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Ok I'm giving this a shot because I'm lost in life and need

Ok I'm giving this a shot because I'm lost in life and need to know how others have been able to deal. I have been in a relationship for 26 years, since I was 16. We have 4 kids together and I've spent years trying to make the perfect little family work. I let myself believe I was doing the right thing even though I knew deep down it wasn't. I live with a narcissistic alcoholic. I have tried several times to leave but somehow always end up sucked back in, usually guilt. Three of my kids are now adults and each of them in their own way dealing with the trauma of their childhoods. My youngest is only 10 and I want more than anything to save him from the same life but don't understand why I can't seem to leave. I feel it in my heart, in my gut that I don't love him and don't want to be there anymore but the years of control have made me so fearful. Also all of the stunts that he's pulled when I've left other times makes me fearful and also knowledgeable about what WILL happen if I leave again. He has control of our finances so it's almost impossible to save up even $5. He watches me like a hawk and if I do anything out of the ordinary he's suspicious. He shows up randomly during the day to my work by "bringing me lunch" or some other excuse but it's to check up on me. When I left before he took our joint car right from my work parking lot, he threatened to call my boss or even her boss and tell them things I've told him in confidence about the company and how things are run etc. He's threatened friends not to talk to me or help me and they listen! He uses anything he knows will hurt me or make me feel guilty against me and it usually works. I'm a caretaker type of person and I can't bare to see anyone upset or hurt, even him and I don't know why. He has gone to counselling, he has promised to stop drinking but that is only ever for a short time. Right now he drinks almost everyday and is drunk maybe twice a week. I can use the drinking as my out because we made that deal the last time we got back together and he promised to stop. I know that he won't actually ever let me leave, he will stalk me and harass me. He has no fear of police or restraining orders, I've been down that road and he still follows me etc. He has a close bond with our 10 year old and refuses to not be able to see him everyday and says I can't take him away. Now it's Christmas time and I don't want to stir things up for the holidays. My daughter gets married in June and I don't want to ruin her day by leaving and causing chaos for her. So in my mind I think, I'll wait until after the wedding then I'll go which I know won't actually happen. I know that there is no good time to leave and you just have to do it but I can't help but think about EVERYONE else and their feeling first. How do I find the strength? I hear Lizzo's song 'good as hell' and the lyrics mean so much to me but the verse, "Boss up and change your life" is exactly what I want to do but I think I've lived this life for so long now that I've lost myself, he truly controls my life and my mind. Any advise would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

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[120]
Dec 2

@Cindysmilesagain Thank you for your reply. I feel like the weakest person ever. When I talk to friends they tell me how strong they think I am. To deal with what I do on a daily basis and to still function and put on a smile but it doesn't feel like strength. I look at people who have left a relationship and wonder how they were so strong. I haven't had any orders against him for years but when I did in the past he didn't obey them. One thing I need to get past is the fear of being the person that sent him to jail. I don't want to be that person in my kids eyes or anyone elses so I'm always hesitant to involve the police. The last time I left him I went to a women's shelter for help and support and all they told me was that they didn't think I was ready to leave and that he also has a right to my house because he gets mail there! Even though he isn't on the lease. I was so disappointed that I went to them to help me in the right direction and was shut down. After that I started seeing a therapist but he found out and would wait outside and then ask me what I talked about so I started to lie to my therapist about how I was feeling and right around that time I ended up back with him and this was the last time I tried to leave which was about 2 years ago. I feel like I just need a little guidance in which direction I should be going and how to get there which is why I'm very glad I found this site. He can't sabotage me here!

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[120]
Dec 2

@Autumnrain Thank you for replying. It is difficult to breathe. I have anxiety attacks all the time and I constantly feel like I'm on the brink of crying whether I'm at work or the grocery store. But somehow I manage to keep it together. I think I try not to cry because once that emotion is released I tend to feel better and I don't want to feel better or I'll allow this to go on for longer.

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[120]
Dec 2

@SoloViolin Thank you for replying. My confidence with outside help isn't really great. I've not gotten a lot of help from Police, therapists or women's support. I know they are there to help but there is only so much they can do. I am afraid to put anything on my phone because he searches my phone almost daily. I'm very glad that I've found this site. For the first time in a long time I feel hopeful just reading through comments and also seeing what others have gone through and are going through.

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