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Please forgive me if my first foray for a long time into the DooYoo lounge isn't very good, but this is something I feel strongly about. If I can stop one person (whether male or female, DV affects both sexes, we must not forget) from experiencing what I did, I'll consider it a job well done.
My life changed forever, in 3 days time, it will have been 4 months since I ran away from an abusive relationship. The day after I moved back into my mum's house, I knew I had done the right thing. Since then, I've been recovering and I've never felt better.
I began a relationship with X while I was at university. From the outside, it's easy to ask why someone begins a relationship with someone who is violent and controlling and why they stay. Let me clarify, no-one has "I'm a violent, controlling bully tattooed across their forehead". It would be helpful if they did!
X began treating me as a princess. For a while, everything was fine. Gradually, things begin to change. He used to go off in a mood if I would go out with my friends, and since he lived by my university, he didn't like it if I didn't cut my holidays short and spend more time with him rather than my parents. I had never particularly been one for low self esteem. Somehow, he managed to change this and make me feel so bad about myself that I couldn't leave. It would begin as stopping me from going out with my friends at uni. If I went out anyway, he wouldn't speak to me if I had been at a pub/club/drinking as students generally do! He would tell me I should be studying or working in my job rather than going out. He would comment on the way I would dress.
One day, it went down hill rapidly, he gave me a shove, putting me on the floor and stood over me and shouted at me like I was a waste of space. He told me I was lazy, I was stupid, I was fat, I was ugly and so naive. This absolutely crushed me, but he'd already worn me down before this. These had all been small comments previously, but I'd heard every one of them before, but now they came with such vitriol and anger. Somehow, these had been embedded in me over the previous year or so and it felt like every one of them was true.
From there, it continued. I couldn't go out with my friends, I couldn't pop to the beach on a Saturday with my housemates as I should be there should he want to see me, I couldn't wear anything that in any way might make a male look at me. I truely felt like it was all my fault. He would tell me that he was only trying to improve me. All this time, I actually felt like it was my fault he treated me like he did. He would never stop until I was in tears, and at this point, he would hug me and tell me that it would be ok, because soon I'd be better and all his work would have paid off and I'd be a better person. He tried to tell me that we were moving to Pakistan and that I was allowed to see my family at Christmas. I told him we weren't and I was moving back to the Midlands after university. I felt the palm of his hand, but I won. In my mind, I had won. But I still moved back. And he came with me. And insisted we moved into a flat.
We ended up living together. After moving back to the Midlands, I began post graduate study. I loved my studies, law is a fascinating thing to study. But I also had to work 40 hours a week to keep us going. He did a job in the evenings, and insisted I pick him up after, as it was my role as the woman. I went to university for 8.30 - 5, started work at 5.30 until 1(ish) and picked him up at 2 from his work. Crawled into bed and began it all again. Except at weekends, where it was more a case of work 10am - 1am saturday, study when I got home and do the same again sunday, crawling into bed at 2am on a monday morning. The reason I was so tired, was because I chose to study as well. It was my fault you see. I had the womens work to do, I had to pay my way in the household, as it was my choice to study. All my fault I was tired.
One day, I collapsed with agonising chest pain. I was rushed to hospital and suspected of having an undiagnosed heart defect (as can hit young people and not be known about). I was put on a heart trace (the thing with the sticky pads on your chest). At this point, I was barely conscious with agony, he came into the A&E cubicle and glared. After leaving the hospital (diagnosed with a severe chest infection - probably caused by not being allowed the heating on - "it's too expensive... do you think I own a power station??"), I felt his wrath. His partner was in a hospital bed, with doctors using words like "heart defect?", "pulmonary embolism?" and "pneumonia?" What did he see? His partner with her t-shirt off, and a male nurse sticking hear trace pads to her chest. I felt his wrath. Apparently, I should have asked for a female nurse, whilst barely conscious.
I did two years of post graduate study, living the same way for the entire time. I am so surprised I came out with reasonable marks, I was sleep deprived and terrified the whole time. I wasn't allowed to stay at uni for lunchtime, as each block of the day was 2.5 hours and there were 3 of them. This would mean that lunch breaks were 2.5 hours. So I wasn't allowed to stay at uni and study, I had to go home and cook the dinner. I couldn't stay at uni because I "didn't need friends" because I had him and would do well to remember it.
I had finished uni and didn't have something to focus my mind on. I was still doing my catering job, which I loathed with a passion. I couldn't put a food wrong at home, as I would feel the palm of his hand. I was continuously walking on egg shells. He would stop talking to me if I spent too much time with my family. I wasn't allowed to attend the brownie pack I helped at. Another day that sticks in my mind, sat in A&E with my head split open, with him sat next to me. The receptionist stared at me. The nurse stared. The doctor came in and said "well how have you done this then?" to me, looking sideways at him. "I slipped", I said. I knew exactly what they all thought, and you know what, I felt... Actually, I can't put a word to how I felt. I had my head glued back together and we walked out. I felt like a failure. I hadn't said a word. But everyone could tell, and I knew they could tell.
