too much. It brings me low. Something that I get satisfaction from and others have appreciated in the past now gets complaints. We have about 23 cu.ft of freezer space and my wife complains when I have picked under 10kg of redcurrants and 5kg of blackberries.
I feel as if I have achieved a lot. We marry and we live in D’s first place that isn’t rented. I have a job that I enjoy more than any other. D gets a job similar to what she used to do, as chaplain in the local h……, and seems to enjoy it.

14/9/09
We get back from a long day out, D has driven 150 miles so I go in the kitchen to get dinner ready. I have washed and chopped leeks. D comes in and says “lave you washed the leeks”. I am often irritated by D telling me exactly how to do things and her objecting when I do it a different way, so I say, “let me do it” D complains but I reiterate “let me do it”. She won’t back off. I get so frustrated I hit myself around the head several times with my trainers then grab some alcohol. (The only times I ever consumed more than a very moderate amount of alcohol were when I felt driven to it by my wife. Alcohol has never been a problem for me and I should add that it never affected my behaviour in any aggressive way. Nor has self-harm ever been a factor in my life except on this level during futile arguments with D)..She drives me round the bend in the kitchen. yes I could have said “I’ll make teat tonight” but her statement reminded me of the way she won’t let me do anything in the kitchen my way. She complains when I suggest different ways to her, so why will she not leave me to it!

10/2/10 (notes part-way through this day reveal that I was off work because I was ill. “been ill and still off work.”, it might be best to read the many entries for that day bearing in mind my illness).
D often insists that I don’t use what she terms a carving knife to prepare veg. I suggest it doesn’t matter that much. She’s insistent. I’m getting fed up with it. She complains sometimes that I don’t pull me weight in the kitchen, then she tells me EXACTLY what to do. I feel resentful about it. She’s so controlling!

10/2/10
Radio 2. I do my best to persuade myself that I want to listen to it because D likes it. She complains about me liking Radio 4. I slink away to listen to R4. I try to listen to R2 to persuade myself that I like it, I’m actually quite indifferent to it. I resent this, In fact, right now, following the argument yesterday about turning the radio down I feel very annoyed. (As part of my employment I listen to Radio 2 like output for eight hours a day, so I prefer speech radio and music that is not so mainstream at home).

10/2/10
D insistent that I had put the psu for her laptop away. Refused to accept that I hadn’t. Meanwhile she carries on using a laptop from my work. I found that she had put it (the psu) in a computer bag and I took this up with her. She said she hadn’t known what it looked like. (she had owned this laptop for about six years and it was the original power supply.  Clearly she was lying, perhaps because her control of me wasn’t going to plan).

10/2/10
D again complaining that I have less energy than her. It’s because I get up before her and she can stay up later. She’s often reluctant to go to bed earlier & uses this as a complaint about ‘energy’. She’s said it a few times,

10/2/10
D wants to speak to me.

I say the radio’s too loud.

D says I turned it up & keeps insisting!!!

I throw my laptop down on a soft surface – deliberately onto a very soft surface, this is controlled. What on earth is going on? If she wants to talk surely she can just turn it down a bit, it’s right beside her.

D reminds me I did (to listen to a record a few minutes before) and I back down.

I’m annoyed at her attitude, why didn’t she just turn the radio down, it’s besides her

I’m fed up with being told it’s my problem.

I walk off

She tells me I’m immature, I think that’s bloody insulting and very hurtful

Next time I’m in the room, moments later, D’s on her laptop. I’m fed-up with the amount of time she spends on it & she just continues on it

I come back, virtually moments later. She’s on the phone to her mum. I realise I’m tired and head to bed.

I end up realising I’m tired (been ill and still off work). I head off to bed. I’t’ll be easier to talk when I feel better.

D eventually comes off the phone, she complains about me going to bed, says I tend to do this in these situations. I feel more and more that she’s pushing me into a corner. Her claims is very unfair. I’m just recognising that I’m tired and doing something about it. Hell! I’ve been off work since Friday (it’s now Tuesday) and she’s having a go at me about the fine detail of me telling her the radio is too loud. She goes on the attack and turns it to blame me. I’m not having her turning her abusing me into claims that I’m abusing her! D tells me she has been told to approach things this way by Y & Z. (Counsellors) Clearly it doesn’t work with us! This time I ended up taking to a car to get a bit of peace and let things cool-off.  It was the coldest February for years, I had been off work ill for several days. The local temperature that day was 4 degrees C maximum, yet I had to take to a parked car to get some peace away from my abusive wife.  

