Trying to make sense of it all

Started by Marigold, October 20, 2021, 01:15:22 PM

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Hi everyone,

I thank everyone who sent support and guidance to my post in the intros. I took your advice and have been reading a whole lot, including information from OOTF. I just feel more comfortable posting here, so I hope it's ok.

I was blaming substance abuse for my H's behaviour. I thought that the "better times" were due to his decreasing his use for short periods. He has everyone else convinced that he is the long suffering, superhero husband and dad, and that the problem is me and the kids, that we are a disappointment and don't meet the standards of his siblings' families.

There is something wrong with me and the kids, but now I suspect that he caused a lot of the damage.

Since I started reading and posting here, he knows something is different, and has toned down his behaviour again. Normally, it would make me happier and I would try harder to please him. Now, it just makes me sad because I recognize that he is continuing the coersion and gaslighting, but he is just being a lot more subtle.

The guilt of not protecting my children is awful. I feel physically ill when I think of how long this has gone on. The self doubt is ever present, though, and it keeps me here, afraid to take any concrete steps. Part of me actually wishes I never looked into this. I wish I was a stronger person.


HI marigold,  i'm sorry to hear how hard things have been.  i hope you and your kids are safe and ok.  i would like to offer something helpful,  i just don't know how.  i hope you have a good day, 


Hello Marigold,

It's good to see you back here and to read your update. You're making progress already, e.g. recognising what your h is doing and not reacting to it the way you used to and the way he expects.

I don't have children myself but I can understand feeling guilt. However. You did not know until very recently what was going on. And you are now taking steps to protect yourself (e.g. by reading about the situation and writing about it on here) that will lead to steps to protect your children too.

You are probably a lot stronger than you think. It's just that during ongoing trauma or after trauma, you feel weak or weakened. The abuse is on the abuser. It doesn't mean you are a bad, weak, defective person. That's just what the abuser wants you to think and feel. I'm sure you will start to take more concrete steps when you are ready. I mean, you have already started!

It is more than fine to post here instead of on OOTF. As Kizzie wrote on your intro thread, you are in a situation of ongoing trauma. Some people here and there are mbrs of both forums, including me. Most of the support I get is here on OOTS though. So really, just post where you feel most comfortable, supported and heard.


You seem like a really strong person to me and I'd offer a virtual hug if they help you feel little better.

Gaslighting is brutal. It's not your fault. You are not weak.

I also mostly post here. I feel much more comfortable and cares for here. It is more gentle.


I know what it's like to feel guilty about not doing something earlier, but you didn't know what was going on (and that's what N's do, they confuse, gaslight, blame you, etc). 

But you do know now and things will inevitably change because you can't put the genie back in the bottle so to speak. I have no doubt you will figure out what to do because you are actively looking for info, support and help. 

Here's an article you may find useful -



Thank you all for the support. My heart goes out to all of you and everyone in the forum. It's sad to think of all the negative experiences everyone had to go through to find ourselves here.

I think the isolation has been the worst part. I didn't even realize it until I started posting here. It's like being in the middle of a very long, bad dream.

Honestly, I am afraid to contact domestic violence agencies. There's still the fear that they will take my kids away, or that my H will retaliate, and the fear that I won't be believed or will be dismissed because there is no physical abuse.


I can understand not wanting to contact a DV agency Marigold.  I did like what the article said about reading up, finding resources and making a plan in case you do need/want to leave.

You can always look for  organizations/agencies in your area that do talk about coercive control on their web sites. It's a good indication you would be safe to at least talk with them and ask direct questions about whether or not family court/social services in your area know about CC and focus on protecting the partner and children versus the abusive partner. CC is certainly better understood and supported than it used to be, but it pays to find out what is happening around CC where you live.   

It's such a tough situation, so sorry you are having to deal with this  :hug:


Thanks Kizzie. I like the idea of having a plan too. Thanks also for the suggestion about checking agency websites to see if they talk about CC. I guess I am just assuming that people won't take me seriously because even I'm having trouble accepting the situation. The self doubt is still pretty loud in my head.


I understand it's difficult to deal with the self-doubt, same for me for many years as a survivor of narcissistic abuse.  "Is it me or them?  "Am I making too much of this?" "But they don't abuse me physically"  I finally realized my symptoms were confirmation of what I was subjected to after spending time on our sister site Out of the Fog reading and posting about NPD.

There are a few resources under the info post in this section so maybe start with them and then Google coercive control to see how prevalent it is and why it has been such a long time being seen as the abuse it is. I read loads about N behav before I was able to wrap my head around it.  It's a big shift emotionally so like anything it takes time and support to let yourself see.