My brother in law said "You never smile any more" a few days later. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Rock Bottom. Population = 1.
My family didn't know, they believed what I told them. That made me feel worse. No-one leaves a violent relationship at rock bottom. You don't leave until you're on the way back up. My mum suggested I volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureaux as a way to break into law. So I did. I signed up online while he was at work one day and told him after I had heard from the volunteer co-ordinator and lined up an interview. The CAB was the beginning of the end for me. I worked hard there, because I enjoyed it, I found it interesting and fulfilling. My hard work was recognised and I was offered a part time job. The fact that people thought I was worth that, was so helpful to me. I started to become confident and to have some self belief. It gave me confidence to apply for some jobs in my field of study. My phone rang one day, who wanted to interview me, the following week.
I'd had other things on my mind at this point. I'd been chewing my sisters ear off about leaving. One of his big 'ideas' was that I was so naïve and I didn't make any of my own decisions. Everything I do (apparently) is influenced by my mum or my sister. I suspect that it is this reason that my sister didn't tell me what to do, she listened to me and said, "if you want me to help you move, I will". So we arranged it for while he was at work. The best laid plans and all that. Long story short, I had half an hour to move my stuff while he was out. We did it. And I felt relieved.
Then, I realised I had this interview in a few days and no time to prepare. I did the interview, and it went so badly, I put it to the back of my mind. The phone rang, 2 weeks later. I got it. No-one was more surprised than me. 5 minutes later, I'd quit the job I hated, and resigned, with much regret, from the CAB.
4 months later, I have a job I LOVE, I'm doing what I studied for. I'm living with my mum, enjoying my life and saving for my future. I'm doing all the things I wasn't allowed to do before. I couldn't go to the gym (there's men there). I now go to the gym. I wasn't worthy of any time off or a holiday. I'm now making a list of places I want to go in the world. I was never allowed to go to a spa before (they're for women of ill repute apparently). I had a fabulous time at my friends hen night at a spa recently.
I'm being me. And it's great. For the first time ever, I really and truly feel like I've fallen on my feet.
My sister asked me recently, why I didn't leave sooner. I didn't have an answer for her. But having thought it through... You don't leave when you're at rock bottom; you only leave when you're on the way back up.
Thank you for reading my ramblings. If you are experiencing similar, please please don't put up with it. You're worth more. I wish I had realised it 5 years ago.
I was recently looking in the discussion category and noticed there was an domestic abuse one to review, I have been pondering if I should write a review on the subject for a while and I plucked up the courage today to give my own review and what it has mean't for me in my life etc and my experience with domestic violence.
I was brought up in a terrible abusive household, my dad was an alcoholic but my mum was a none drinker, my dad died 9 years ago and I felt so upset for many years after his death as to why he drank or why he was abusive as I never had the courage to ask him because most of the time he was drunk and not at all in a frame of mind to chat about those kind of areas.
My very first memory of my dads abuse was when I was 3 years old and I saw him trying to strangle my mum in an argument, but I did not know that at the time, I ran away and cried with my brother who was 3 years older than me, he was more braver than I was over the years and he often tried to help my mum in situations when she was being hit, but he then had the abuse for helping her and although he was only a boy, he so helped my mum.
When I was 4 my dad hit me so badly for touching the fire and marked my hand, I never actually remembered how I got the mark on this occasion for some reason but I knew he hit me and it kept in my memory ever since, my brother suffered badly over the years and took to a life of crime to escape as he was locked up constantly in prison until he married, he has since died, but he went on to abuse his wife but not his children for some reason.
I asked him why he hit his wife and he told me it was because he saw my dad do it to my mum and I could never understand what he told me but that is what he said the reason being was.
I took a different route in life, I actually had anorexia as a child as my escape and I almost died from the illness but I fought back and brought myself back to health when I was 16 years old, although I almost have had it since over the years but managed to help myself with the help of my hubby and children.
Although my dad abused my mum in front of us as children, he never did it in front of my children for some reason, I believe he felt he did not want to make his grandchildren think badly of him as he was a brilliant grand dad to all of them.
I was in a situation with my mum and dad when I was 16 years old and I saw him again try to strangle her in an argument but this time I helped her as I was much older by this time and he stood up and hit me in the face and so I ran to a neighbours home for help and the neighbour shielded me, and then he went to sort the situation at home.
After this occasion I then decided enough was enough for me and I left home and found myself a flat and was very frightened at first but I never ever went back home to live again.
Domestic violence can destroy so many lives and when it is being watched and you just cannot help the person it does harm to your brain for such a long time in my opinion.
My dad could fight anyone he came across and he often did but if anyone outside our home even attempted to hurt us, he would be there instantly to sort it, and why is this I wonder when he himself did it? Never really understood why that was, maybe he wanted to prove to others that he was a good dad and loved his family, I do know he loved me as he told me when he was dying and his last words were to me, were he loved me and he died and it actually broke my heart as I had never heard those words from him before this time.