Last Sunday (I’m ill & feeling pretty rotten) we disagreed about something and she pursued me all around the house. Things got worse and worse because she wouldn’t give me any room to think. I become more and more desperate to get her to back off. I even stooped so low as to suggest I didn’t know how she could do the job she does with the attitude that she has.

10/2/10
D regularly interrupts what I am doing to talk about utter trivia and gossip. Katie Price and Peter Andre, or whoever she is with now. I have even taken to reading it to be able to talk with her…frankly it’s of no interest to me, but I have been doing it for D.

She in turn complains when I interrupt what she is doing. How do we resolve this?

17/2/10
Tonight D asked me to fix her computer by the end of the week (later said she asked for me to find out about the solution by the end of the week). Maybe she had just asked for me to find out, that’s waht I was doing. This follows on from last time, when D didn’t use it for weeks because she said she didn’t know where the PSU was. She had forgotten what it looked like and put it away, yet who is held responsible for finding it?
D wanted to put the TV on to watch the ONE show whilst we had tea. She then changed to Ski-ing, followed by Holby City. At 9am she started complaining about me using the laptop and pointed out I had been using it for some time. She complained I do this a lot and that I don’t talk to her. I got a bit fed up with the moaning, how come she puts the TV on then complains that I don’t talk to her, she asked when I last asked her how she was, how work went. I said ‘yesterday’. She complained about today and I said she had the TV on. She complained about me being on the laptop (she was watching TV all the time) and I said I had been looking things up for her, to fix her laptop. So often I stay up late whilst D watches TV. I’d rather do something else. So often D has complained about me going to bed early (2230 or so) ansd says I have less energy than her. (I tend to get up in the night a lot more than her, I’m UP just as much).
She complained that I have the life of Reilley. When I suggest that I do things too she refers specifically to housework. I suggest that I do other things. (This really feels like an insult). I do spend a lot longer working.

I had grown to hugely resent the TV (past) and the amount D watches it, but some time ago I learnt to accept it and just do other things instead, but I find it difficult to read with the TV on. Short duration stuff in the laptop is easier. So I accepted it, I even learnt to accept that D now watches EastEnders. I have learnt to try to take an interest in the sort of gossip that D takes an interest in and even to try to take an interest to the extent that I can tell her things about Jordan, Peter Andre, footballers wives, Tess Daly and Vernon and so it goes on. I have learnt to watch and take an interest in Holby City, Cranford, ark Rise, Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing on Ice, That other dance show. I never used to watch much TV but I have resigned myself to it, no more than that, I have been to a lot of effort to take an interest, but when it comes to which footballer is shagging which other footballer’s ex-girlfriend I struggle to feel that it is is any way a good thing. I have from time to time felt like throwing it othe TV and I have told D this. A while ago I suggested we do without a TV licence for a month, D was strongly against it. I can do without it. D was keen to point out that I time shift TV. Yes I do and it is great for being selective (I used to do without TV before marriage and I did so in November 2012 after the licence ran out, buying another in December because young relatives would be staying at Christmas).


D complained last night when she asked when I was seeing Y (counsellor) and I said I saw him today. She complained that I hadn’t told her. Once again I HATE HAVING A TV IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!
I feel there is a significant spiritual element,
Tonight I elt it was grossly unfair that D insisted that the problem wasn’t about having the TV on and complained about me not talking and insisted that me using the laptop is a problem. It’s not long since I noted that I spent three hours one evening asking D to let me use the laptop. Yes, that’s how long it took for her to part with it for a while, THREE HOURS!
D complained that I could have switched-off the TV. She repeatedly wouldn’t accept that I said it’s not really me to insist that she switch it off. I HATE HAVING THAT TV. I HATE IT. I HATE THE WAY THINGS ARE BETWEEN US, THE WAY THAT D COMPLAINS I DON’T FEEL ABLE TO TALK WITH HER.
I AM FED-UP WITH BEING CRITICISED BY D FOR THI

2/4/10 (O (my former foster daughter) was due to stay here with A (her fiance))
I’ve been running a temperatur for over 24 hours, Very unusually, I’m wanting the room at 21-23 degrees to feel comfortable so I knowe |I’m ill.

I’m still feeling pretty rough.

D complains that I have had a computer on the kitchen worktop and it’s dangerously close to water. Actually it has tended to be there overnight charging & the charger has been let there during the day. I say it’s actually considered to be safe enough, it is a suitable distance way, that’s why the socket is where it is. She asks for me not to put it there and I accept.this.

