do you ever really fully feel "ready"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2009
do you ever really fully feel "ready"?
Fri, 12-07-2012 - 3:57am

I'm really stuggling with back and forth feelings, not knowing if I'm "ready". I've seen on these boards and other as a lurker that you won't go until you're ready, and one day you'll just be sure. But when does this happen? I thought before well the next time something really severe happens, like threatening my life etc then I'll be ready and I'll go. But nothing like this has happened for sometime, of course we really also haven't been living together for sometime also as I am still working overseas having planned to move Spring of 2013. But now I also think even with just how things have been going I also can't live like that, always careful and mindful of what I say, how I act, where and what I do fearful of judgment or blow ups and that's not really a god life. Even when things are truly wonderful, I know punishment and holding me accountable aren't really that far behind. Plus I know in my head, even if my heart won't really admit to it, that he talks down to me, treats me with disrespect, shuts down arguements by either telling me to shut the f**k up or hanging up if on the phone when ever things don't go his way. He equates 'listening' as agreeing. If I listen, take it in, but still don't completely agree with his assesment of me, then he gets angry, then denies he got angry, and I become emotional, which just makes him more angry, and then he denies that he ever became angry, patronizing, or mocking in the first place. Then he'll say I'm irrational, illogical, and that I just can't handle things. This makes me think 'maybe I can't?". Maybe I should have the ability to listen to critisism a lot better and to have a 'stiff upper lip' not cry or be weak. But then I'll try that too. I did just last month actually the day before my birthday we talked and he basically psychoanalyzed me and all my faults, problems, how I evolved to be that way, everything FOR THREE STRAIGHT HOURS. I did not object or defend, I just listened and it was really, really hard and painful for me to do this as he truly did not do the psychoanlazing with any amount of compassion or love. It was so cold and distant, we even talked about how I was sexually abused when I was a teen etc. But amazingly this DID NOTHING!! Me listening like that did not make him feel closer to me or make him act more lovingly or errode any of the resentment. All it did is cause me to break down the next morning on my birthday, crying off and on all day. It was horrible. Yet I stil do wonder, am I overreacting like he says? He has done so much for me and to remodel our beautiful home, so he obiviously loves me and what right do I have to question moving back now just because he wants to build respect for me and develop more intamicy through discussing how he still struggles with finding a deeper respect for me? I don't know. I just what some comments from people who have been where I am now: Do you EVER just know? Or do you just DECIDE yet still have second thoughts and wonder if it's the right thing to do, if you aren't overeacting, wondering if you should wait a little longer and see if there is some other really, really bad thing that happens to confirm that you aren't wrong about leaving?? Do you every really just "know"? Thank you.


PS Also I did start counseling, so at least I'm doing that now.

Avatar for happyasme
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-11-2012

I don't think anyone of us have felt 100% ready without ever having any second thoughts. 

In my particular case, there was a violent episode when something clicked inside me and I took action and called 911 for the first time.  In that moment I told myself "enough".  The episode: STBX was being verbally abusive  and started thrashing the house, threatening to break everything and burn the house down, saying it was all my fault, that I was provoking him.  I was afraid of calling 911, afraid that he would get physically violent, even though he never had been physically violent or threatened me physically, I was afraid that I would "pay" later for taking action.   Even though there was this clicking event that set everything that followed in motion, I had been seeing a therapist for about 6 months, and I had been spending the better part of a year questioning myself, how I came to accept this life.  I did have second guesses afterwards, but I was able to work through them with the support of these boards, friends, my therapist and a DV advocate.

Your H's psychoanalysis of you has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to accept constructive criticism, because it is not constructive at all, it's destructive.  It's criticism with a hidden agenda meant to put you down, make you feel miserable about who you are as a person.  And on the eve of your birthday?  Seriously, sometime I think these men are one and the same, my H was a master at making me miserable on the day before my birthday so he could play nice on my birthday and I was supposed to think he was being extra special.

He says he's doing this so he can have respect for you?  Ask yourself do you want to be with a man that says he doesn't respect you but wants to "work" on it?  And his way of "working" on it is pointing out all your faults and problems and making you feel miserable about yourself.   

I noted that he has been remodeling your (yours and his) home.  You call this an act of love.  I'm sorry but love is not gifts of remodelled homes or flowers, or jewelry or whatever.  Love is based on mutual respect and he has already given you the status on his respect of you.  Again, these guys aren't too original, day after he got the D papers, my STBX went through a remodelling frenzy finishing renovation projects that had been started close to 10 years prior.  I could talk about how my STBX always held the fact I had had an affair against me as a way of putting me down, but I think you would stop believing me with all these coincidences. 

I am glad that you are in counselling, and you will be able to have non-judgemental advice and support from a neutral party.  I trust your counsellor will be able to guide you in clearing and undoing all this  false view of yourself that your H has built.  I would take the time that you are not living with him, to get all the information and support you can so you are ready when you decide and say "enough".  On the meantime, please get information and stay safe.



Avatar for cajunharmony
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2001

BRAVO for your decision to start counseling!  Please make sure that the counselor you've chosen is well-versed in DV, because a lot of the "traditional" recommendations therapists make can actually be counter-productive when dealing with an abusive relationship. 