I think abusive men and women too as women can be the same in life, it is just not the men it is both sexes but more often a man, but I think they tend to have something to prove in life, but it is not always an childhood that makes someone abuse people, it is themselves because I am living proof, being brought up with domestic violence does not mean you have to do it in your life, and I am a firm believer of that as I am not at all a violent person and I worked hard in my life to change every situation that is thrown at me to have a so different life with my hubby and children and I am very proud of my children as they are beautifully well mannered in life and they do not abuse.
I have lots of situations to write in this review but they are too upsetting for me and so I have kept it to what I have written.
Abusers are bullies, they want everything in life to be just so, to their liking and nothing else, they do not respect anyone, they use drink as an excuse but still abuse without drink, they do not always take responsibility for their actions and always say after abusing they did not mean to do it, they certainly did because we all can make choices in life and change if want to change, it is no excuse.
This review has taken me such a long time to write as it has brought back so many memories and it has made me sob and cry but I just wanted to help any other person going through domestic violence of any kind and I hope it has helped just one person and then the review would have been well worth writing.
My mum was never abusive to us and she is alive today and she is such a beautiful person and I slowly ask questions when subjects are brought up in conversations, and I try to work out from these chats, why or try to understand why she stayed for over 45 years with my dad, she tells me it is because she loved him but sometimes abused women do still love and stay with their partners and so I have to respect my mums answers and continue to grow into a life of happiness as I have since I left home and I am very proud of myself that I made the right choice in life and made such a better one for my children, hubby and myself and also my little grandson.
If anyone is in an abusive relationship, go for help, and especially if you have children as it can effect their lives in the future too, and if you are someone living in a domestic violent home, and you can move away from it, do so as I did and become a better person.
Thank you so much for having the patience to read my very long review, I just hope I have helped just one person and I am a happy bunny.
My first and am thankful to be able to say my only experience of domestic violence occured when I was just 17 and at the hands of my first real love and first sexual partner.
I met him in the sixth form and when he asked me out I didn't really fancy him and after one date, rather cowardly got his best friend to tell him I wasn't interested in anything more than a friendship. I was at that time of my life very insecure about myself and my body (although looking back now I wish I had appreciated myself more as a person and also how I looked physically) back then. Perhaps if I had, I would not have allowed myself to be treated the way he eventually did.
After staying as friends for quite a while with no signs of him being anything other than a nice, gentle person who just really liked me.
Following a party at a friends we did connect and kissed for the first time and I realised that I did like him more than I thought. From then on we were pretty much inseparable.
We became sexually active together (we were both virgins) and fell madly and deeply in love with each other - that sort of desperate teenage love where you feel you cannot live without the other person.
About six months into the relationship jealousy issues began to occur. Another boy in school liked me but we were just friends but my boyfriend could not contemplate me having a male friend (although I had been friends with him before we got involved).
The rows started and the physical aspect came into play, being no more than grabbing my wrists and shaking me at first. This progressed to pushing and shoving and eventually the first slap. I called it a day immediately but as it always tends to go, he apologised, swore it would not happen again and I, being hopelessly in love at the time stayed with him.
Eventually the control got to the point where I could not look left or right without being accused of flirting or encouraging members of the opposite sex and the violence became more aggressive and eventually, on two occasions included rape. There were threats to kill me if I left him and then himself etc. I was ashamed and terrified.
We were even involved in a high speed car chase when he saw me out with a friend and we feared he would run us off the country roads. Eventually back in town and stopped at traffic lights he jumped out of his car and finding my door locked put his hand through the sunroof and grabbed me. Looking back I realise, quite frankly, that he must have had a screw loose!
Unfortunately alongside this alsos came the sexual degradation which meant our previously romantic love making became something coarse and dirty. He would constantly talk dirty and call me names during sex and one time slapped my face during intercourse, obviously in some twisted way thinking that I might like it. That may be some people's bag but it wasn't mine.
I kick myself now that I stayed in this relationship for two years before ending it and even when I did my self-esteem had been laid so low that I did at times contemplate getting back with him but thankfully never did.
I am now married to a wonderful man who wouldn't dream of laying a finger on me. I sometimes wonder who my first boyfriend is with now and whether he has gone on to abuse each and every girlfriend since or whether it was just me who brought it out in him. Of course that insinuates that I feel that perhaps I was partly to blame for his treatment of me and although on an intellectual level I know that is not the case, there is and will always be a part of me that believes that it was partially my fault as I do not know how he consequently treated other girls who followed.
I would say to anyone who is being abused - unless your partner is willing to leave the relationship and see if he can get to the root of his problem with appropriate counselling etc. don't even consider staying with them long term and I would say if you have children witnessing the abuse then there is no excuse to stay. Get out and stay out.
Thanks for reading. x
Wake up and smell the coffee, thats what im telling myself!
for the last 4yrs i've put up with emotional and sometimes physical abuse, which i can now see is getting worse and worse. so why dont i leave?
(a) because im fat
(b) because no one else will want me
(c) i have to have things all my way .
well, thats what he tells me and the list goes on and on.
like everyone else, everything started off a bed of roses, and i cant remember when or why it went wrong.