Next time I come into the kitchen, less than a minute later, D asks when I am going to fix her laptop. I think it’s an unreasonable time to keep complaining. I’m fed up with fixing it, it keeps having things not working on it so I bring a machine home from work. She uses it, sometimes, for three hours with me asking every half-an-hour or so if I can use it. (Too many double standards in our house)! Last time I fixed hers she didn’t use it for ages, the battery ran completely flat one time too many and it’s had it- repair £80.

Then she has problems with a virus or similar. She’s complaining that I haven’t fixed that. I think supplying a(nother) laptop …. is quite enough,for the time being but no – not to her.

Anyway, I walk back to the living room feeling rotten and to make a point close the door fairly hard. I’m controlling my feelings, but at the same time letting her know I’m not happy.

She objects, I quickly apologise. (She tends to insist I apologise, saying they did that in her family). A few minutes later I approach her but she doesn’t want to know. I think ‘I’ll give her some time to calm down’. I go back to the living room and slump in a chair.

D brings tea in, then soon starts complaining about my behaviour.. I say that I have apologised, add that I did try to approach her for a second time and add quietly that I don’t feel well. She says that’s no excuse and, she continues moaning. I’ve by this time had enough. She’s been talking lately again since O called about how I behave like a boy, she talks about dysfunctional behaviour. Adding that O is very dysfunctional. I have finally had enough of D’s attitude over recent days. (O was going to stay last night, I didn’;t feel well and used that as an opportunity to cancel. D insists that I’m not O’s parent, (I never claim I am and I point it out). saying that I only fostered her for a year (note that I was in the role of father for a decade through her childhood to 16 and very regular contact continued into her adulthood to the present). Earlier we had a reasonable conversation when I told her how I had known O since she was 3, how she stayed regularly for weeekends from the age of 7 to 13, when she disclosed …… abuse to m This kind of thing comes up time and time again.

She moans and moans so I decide to head to bed (ill) , deliberately not taking of my clothes because she say she’s put fresh bedding on (and I was sweaty).. She follows, pulls off the covers and I decide I have had enough when she still insists on her being right. I’ve just HAD ENOUGH OF THE ABUSE AND CONTROL she exercises on me, my friends and family.. She just won’t back off so I walk towards her quite determinedly. I say I feel ill, she rants on about caring for dying people every day. She’s walking out of the living room. She carries on ranting on. She keeps on moaning. I pick up the ironing board that has fallen to the floor and push it hard to the ground in the hall beside her. She says I’d better clear that up. WHEN WILL SHE STOP controlling!

Things have been building up for a few days since O (foster-daughter) told us she was engaged and there is a possibility that I might be asked to give her away. (In a discussion when she was 20 I had promised to do that if she wanted me to do so) D’s kept going on about dysfunctional behaviour on my part. I’m noit allowed to choose friends or anyone else whom I keep in contact with. I have had enough of her control of me, everythiong has to be one her way. I tolerate it for as long as I can. I know she won’t accept any other view so I just hear her, but it gets to a point where it’ unbearable.

2/4/10
Saying we have diffiiculties is putting it mildly. I feel very controlled by D because of what she says about me,my family and friends (what feels like constant references to my dysfunctional behaviour, suggesting I’m behaving like a boy, I could go on). I feel like there’s no way I can be myself with her because she finds something dysfunctional about it. I’m bombarded with it. She says it’s just her communicating. It got to a point just now where I withdrew to the bedroom. I was repeatedly asking her to give me some space (in accordance with counselling agreements regarding controlling anger) and she just stood over me. She wouldn’t back-off at all, so I ended up pushing her out of the house. I let her back in immediately and she complained about violence. A reminder about giving me space when I requested it was thrownb back in my face.
The way I see it, whatever I do I’m wrong and I’ve had enough of that. It’s incredibly difficult to try to deal with it as a Christian, especially when I have things thrown back at me when they have bveen agreed.

18/4/10
Another bloody stupid argument. D wants to watch ‘her’ programme and she’s making a fuss because it turns out her box hasn’t picked-up BBC1 & I have plans to record something else. . I’m getting sick of the fuss with D asking me how to work it and I feel as if it’s my responsibility. It’s just an old (Freeview) box that can’t handle England/Scotland. On the border, very  early Freeview boxes cannot cope with English and Scottish versions of the same TV channels. I cancel my own programme so she can watch hers, I’m more annoyed at the fuss she’s making than cancelling my programme. She has a moan at me for not thanking her for finding out that my prog is on later in the week. She hadn’t thanked me for cancelling my programme. It’s no big deal but she keeps going on about it. I tell her to just go and watch her programme but she keeps coming back at me. (she uses the old freeview box because she hasn’t yet mastered the new one, it is common for me to operate many things for her prior to me writing instructions for her – all on her request. I still have some of the instruction sheets online.  I had to write one to help her light the log burner).

