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National Helpline for LGBT+ Victims and Survivors of Abuse and Violence0800 999 5428

Email help@galop.org.uk

Home Forums Looking for support? ‘Is it abuse?’ Mental health – am I a bad guy?

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    Mrs. Mesmer

    Hello everyone. Thank you for this forum. It’s been so moving, reading other people’s stories. Distressing too, as I hear so many echoes of my own life.

    So. I live with someone who has ended it more times than I can count. And I was reconciled to that. Even, eventually, glad. SInce Covid started we’ve been in separate rooms. (Content removed by moderator).

    We’re married. She has mental health stuff that drives episodes that I experience as abusive but which, she often says, she doesn’t remember afterwards. At worst – 4 yrs ago – she tried to beat me up. Kicked me to the ground from behind after threatening me with a knife and managing to split my lip after I got up.

    Things got better after I found a new job but are worse again as that comes to an end. (Content removed by moderator).

    So the last year I’ve again been subject to extreme threats with knives. Had my stuff broken. All kinds of verbal abuse. She’s gone to hit me or stab me a couple of times. I don’t know how far she would have gone but I flinched/ducked back and she stopped. Although once she threw a knife hard at me (it missed).

    In my work I have a Safeguarding officer who I’ve confided in. I also have a friend whose been (over) forceful in telling me to leave (Content removed by moderator). She’s a former (content removed by moderator) and although it’s not her job to tell me to leave it’s obvious she thinks I should.

    Now there’s a whole bundle of things about me being trans and the scope for revenge that she has if I finish it. (Content removed by moderator).

    Her mental health stuff isn’t her fault and she’s tried to get help for it. With some success until the latest set of triggers came along. She thinks she’ll be ok with the right move. I now think she’ll only be ok if nothing new comes along to set it all off again. She keeps saying (content removed by moderator) as a sort of defence if I challenge her with what she’s done and she has controlled it better lately. But I still fear her. And I’m still appeasing her.

    I feel incredibly guilty at the thought of making formal what has happened in practice: of separating. She’s the only person I ever truly loved and I thought this was for ever. But I have trauma now. I’m triggered by her tone of voice, by the start of what I call the film strip running where she starts telling me all the stuff I already know about how bad its been for her (and it has). I can sometimes see, hours in advance, that it’s going to be a bad night. She wants me back in her bed;I dread the thought.

    Support sites for her mental health stuff just tell family that it can be scary. There’s nothing about the possibility of it becoming dangerous and needing to leave. I think I need to find a way of leaving but my guilt is strong -I also have such deep shame from being trans and feeling like I had to hide it – because I really meant the weddings vows and some of her recent troubles are related to my work.

    Am I re-victimising the victim by seeking help and planning to leave? I’m plugged into various support things and of course everyone is on my side but who’s on hers? Her suffering is real and her dread of a bad move will come to pass if I end it. But I also suspect that part of my fear of ending it is fear of her power for reprisal. She could do an awful lot of harm.

    I don’t know if anyone has navigated similar stuff but I could really do with hearing from you if you have.



    Thank you for your post.

    You have named some violence attacks on you and behaviour we would recognise as domestic abuse, when they sit within a pattern of behaviours that work to control you and reduce your agency and equality in the relationship. We also recognise that sometimes a person will act violently when they have felt like they are defending themselves and there has been no other option. We would suggest this is unpicked further with a domestic abuse specialist worker to help you make sense of this.

    Many people feel a deep sense of responsibility for their partners well being, especially if there partner has on going mental health issues which can sometimes be understood to be the cause of the harmful behaviours. Mental health issues can ‘flare up’ especially when there are new stresses coming into the relationship, however they are not the root cause of domestic abuse, the root cause of domestic abuse is about having control and power in the relationship and making the relationship serve the abusive partner.

    You talked about feeling shame about being trans, trying to remain invisible and the worry of the harm that could be caused to you if you were outed by your partner. This sounds very stressful for you and a heavy weight to carry alone. There are some organisations which could support you in exploring and talking about your identity.

    1) Gender Trust National Helpline: For more information on Trans* issues – 01527 894838.
    2) MindLine Trans Helpline nationwide: 0300 330 5468 Mondays + Fridays, 8pm – midnight
    3) MindLine Trans+ is an mental health emotional support helpline and signposting service for people who identify as Trans, A Gender, Gender Fluid, Non-binary.
    4) https://genderedintelligence.co.uk/

    We do hope this helps you and we suggest you make contact with a domestic abuse team to explore the situation fully.

    Warm regards,

    The Helpline Team

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