All i know is that if i say the worng thing, do the wrong thing, want to watch something else on TV, it runs the risk of setting him off.. again!
again like alot of people, things get throw and smashed, and for me when i ask him "why have you just done that" I get the reply "better that than you!"
so why havent i left? .. for me, im scared, scared of being alone, scared of what people may think, and scared of loosing my home.
lucky i have no children to witness the emotional and sometimes physical abuse, and i have told the police in the past, but what did i do?! refuse to give a statment so he was free to do it again and again, with more control as he now knows i wont report it
what makes me feel worse, is that he tells me its my fault, i made him thow the remote, the coffee mug, or made him kick a hole in the wall. which does make me sometime think "have i?" "did I" "did I really start this argument?"
i just promise myself that one day I WILL BE STRONG ENOUGH TO WALK AWAY and not be concerned of the financial aspect of things that divorce and separation brings
for any other person out there suffering: try to be strong
I have recently been to court for an emergency injunction and occupational order and just before the hearing I sat and read my statement properly for the first time as I had described what had happened during my abusive relationship and how I had felt over the telephone to a domestic viloence helpline lady and told her why I needed her help and now it was all down on paper before my own eyes.
Tears of sadness and shock poured down my cheeks as I simply could not belive the story I was reading was my life - my old life and thankfully now my past. (long one im sorry....)
I met my abuser when I was 17, he was 27 and I thought he was great. To cut a long story shorter we had a strange up and down relationship - if you could even call it that! We split up many times and always ended up getting back together. When I was 18 we had a baby - We split up during the pregnancy and I didnt see him at all and then we decided to make a go of things 'as a family' and for a while things were great.
We decided to move away from all our friends and family and move south to a small village where the nearest person we knew was my brother.
I soon discovered there was a gambling problem - and it was not just a small one at that but a huge problem that would leave us completely skint and some weeks the rent was least of my worries as I had a baby that had now started eating solids as well as nappies and other essentials to buy.
There was no physical violence at this point but alot of upset with the gambling and also some verbal abuse that I thought I could handle as I was strong minded and could shout back too but he did make me feel very low and intimidated. He was a bully.
I fell pregnant with my 2nd baby and we were both overjoyed, I was sure this would sort everything out as now he would have to stop the gambling. He did fight hard and things were on the up with money, but the verbal abuse got stronger and he began to be so moody and starting kicking in doors and smashing things - as quick as my bump grew things got more and more physical.
At first he would block my path and make me listen to him in a row calling me selfish and telling me I loved myself not him or our daughter, then he soon started to push and after the first slap it got much worse.
I remember the first time he attually punched me, I was in my daughters room trying to get away from a possible row and he came in blocked me in and pushed me to the ground I was proberly about 5months gone and he told me I was never going to see my 16month old daughter again and that he was going to leave with her. He told me my unborn daughter was proberly not even his and punched me in the arm and head repeatedly as I told him over and over again that I loved him - It was a theory that I had used before that normally resulted in him pursuading me that I was totally out of order for causing the row, I was a bad mum and I wasent showing much love towards him, then we would ''make up''.
It had not worked for the first time and it was about then I started sinking into what I now recognise as pre - postnatal depression, as awful as it is to think and even say nowat the time I wished and I did not want my baby to come into the world for a life of misery I thought that maybe if i mis-carriaged he would see what he had done and stop the abuse.
One day he attually held a knife to my throat after a row on xmas day over how to make stuffing, he was convinced he was always right and if I had an opinion he would make me listen. Other days he would wrap his fingers round my neck and squeeze till i was gasping.
You are proberly wondering about now where the hell was my brother! well yes he was local and I saw my sister in law most days, she knew we had a rocky relationship in the way that she knew we shouted and fell out and knew of the gambling and that we were skint...but she didnt realise that yes if I spend a few pounds on a sandwich then I would be in trouble because that is classed as being selfish and that was worth a beating
. She once spotted that I had a bruise on my arm and asked if it was from him... I didnt say yes but I didnt deny it and she said that if I ever needed my brother (her husband) then I should call her and say so.... if only it would have been that easy - people always say why didnt you get out but I think only people that have been through this know the anwser. He was in contol of everything...I was pregnant and I had a young child I had no friends and no money. I didnt drive and I vagually knew my way out of the village, he made me feel like I was trapped and had no choice, I later found out that alot of victims feel this way.
I had my baby and my mum came to be with me for the birth. She decided to stay for a week to help out and my partner was livid, he said he wanted to be with us and not people invading and getting in the way. 3 days later my mum wanted to take me shopping one evening and he said no, my mum was upset and angry at him for being controlling and went out. We had a blazing row he said I had to choose him or my mum and he put his hands round my neck and spat in my face he said I was worthless. When my mum returned home she saw a mark on my face. The next day I told her everything and she took me to the council offices where I was taken to a womans refuge.
I was rehoused to a new area and met lots of friends, for the first time happy and a new self confidence and independance came too.
you would think that was the end of my story but its about half way!
9months later I was silly enough to believe his convincing lies and went back and ended up having another baby luckily over the next two years he was never physically but only verbally abusive and it was worse knowing what could be all over again.