Friday 7 May 2010 – from a handwritten sheet of A4 paper that I still have

It is the day after the general election.  I have been working all night covering the story for my employer.  I got home at 4am and took a little sleep.  By 7am I am working again. This time I was at home logged in on two laptops, monitoring the performance of outside broadcast links.

 1. I had told D in advance that I would be very busy at work – but I would get time back.
2. Still, despite loads of work, getting things done at home.
3. D’s parents are staying.
4. I’m working – intense – D looks like thunder
5. I ask “what’s wrong”? She says “The greenhouse”.
6. I explain calmly
7. I go to greenhouse – say I’m about to clear it for lettuce etc
8. D wondering why I want to grow lettuce.
– OH NO – We had this last year.
-D’s attitude doesn’t seem to change – I have to work
I’m working – D looks annoyed and says she’ll get a gardener.
I complain – money – just the day before I dealt with her parking fine – she could have done it!
I complained about what I see as her wilful spending
Resent her fines – being conned & not following it up. (she ran up a bill of £135 for “Interesting Facts” text messages claiming she didn’t know they cost £5 a time. She didn’t investigate the large increase in her monthly mobile bill, even though I mentioned it seemed unusually high after the second increased bill. After the third substantially increased bill of nearly four times the normal level,  she let me look at the itemised billing. Several months later I formally tackled the problem for her, establishing that she was entitled to a £135 refund that she never sought).
-I complained about her objecting to me growing things for freezer
-I complained about money
I feel ignored and demotivated
D – me – money, she claims I’m insecure and asks “What if I lost it”?
She spent £700 extra in the last month. She just put it down to being “South African”.
I complained about her attitude
I decided her parents might as well see how bothered I was about it. Slammed a door three times – told her she’d have to work more if she wanted more.  Later she claimed her parents were very concerned about this behaviour, they hadn’t heard the argument but they did hear the door slam.  Remember the above was recorded at the time. I had quietly made a remark to her mother about D’s behaviour.

26/6/11
(from an email I sent to friends. This records the circumstances I was working in during my time working away from home each week, so the reader can then consider D’s responses bearing in mind the context). 

Dear E and F,

Thank you for your help and prayers. The latest is that last night when D cuddled-up in bed I pushed her away, which I had never done before. (Earlier in the day I went through my phone deleting any texts from D of a romantic nature – I felt repulsed by them. I realised then that I was right on the edge of a serious decision to split-up). Whilst in bed last night I told D how for some time I have been considering renting somewhere because of how bad things were getting and I didn’t want it to get even worse. She was very upset. I tried to explain that I wasn’t always able to say clearly that I needed space and for how long, but I had been saying things that made it clear that was needed. It turns out D thinks she has to follow me around because I am in a poor mental state.   She seems to think she has to protect me in some way. Looking back, I think it was just her controlling attitude. I have explained how actually I’m not half as bad as she thinks, but I said I’m not like her, I need space to think before responding and her following me about challenging me and immediately telling me how I am responsible for my actions, standing in my way etc, is what makes things very bad. She’s heard me, but I am still on the edge of a decision to hire somewhere to stay. Every week I consider not coming back home. My actions aren’t good, but I’m still convinced D is provoking me. I still think she is unwittingly abusive towards me. I’ve had enough of what she says about my (she claims) dysfunctional family and how she keeps holding me responsible for certain problems that are not just down to me. I’m absolutely sick of her telling me how good her father is, etc etc. As you can tell, we’re teetering on the brink. After a lot of consideration I really do think that some aspects of the way D treats me are abusive, as a result there are areas I avoid discussing with her. I have thought this for a year or more and when she denies, even ridicules this suggestion, I emotionally withdraw further from her.

This job has pushed me far further that any other job I have had. It’s not that it’s exceptionally difficult, except when timescales are taken into account. It is apparently well established that it takes twenty days to prepare to deliver a (new) two day course. I was being expected to deliver after eight days. Now bear in mind that this is an update course, it covers the changes to an existing system that I have had to learn from scratch, whilst most of my students know the existing system well because they have been using it for five years. So for them it’s like having had lots of experience driving an automatic car, but now they have to adapt to drive a manual. Meanwhile I, as their instructor, have never driven before and have had recently had five lessons learning to drive a manual car. Now consider that it is usual for attachees to do this in a familiar place with support available. The same support is not available to me in London.