There is really no "AHA" moment when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's time to go.  The average number of times a person leaves their abuser is 7-9 before they manage to make a permanent break.  This by no means says that you will do the same.  I believe that at some point in your therapy you will reach that point and take the steps that you feel are right for you.  This board's members are all about personal empowerment, something your abuser has stripped from you.  When you personally feel empowered enough you will decide to end the insanity and start your new life.  The abuser in your life has disempowered you by being abusive to you and creating the doubt and fear that you feel about taking the next step in reclaiming your own life.  There is a fantast book by Lundy Bancroft, entitled Why Does He Do That?  Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. that I believe would be very valuable to you as you begin your healing journey.  It is written to be easy to read, but there will be times when it hits the nail so squarely on the head of what you are dealing with that you may have to put it down and come back to it later.  But you will learn so much and gain so much from reading it.  Around here we kind of refer to it as our bible for dealing with DV.  You can probably get a copy from your library.

Leaving an abuser requires CAREFUL, QUIET planning to insure your safety and well being.  Unless you feel that you are in imminent danger, continue to work with your therapist and DV advocate to plan an exit strategy that will, first and foremost, make sure you are SAFE. Work with your DV advocate to develop a safety plan for while you are still with the abuser.  If, at any time, you feel unsafe, do not hesitate to call the police.  Another excellent resource is our board's webpages.  The link to them can be found in the very first post located on this board entitled Domestic Abuse Resources.  There is a link in that post to the webpages and there you will find a TON of info.  The most important thing you can do is educate yourself as much as you can.  Knowledge is power, and the more knowledgeable you are about DV and its dynamics, the more powerful you will be to reclaim your life.  My best to you.  Keep posting, reading, learning and developing your safety plan and leaving plan.  We're always here for you.

Mama Harmony

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008


First off all very good advice from the previous posters.. For me it was a very personal and very rash decision that made me leave my abusive ex H... My time frame was about 9 years but during that time I was seeing a therapist and trying to save  money.. I also walked on eggshells and tried not to upset the apple cart so to speak.. as to not make him mad or go through those abusive episodes..I hated it but knew there would come a day when I would get out and be gone for good..

My ex was more verbally and mentally abusive and one day he decided to cross the line and shove me against the wall.. I guess I could take the verbal and emotional and at times early in our relationship he did throw things at me but then he did stop that... Anyway;; When he started shoving me against the wall was when I left for good that time and went to a hotel for two weeks and that got the ball rolling into me finding an apt. .. I would like for you to be careful tho ugh because when I did leave my abusive ex he did stalk me and so then I moved in with a friend in another state.. I managed to stay in that state for almost two years and then ex gave up at some point..  He did manage to find a few other relationships during that time and then he sued me for divorce.. I went back to the marital home for a short time to fight my ex in a divorce but I was then armed with knowledge, court orders and lawyers and a bunch of things to expose that bully..

Thank goodness we did get divorced and all kind of worked in my favor.. I found that when the bully is exposed and yes I did expose his abuse to the world mine backed off and found another victim and was done with me in wh ich I was very happy about that.

Its been years now and I am very happy and life is good  most of the time and I dont regret the decision for one second.

take care

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2013


I know that this is an old post, and I hope you are all right and that therapy has worked out for you.

I managed to leave my abusive girlfriend just last saturday. I had already left her twice, but she had such a control over my willpower that I came back. Well, the situation is a long story (I wrote about it a couple of days ago, "Emotional Abuse - Never Saw it Coming", and things are still a little fresh but I'm trying so hard to be strong.

It wasn't an EUREKA moment that made me leave her. Deep down in my head, I already knew it was bound to happen someday, but I just couldn't. I felt like she owned my life in a way that the idea of finally having the courage to tell her "enough" gave me such anxiety that I would just pretend everything was OK. It got to the point where I created little alter-egos in my mind, different scenarios that I escaped to everytime she was being abusive or I was thinking "this is unacceptable, I just MUST leave". I couldn't go to therapist because that would cause her too much pain (she felt really really terrified at the thought of me talking to another person without her being there). So I just kept on, living that exhausting life where you have brilliant days and feel absolutely lucky that you have a person around you that is just so caring, and those days of terror where that same person keeps you awake for a full night, yelling abusive words, and smashing you sense of self through her own asseritions of your opinions and attitudes.

She was having one of those fits, and it was already day 3. I was so so tired, but still adamant to keep my "stiff upper lip" and try to save this beautiful and tortured woman. When suddenly she told me she only treated me like this because she feels assaulted by my (very normal) behavior, because I am so stupid and selfish and mean that her "survival instinct" kicks in, I had a flash. I tolde her: you know what, all this time I forgot I have survival instinct too. I'm leaving now. Goodbye". That was just it. No tears, no raised voice, I just did it. Calm and collected. 

Of course right now I am a wreck, forcing myself NOT to think about anything in her perspective but in mine, but as I am starting therapy tomorrow. I'm hopeful.

Be strong, and thank you for this opportunity.