Eventually a year or so on I decided that I was sick of being careful and treading on egg shells trying to make everything hunky dory the trama of the physical abuse was still there and thats what I found the hardest - trying to get over it with only my abuser to talk to about it.... I just couldnt stop thinking about what this man was capable of and being so miserable gave me the push to kick him out (with help of friends and police and get on with life.
He has constantly pestered and harrassed me since and that is what made me do the emergency injunction we are currently going through court for child custody but things have never been better and I have even met a new man a year on and in the past 6 months he has really helped me to get over what happened and that I deserve better.
Anyone experiancing domestic violence should call the national domestic violence helpline they will help you to get out and to get things like the emergency injuction - and he did not even know it was done until he had a balieff bring him the court order and by then he couldnt even txt call or come near me to express his view.
I would be more then happy if my story could help just one person to make a life changing desision.
On May the 14th 2009, I changed my life for the better. I had spent four years and three months in an abusive relationship, and made the choice to leave.
I'd met my partner back in 2004, but finally started a relationship with him on Valentines Day 2005. Things moved very quickly. Within a matter of months, he had persuaded me to move in. I was 20 at the time.
MY ex had two children from a previous relationship. I quickly became responsible for them, starting with babysitting when they were round ours and he was working. He soon convinced me that it wasn't fair on me for me to be looking after his own kids, so dropped out of work so he could "care" for them. I became responsible for paying the bills, meaning I had to drop out of university to earn enough money to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. In october of the same year, his ex stopped him seeing the kids.
In June, I first encountered his dark side, so to speak. After a trip down the pub, where I had first met his friends, he asked me what I thought of his friends. I said I wasn't too sure of one friend. An argument followed, in which he told me to leave the flat. I pointed out I had nowhere to go. A few moments later, he walked into the room with one of the large knives from the kitchen in his hand. "Get out, or I'll kill you." As I went to leave, he dropped the knife, telling me he'd been clowning around, that it was a joke. Over two days, he worked on getting me to forgive him. I put the incident down to his being drunk.
He started acting jealous of a male friend of mine, and gradually convinced me to drop contact with every male friend I had. I couldn't work with a male colleague without him accussing me of having an affair with him.
In April, 2006, I began working in a bar in town. During an incident, he hurt his ankle, and after someone laughed without realising he'd really hurt himself, he hobbled off. When he returned, the door had been locked shut, as the bar was now closed. He kicked the door, and subsequently broke his foot. After this, he threatened to sue the company, phoning them and informing them of this himself. He pressured me into choosing between him and the job. It was about this time that he first hit me. I don't know what convinced me to stay, whether it was a case of being 200 miles from my own family, or fear. I didn't tell anyone what was going on, but I think my colleagues had their suspicions. After my ex's performance, my boss gradually started whittling down my hours. Eventually, I was down to one evening a week, and had to change jobs, heading back to the pub where I had met him.
By changing back to the pub near him, this gave him a chance to check up on me in every shift. He'd sit in the pub with drinks, taking my tips so he could buy another pint to make sure I wasn't flirting with customers. During one argument, he locked me on the communal landing in our tower block, accusing me of having an affair. He had waited until I was getting ready for bed, and was in my underwear, then dragged me out of the flat, claiming he didn't want a sl*t like me in his flat. When he finally let me back in, he forced me into sleeping with him, as proof that I wasn't sleeping around. I didn't think of it as rape until I left him, and a support worker pointed out that's exactly what it was.
Over all this time, I provided for him, helped him, supported him. When I found out I was pregnant, I prayed it'd be a wake up call for him. He couldn't even stay sober for the results of the test. It should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, but instead, it was tinged with anger that he couldn't stay sober, sit with me while I waited for the result. Instead, he decided to stay down the pub.
When I was six months pregnant, he attacked me for the first time during my pregnancy. For the first time, I fought back, after he went to punch me in the stomach. I blocked his hand, and hit him back. I then locked myself in the bathroom and called the police. After hearing he'd most likely be let off with a caution, I dropped the charges. I felt it made more sense to at least have the fact I dropped the charges making me look like a loyal partner in his eyes. Now, I wish I'd pressed for charges, and made sure he'd got a sentence.
After our son was born, I felt more and more alone. He offered no support in caring for our son, and instead chose to spend his evenings down the pub, while I was dealing with a new born. He pressurised me into having our son share the bed, on the basis that he couldn't stand the sound of a baby crying, which my son did every time I put him to bed. He then used this as an excuse to sleep on the sofa. Two weeks after our son was born, despite the fact my episiotomy had not yet healed, he once again pressured me into having sex with him.
When our son was six months old, my ex returned from the pub drunk and started an argument. He attacked me while holdeing our son in his arms, ripped the cot apart and told me I couldn't leave him, as he'd kill me and my son if I did. When he attacked me in October, I was holding our son. It was then that I left the first time. I made the mistake of returning after the trial. Although he didn't hit me between then and the time I left the second time. But the mental abuse started. I became convinced I was fat, ugly and that I was a bad mother. He hid things to make me look crazy. The turning point for me was when he attacked my son. The next day, while he was at community service, I left.