I now know reliably that no other attachee to this department during the last 20 years has been put under such pressure. However they have an ambitious new manager who thinks anything is possible. I told him two weeks ago that I am having to be careful because I am working very close to my limits. I said how I’ll need to be continuously aware of how close to that limit I am, because I’m very tired. He knows I go home and am ‘out of it’ for 24 hours or more. I have told him it is causing a lot of tension at home. He knows I am working ridiculous hours and that a colleague with whom I have been working closely works up to 80 hour weeks and has made it clear this cannot be sustained.

Last week, on my second day of delivery of this new course, which is still under development, I declined to deliver it saying I was not sufficiently prepared. M stood-in. Another colleague, P, who I went to see immediately after I called the boss, remarked “I warned them (management)”. We discussed it and I joked that he was now in a position to say “I told you so”.

There are bound to be inaccuracies in this, so much happened, but I’m sure it is a good account.
I got home on Thursday night at 2315 exhausted. (I had been diagnosed by a nurse as having acute sleep deprivation and I told D). D knew what had happened, I called her that morning in tears, before calling my boss. On Friday morning I started making porridge. D complained I hadn’t set the table for her. She started telling me how they did things in her family. She made it very clear she wasn’t happy. I spilt part of the smoothie on the table….

D continued complaining – eventually I banged a pot of jam down on the table and shouted “STOP, STOP, STOP”. D complained even more and made it clear I was responsible for my actions. I told her how tired I was. I walked out- saying whilst still in the kitchen that I was going to bed. D soon appeared and asked why I was in bed. I said it was because I was very tired, it was the best thing to do. D complained, saying we were just starting breakfast. I continued to explain, but D complained.

She (apparently) hadn’t heard me say I was going to bed and she started complaining that I hadn’t told her. An argument ensued where she repeatedly insisted I hadn’t told her, and I was repeating that she hadn’t heard me. I said that I was very tired and needed to sleep. She kept complaining that I hadn’t told her. I kept trying (in an increasingly raised voice, eventually as loud as I could shout) that I had said what I was doing and I had to sleep. She kept on, I threw a box of tissues at her, she still kept on. I said I desperately needed some rest. She continued. I found it incomprehensible that she hadn’t backed-off a long time ago. Not only had she not backed-off, she still persisted. She went on and on giving me a hard time. I was desperate that she would back-off and stop complaining that we were having breakfast. I was saying ‘go, go, go’. D backed off – eventually, but an argument still continued that I hadn’t told her where I was going. She wouldn’t accept that she hadn’t heard me. (I was still in bed).

I haven’t thrown things at D before, but there have been serious incidents where I have been insisting on some ‘space’ and D has kept on pursuing me. I have at times gradually retreated from her saying I need space, until eventually there is nowhere to go. I have then felt forced to push her back, increasingly desperate that she not keep insisting and imposing her views on me. (How they do things in her family etc). D talks about my abuse and my violence. I have told her I consider her abusive in what she says to me and some of her actions concerning family and friends, but she won’t have any of it.

I’m not claiming to be handling things very well at all, but I feel like a cornered rat – desperate. I’ve even, when she’s cornered me, following me upstairs, refusing to give me any space and still complaining at me, resorted to smashing furniture (against the floor) whilst screaming at her as loud as I can to give me some space.She still won’t back off! . Before it got too bad on one occasion recently, whilst still composed enough to drive, I went to the car. D got in and laid across the passenger seat and (whilst it didn’t dawn on me until later) was trying to get to the keys. I had been about to pull away because I saw her coming to the car. I told her that I needed space. She kept on trying to stop me. I insisted that I needed some space. She kept on trying to stop me and (as a result of the struggle) I released the clutch, moving along at 2mph, foot not on the accelerator, with D half out of the car. She screamed at me to stop. I braked and her left arm hit the mirror, which because of its metal fitting to the screen, resulted in a 15mm crack. (D later alleged this was a much earlier incident, a year or two before. It was not, and it can be proved by the insurance claim record and the receipt for the new windscreen).

I know I haven’t handled it well at all. All I can say is that I have never been anywhere near as bad as this before. Long hours and lack of sleep are a significant contributory factor in how bad it has got. In several years with L (who I lived with) there was nothing more that raised voices. Occasionally I vented my frustrations in a controlled way. (I learnt from an Uncle who kept damaged crockery and a hammer in the porch. He would smash the crockery when he needed to let off steam). A (a previous girlfriend) admitted she had a bit of a vindictive streak that she learnt from her father. One day she flatly refused to let me rest when I was very tired. That was, I think, my final decider to finish it.

I have challenged D that she treats me like a child, that her family comparisons don’t help at all. I challenged her that she treats me like she treated her bothers as children. She won’t have any of it. I tried saying, because I needed to know what D’s response would be, that I was going to commiserate with her brother M about how tough his sister was on him as a child – D got very upset about that. I felt I had to say it, I was trying to work out what on earth was going on with her.

When D calls my attempts to get some space ‘violence’ and ‘abuse’ I feel as if the situation is hopeless. She won’t accept that sometimes I can’t always state clearly that I need some space and say how long I need, which she insists is necessary. She won’t accept that her refusing me space is unreasonable.

30/6/11 (an email to friends)
Dear N & J,

It’s good to have your support, thank you. I think I need to tell you how it is.

I have just completed one two day course this week and the second starts tomorrow. It is a huge challenge. I am training people in an update of a very system in which they are experts, whilst I have only just learnt it., I am training people to understand the complexities of the system that…. After this week I don’t have anything intensive scheduled.

I very badly need a rest, I’m right at my limit and I know my judgement isn’t always very balanced. For instance, this week I expect to be doing 60 hours or more. That is fairly typical. I tend to get much less sleep than I need, so that makes things much worse.

I see the most significant problem between D and I is that I feel she treats me like a child too often. That combines with her comparison of families. If she isn’t happy with my behaviour she sometimes tells me how it is in her family. (To contrast, she often tells me how dysfunctional my family is). I find it so unjust. That can combine with me being on a short fuse because I am so tired. I have told D that sometimes I stay in London an extra night because I don’t think it is a good idea to return home so tired. Last Thursday evening I returned home, arriving at about 2330 only because I wasn’t happy with the hotel I was staying in. The room was far too hot to sleep well. I think I was averaging four hours a night that week. That morning I had been facing my most testing day in my working life. I decided to tell my boss I could not take the second day of the course. I had not been given anywhere near sufficient preparation time. That morning D must have known I was in tears speaking to her on the phone. I think I told her myself.

The next morning, Friday, D criticised me for not setting the breakfast table. She started telling me how her family was brought up to do such things. I responded by intentionally spilling some of the smoothie in the carton I was holding onto the table rather than in the glasses. D complained again and I shouted at her ‘stop, stop’. She carried on, she wouldn’t stop, so I smashed a jam pot onto the table.  (Not breaking it).  D carried on complaining and I was shouting ‘stop, stop, eventually as loud as possible’.  Leaving the kitchen, I said I was going to bed.

A few minutes later D followed me to the bedroom, asking what I was doing in bed. I said I needed to sleep, she complained that I hadn’t told her what I was doing (she hadn’t heard me). The argument escalated, she insisted I hadn’t told her. I said I had, but she might not have heard me. I kept asking D to stop, she wouldn’t stop and I think the argument continued as I withdrew upstairs, D was trying to block my way back down the stairs. She often tries to block my way and I sometimes try to push her back. She resists and it has resulted in bruises. She calls this ‘violence’ on my part. I think D is being abusive to me and is escalating a situation that is easily defused. Eventually I said that if she was going to insist on continuing this way we should divorce.  In the end she backed-off and let me rest. This time I became so wound up at her persistently complaining, not accepting a simple explanation that she hadn’t heard me, following me and blocking my way, that I intentionally threw the phone handset at her. She wouldn’t give me any rest and I needed it so much. I think that’s the first time it has got so bad that I have intentionally thrown something directly at her. I was desperate for some rest and peace and there was D, persistently complaining.

If we get anywhere near this stage again I don’t know how to handle it because D blocks whatever I do. Over the last year or so I have frequently considered staying elsewhere overnight because I was couldn’t cope with what I consider to be D’s abuse. I want us to stay together and work it out, but if D cannot compromise on the way she currently handles arguments, calls me abusive and violent, I intend us to separate. I know I often take too long before making a significant decision, but I also realise that once I make a decision it may well be permanent. There’s a lot I love about D, but I find the current situation intolerable. I have never engaged in arguments on this scale. In fact with L there was little more than an occasional raised word. When I was engaged to A, who knew she could be vindictive, nothing like this happened.