Since then, I've been living in refuge accommodation. I've moved three times in six weeks, but I'm now near my family. He has no idea where I am, but I'm safe. The refuge I'm in has self contained flats, so I get my own space, but at the same time, I have the chance to socialise.
I found out about the freedom programme, which aims to provide support to women living in, or leaving abusive relationships. The programme was set up by Pat Craven, and after reading her booklet, living with the dominator, I was suprised at how common what my partner put me through was. Every abuser works to the same pattern. I was one of the lucky ones. I escaped. But shockingly, two women a week are killed by a partner or ex partner.
I'm getting my life back on track, slowly but surely. If I spend the rest of my life afraid, he's won. I'm making sure that won't happen.
If anyone is suffering from domestic abuse, don't be afraid to ask for help. Talk to friends or family. Put a bit of money aside in case you need to leave in a hurry. Make sure you have all your important documents with you at all times. You never know when you'll need them. The national domestic violence helpline gave me the support I needed and helped to get me into refuge accommodation. If you need to talk to someone about the abuse, the lines are open 24 hours a aday, 7 days a week, and they can be contacted on 0808 2000 247.
No one suffering abuse is as alone as they might feel.
Whenever on here I always look at personal stories that you lot write. I'm very interested in what shapes and moulds us as people and it's good to know that we are not alone in facing demons and we're not the only one's to suffer in some way throughout life. I always think of the motto there is always someone worse off than you.
I'm not going to throw statistics at you. I purely want you to know my story and that if your suffering at the hands of someone with domestic violence that you CAN get away from it even if it's difficult. I never thought I would get away but I did but don't get me wrong it took me a very long time to get over it and even now I have the mental and physical scars to show for it all.
It all started When I was 28ish. I was living at home with my Mother here in Coventry. I used to chat on the mobile Internet and I hadn't long lost me best mate (my Dad) and I got chatting to a guy who lived in Central London. Similar age to me, worked hard for a living, was attentive, called alot and we'd chat for hours upon hours. At that time my mum had met a guy who I absolutely detested. I was getting verbal from my Mum's friends about being jealous etc and I couldn't make anyone listen to reason. I was tarred with peoples opinions and all I could was was this creep taking the P*** out of me lovely Mum. I wasn't wrong but that is another story!
In the end I decided to make a break, run for the hills. I had this lovely guy, John who was a great listener with an exciting life (compared to mine). Lived in big city.... I thought what the heck and I met him.
When I met him he wasn't what I was expecting at all. He looked different from his pictures that he'd sent me and was 22 stone and 6ft 4! Not my type at all but I was so down being at home and John was my lifeline and way out of my existing life and he was amusing and seemed genuine and caring and I was oh so vulnerable. We spent a wicked day together in my home town of Coventry and when he went back to London I really missed him and went back to hating my life and spent all my time online in our little world talking to him.
A week later he invited me to Stratford Upon Avon to stay in hotel for a week. It was all above board and we had single beds and we had a fantastic time together. I felt cared for, protected and listened to and didn't miss my hell at home one bit. I never wanted to be away from him and I felt like a princess living a dream. I was going to nice places, getting spoilt rotten and no longer felt 14 and half stone and ugly and uncared about. He had me on pedestal and I liked the attention. We got intimate on that break which was pretty fast but all I wanted was to get and keep this guy...which is what I did.
Not long after that I went to stay at his apartment for a couple of weeks in London. It was fantastic and in fact the break lasted months. I eventually moved in after commuting to Coventry alot as that was where I was still based and we got on great at first.
He had a lot of stress at work and his Mum's estate (she had died remember) was getting sorted out and he was coming into thousands of pounds (this wasn't a reason I got with him by the way, the money never got sorted for months lol). He started to get depressed and called it sad money but at that point we were still happy with each other and I'd said shove it in the bank lets do nothing with it, it's a nest egg if nothing else. He started to make plans about getting a car one minute and wanted to scream the next, he was becoming volatile and moody and very withdrawn
I remember the first time he hit me. He spoke to me and out the blue pelted me in the head and knocked me out cos I never answered quickly enough as I never heard him properly and was trying to work out in my head what he had said. He was immediately apologetic blaming it on stress. That was my warning that I missed cos to be honest it was all so out of the blue I was stunned. I excepted the apology when I should have walked away. Good to have hindsight though and we don't always make the best decisions!
After that it opened Pandora's box. I soon found out that a reason my address (where my mum lived) was out and about online was cos he gave it to someone to bully and terrify me with. I then found out he wasn't 34 but almost 50. Ok I admit it I can't believe now I never saw it but neither did my friends or family and we just assumed he had a hard life! No one liked him, his name was mud with everyone.