The way things are now bears a lot of similarity with how it was with G right at the end, immediately before we split up. Then one morning I decided to go away for a while, but G insisted that I had left her.

D refuses to give me space, which I desperately need, unless I state explicitly that I need space and state how long I need. She insists that I do that.  Frankly, I think I was making it very clear indeed by shouting ‘stop’, that there was a problem and her carrying on complaining wasn’t doing any good at all. I find it extremely destructive.

D says she has been advised to stand up to me in situations like this.  I think that’s the very worst thing she can do, the very worst. I just desperately need the space and she makes a point of standing in my way, unless I think to clearly state that I need some space and how long I need. (She considers an hour plenty). In this instance I knew I needed a considerable amount of rest before I would have a balanced approach. For me, the situation last weekend was ten times worse than usual.

I wrote down an account of what happened a few hours after the event, but I haven’t looked at it to write this, so my account now may well be less accurate.

This kind of thing has happened on a much smaller scale with a reasonable degree of regularity for some time.

Thank you for your prayers.

3/7/11 (she had been very keen on having a baby, but problems of low fertility had been diagnosed. She used to tell people it not ‘our’ problem, but mine).
got home last night. When we went to bed D told me she was ovulating (or equivalent word to make it very clear).

tried to make love with D this morning 0700. Very much tried to satisfy her & respond to her requests. She didn’t climax after some time, I penetrated but didn’t climax myself. Stayed with her a while before leaving the bed at 0730

checked D at 0830 & 0900. Asleep.
fOUND AT 0930 d IN SHOWER ROOM, HAD SHOWERED
she was unhappy, asked why. she quietly complained about early mornings
I heard her, went away then found her in bedroom
I cuddled her, said “I’m sorry love’
She said ‘I’ve told you about this before love, I feel like a broken record’

I quietly withdrew and went to the kitchen, where I broke down and sobbed for a few minutes, before writing this..

3/7/11
we were sitting outside, D said she wanted to talk about what happened this morning

She was unhappy that I had tried to make love to her early-on

I suggested it wasn’t a very good time to talk. D still wanted to talk.

I told her that I had apologised, and that I had gone into the ding room and sobbed.

She said ‘why didn’t you tell me that’?

I said It wasn’t a good time…
I walked away quietly into the house, then I walked back within two minutes.

She asked what it would be like if it was the other way round. I said very quietly but firmly that i had worked long hours for a long time and had had a lot of pressure. She said
”I’m not talking to mr angry’ & walked away

16/7/11
D shouted through to me from kitchen to living room requesting me to deal with the fly. I replied, ‘in a minute’ D shouted through to me again and I replied, simply louder.

D objected to my tone, saying I was ‘very bad tempered’ When I said I wasn’t D said ‘in your opinion’. I decided not to bother labouring it, I wasn’t in a bad mood at all, but she was insistent. What seems inconsistent to me is the number of times D tells me I need to go to her so she can hear me, yet she expects me to hear her from the kitchen.

It’s another example of me being treated inappropriately.

As I look back, and it is now April 2013, I begin to see more and more the examples I recorded where she may have deliberately tried to provoke me to anger.

16/07/2011 20:55 (noting the time of the end of my notes that day)

4/8/11
We were on the A69. D was asleep.

I braked EXTREMELY gently. D woke up & behaved in an alarmed way. ‘aaaaaah’. It appears she thought I was going to run into the car in front that had its brake lights on and was braking equally gently. I was maintaining a constant distance from the car of over 60ft and we were travelling at 50mph.

D said I was braking heavily. I said it was very gentle.

D asked me to apologise.

I ignored her, what was there for me to to apologise for?

22/1/12 from an email to a relative.  I had rushed home early from Yorkshire, the first time I had stayed with this relative,  in order to get the shopping done. The conversation actually started with her demanding authoritatively “where are my flowers”?

I did the shopping before getting home, but she insisted conditioner was on the list but I didn’t buy it and added that I should have known when she buys shampoo she also buys conditioner, and gave me a lecture for buying two Fray Bentos tinned steak & kidney pies because they ‘aren’t good for me’. I eat about one every six months and they were on offer.  For some reason they have good childhood memories for me. I’m kind of nostalgic about them. -silly I know.