He started drinking and it turned out he was already an alcoholic. He'd go missing for days, locking me in the flat leaving me with no food, no electric nothing. He'd come home singing anti English music (he was Irish) and many many, many times I'd get bashed up. I was used to being covered in my own blood, cuts and bruises. At first he was apologetic then after a while apologies became few and far between. He's spit at me, swear at me, I was a gold digger, a ho, he wished my Mum would die and actually told her so. He'd stand in front of me telling me no one loved or cared about me, put a glass to my face if another man looked at me and told me he'd make people look at me for all the wrong reasons. When I did go to leave he'd threaten my Mum and threaten my friends. I did call hostels and the Samaritans and the likes but no one seemed to be able to help me but at the end of the day I was totally petrified of this man and believed truly he'd kill me.
I got so low and hated myself. I started self harming, got an eating disorder, never slept (which is why I'm here half the night) and started having nightmares (which I still do). I was and still am covered in scars and my toenails snap off cos he used to delight in stamping on them. I've lost alot of my hearing in one ear that can't be cured where he hit me against a wall and have a bad spine which wasn't helped by being thrown about on laminate flooring with gusto.
My lowest point was when he raped me and I thought I was pregnant. I'd already decided that I'd get rid of a monsters baby for a child's own sake but he threw me down the stairs and I lost it so the Dr thought. Doesn't mean I wasn't gutted as all I have ever wanted is to be loved and have a family of my own and by this point I was in my early 30s.
I started to hate him and wish he was dead. I'd be locked in the flat willing myself to jump out of a window and was too scared I wouldn't die. I had pockets of pills in my pockets and for the same reason didn't do it. My Mum knew not alot about my situation and she was the one who stopped me really in my mind.
After trying to leave, and getting caught and punished he came in drunk one night and my bag was packed with everything that belonged to me in it and boy was it heavy as hell. I was dressed and knew if he was drunk he'd do his usual trick of turning the oven on to eat summat (not that we had any food in) and he'd fall asleep in a chair with a fag on. I used to hide in a cupboard till he did that and then make sure he was safe and everything turned off.
So one night he came in and I wasn't in the cupboard I was waiting in the bedroom. He came in started a row , punched me to the ground after spotting my hidden bag and set fire to my hair. I was absolutely terrified but I thought kill me now you B***** life ain't worth living anyway, I simply don't care. I put the flames out but lost alot of hair and was lucky I wasn't scarred for life. As I ran to the door sobbing like a banshee, covered in blood and mess clutching my bag I prayed door would be unlocked as a tomato ketchup glass bottle skimmed my head and smashed against the wall. It was and believe me I've never ran so fast in my life, bag and all! I got to the coach station and luckily I'd saved a little money and the coach driver taped me up, I called my mum and it took me 1 hour 50 minutes to get home and I cried all the way with him calling me and asking me where I was. I wasn't just in pain and lost but for upset for putting up with it too. I felt devastated, confused and injured but I knew I'd done right thing. He'd tried AA and counselling in the past but he couldn't do it and I had to save myself and now before it got final.
Living back at home was a trauma for me. Mum had got herself a new bf, which was now her fiance. Brill bloke though and I adore my step-dad. However I was very much underweight and got diagnosed as a self harmer and suffering bulimia. I had no money as we'd been claiming joint benefits and when I did try to sort that out I was told I owed 3000 quid he'd taken out on out on our behalf as loans from the social. I never even knew about it and couldn't understand why he'd took any loan out because by that point his money from his Mums estate of 50 grand had been completely wasted down the pub and he had nothing left but I couldn't make him see sense about it.
So I couldn't get any money for ages but eventually I did when I broke down in the social office. I went on the sick too, got into an eating disorder clinic and tried my best to solve all my issues out. In the meantime I had to wait for a HIV test etc cos he was plaguing my mobile with threats and telling me he had slept with half of London. I was falling apart piece by piece but of course it was all designed to wind me up but I couldn't get away from him. I didn't want to change my number cos I liked knowing what he was up to and where he was etc. One minute he'd beg me back, next he was drunk threatening to kill me, then he'd call asking me how to use the washer machine. Then he threatened my friends (real ones) when he saw them on line, I'd get silent calls to my home and gifts through the post when I did eventually get brave and change my mobile number on the advice of the police. Lengthy emails I blocked and sent parcels back etc. I thought he'd get bored in the end and forget about me and meet someone else and I actually prayed for it. Sorry for another woman all that of course but I wanted and desperately needed peace!
He seemed to then get the message and calm down and leave me alone for a time and I avoided men and people in general and worked on my self esteem, body image and stuff. Still, I was nervous, still liked my own space alot and was scared of being near fights or arguing (I still am really) and even slept with lights on. I got some friends and took life day by day and still looked round corners all the time. I always said he'll find me and kill me one day. Part of me still believes that.
Then a couple of years later I met a guy called Paul. Lovely guy and we had a lot of laughs and he instilled my faith in guys once again. He understand about me battling still with my eating disorder and really helped any way he could, he was always there to listen to me and we struck up a proper relationship. I was at the point of John who then! I couldn't believe I'd got a great guy like Paul! He lived quite a distance from me and I'd see him regularly, come home some nights, not others etc. I'm pointing out for you that this was not a regular pattern of seeing each other at all. Then out of the blue on my mobile (new number the lot) I was getting silent calls. I thought nothing of it at the time but it always at the start happened when I was out and about and alone. The person would listen for an hour to silence if I let them and I even called up 02 to ask if my phone had problems which it didn't.