Then later on…

It’s interesting that some websites say three months income for a ring.  D is criticising me because when she asked what I planned to spend I suggested ‘three figures’, ie, under £1000. She has now, for the second time, told me she was surprised it was such a small amount. I forget what I spent, but the ring was exactly her choice within my constraint of £1000. I don’t see the problem. She bought my wedding ring in a sale and I didn’t think she was spending much!!!!! I didn’t let-on that it wasn’t my favourite choice, but she liked it so I wear it.

Some of the things she says seem so plausible, until I think about it a bit more. She’s criticising me for thinking about money when it comes to protecting the hens with fencing, she says animals had the best in her family, that cost wasn’t the issue. I quietly suggested that farmers can’t do that and that the hens already have much better conditions than when they were in a battery cage. She doesn’t’ think that is valid, ‘they need the best’. Stupid isn’t it? I’d best let the Queen know we’re moving in with her because we deserve the best.
She’s complaining further that I have issues with not spending money and I am not generous, yet I have just spent half our savings on a car and the other half is committed to South Africa. So what is left to be generous with?
Yet a year ago I got a good ticking off when I decided to donate a % of my then overtime income to a charity. I can’t win!
8/2/12
From an email sent to a relative two days after the Glasgow event. 

Saw O (foster daughter) yesterday  – all went well, spent a few hours with her & daughter H, I’m very pleased about that. Now lets see how D responds when she realises I intend to stay in contact with O in the future. I’m not giving D the option to stop me, only to choose whether she will be involved or not.

Saw B, (a relative) she seemed pretty well. I notice she’s relaxed at home, but not in B (our marital home). Or is it to do with the company she is in?
D is away until Sunday – I’m far more relaxed at home too. Argument on Sunday about me not following D’s instructions to pull a bit further forward at traffic lights. I recorded what happened in order to make sense of it in the future.
Glasgow – Sunday lunchtime on way to see a friend- outside D’s old workplace – now a derelict building. I pulled-up at traffic lights – stop line obliterated. D told me to move forward, I said ‘there are traffic lights’. D again asked me to move forward, I said I was in the right place – ‘look at that light besides us – we’re in the right position’’. D said – move forward & let people past (to the left, but the road was empty). I said ‘no, there is plenty of room’. She carried on about it.
I checked there were no cars behind, quietly got out, said ‘you drive’ & got in the passenger door. I had behaved calmly. D drove away and started protesting – ‘why did you have to do that’?.(I did it because I was starting to get angry at the way she was ordering me to drive – it was a simple way to protest & not to lose my cool whilst driving). I felt like getting out of the car – why wouldn’t she let it go? I had had enough.  I shouted ‘STOP’. After that there was no further conversation. D sat separately to me at the friends’ house, but calmed down eventually.
8/2/12
From an email to a relative immediately after a meeting at my house with someone who had been joint counselling us. 
Interesting session with the counsellor tonight – just me, not D. He thinks I am basically OK.  He suggests I resist D’s desire for us to move or me to get a better job – he knows I am happy where I am. But he wants to tackle D’s constantly being unsettled – moving around so much, changing jobs so regularly and only very short relationships before me. He says I’m very open but D keeps telling him lengthy stories and not getting to the real issues that he is sure are there.
(D has a very long history of not staying anywhere or doing any job for very long. I think four years is her record for a job and as for moving, it seems to have been far more regular. Prior to me she claims to have never had a relationship that lasted more than six weeks. Furthermore, she claims always to have been the person to end it. I have further information, written in her own handwriting some time before we met, in which she claims to attract ‘needy’ people).  (It might be worth referring to Lundy Bancroft’s book ‘Why does (s)he do that) p121/122 in the table “The warning signs of abuse”. Note that I have added the (s) to the book title because the gender needs swopping to get the context right in my marriage).
All the above journal entries & emails were written before I was aware of the separation, which actually occurred on 5 February 2012, about three hours after the ‘traffic lights’ incident.
23/2/12 (email never sent, still exists as a draft)

Hi R and K,

I had a talk with ? at ‘Mankind’ this morning. They support men who have suffered domestic abuse.
I received some practical advice, but something else might be worth considering.
In ending a relationship, abusive women may manufacture arguments.
I already suspected that with D, I am now certain.
I reckon the big argument about O on 28 Jan was manufactured.

So was the one on 5 February at the traffic lights in Glasgow. The one earlier that morning when she said she was sick of me

going for discounts and getting poor rooms was another, but I defused her by a simple and calm response to demonstrate that was the only time we had been at all unhappy with our accommodation.
I also think her repeated statements that O was ‘ferrule’,  might have been another.
I will write more about the event on 28 Jan and the aftermath a few weeks later. It was very dramatic.
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