Then I started having texts telling me my new bfs Paul's surname, his address even his car registration. I was told I had a t shirt on his washing line and where we'd had dinner out. I became paranoid and got death threats and calls started happening at Paul's all the time. I knew it was John in my heart and after telling whoever it was to p off the calls got worse, my bf dropped me through fear and he became paranoid and in the end my step dad called the police after becoming really stressed out about the situation.
To cut a long story short the calls and texts couldn't be traced via an unregistered sim card though the police tried he just kept getting new one's everyday. West Midlands police contacted the Metropolitan police about the issues but when they went to our old flat it turned out he'd been evicted. In the meantime once I changed my phone number again he was back to picking random email addresses and contacting me that way and told me he was homeless. Police were very concerned by this time too and popped in to my home alot and wanted to take me to a safe house. They felt I was being professionally watched (not by John as I had first assumed) and there could be a bounty on my head. He was seriously that wacko and felt he couldn't live without me and was mad as hell about it all.
I refused to go anywhere and decided what was going to be was going to be, life was hell so why try to protect it? I held my head high and simply stayed vigilant, made sure he couldn't contact me, got a safety alarm installed in my home and tried very hard to have a normal life.
John then went quiet. Fast forward it's now 5 years since we split and occasionally he emails me still. I blank them. Am I scared? Certainly I am yes, he's the one person in the world that completely terrifies the life out of me but life has to go on and I live day for day now with the motto what will be will be.
People ask me all the time when I tell my story do I hate him? Well no I don't. I pity him and believe that is worse. I try to live my life the best way I can and he can't or won't. From what I'm aware he's still single with no one to care for him not even his own family and that to be is really rotten. Me I have many friends, I do have relationships though I have to admit I have severe trust issues (am happy being single anyway) and maybe I'm a better more understanding person that I was to begin with because of all this. Like my Mum says what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
What I want to say is that there is light at the end of the tunnel but don't expect to not come out of it slightly different to when you entered said tunnel. Your always on your guard after being hurt but I always say never let bullies win and John is and was simply one of those. I owe it to myself to make the best of my life despite of him and to have the last laugh and make something of myself. He didn't ruin me....he helped to create me.
Help is out there and my best bit of advice to you if in this position is don't mess about, get out. Call 999 and get away that way. When you do that it's logged and don't be worried you won't get your belongings back cos the police actually are fabulous in this area and will help you as most police stations now have domestic violence units and speciality officers in this area who really are great.
There are so many organisations out there but again if you contact police they'll help you to get in touch with the right ones. Hostels are out there and the whole process of leaving someone in this situation is frightening to hell but there is no excuse, it isn't love but control and it's destructive and damn right evil. Never be afraid to tell someone, never be afraid to quietly find out your options for leaving if possible but always remember to cover your tracks and stay as safe as you can. Never simply stay put cos your scared, people will help rebuild you and your life, believe me.
You don't deserve to be mistreated. No one should harm you...ever. Get help and get out and leave behind being a punch bag and leave them in their own disgusting worlds I say. You can't always change others but you can help and change yourself it just takes a deep breath and a bit of planning and bravery on your part! I believed I loved John but in hindsight I didn't I was just conditioned into believing I did when in actual fact I felt I needed him. I didn't I don't, screw him!
When I was about 16 I met someone who after just 2 weeks I was silly enough to move in with. He was gorgeous and I was not the best looking girl so I was flattered. Everything was perfect at first. He was loving, caring, kind and would do everything for me. He used to make all the meals, do all the housework and everything.
It wasn't until about 4 months later after we had been food shopping that it all changed. We got home and had not even started to unpack. He looked really angry so I asked what was wrong. He told me that I had been flirting with the man at the till. He started shouting and screaming at me and calling me a slag. He went in the huff and we never spoke for the rest of the day. he bought me flowers and all was forgiven.
He had episodes like that more often over the following months. Then when he was calling me a slag one day he grabbed my private parts. Told me thatI was his and noone elses. I couldn't even go to the local shop unless I walked all the way there and back with my head down just incase I happened to look at another man.
Not long after was the first time he was ever violent. It all happened so quick but he punched me in the face. I must have been knocked out cause the next thing I can remember was being on the floor. When I came round he grabbed my hair and started hitting my head off the floor. When I woke up he was nowhere to be seen. I pulled myself together and just kept myself hidden away for a few weeks till the bruising went down.
No sooner had it gone down though and he was giving me fresh ones. While he was hitting me he used to say that if I left him I would be on my own for the rest of my life because I was a fat ugly slag. Noone else would ever want to be with me. When someone says something to you over and over again you start to believe it.
Towards the end I was being beaten just about once a week. Not always to the face as he knew people may start asking questions if they saw me with bruises or if I was hiding away all the time.
Then the worst thing happened. During a beating to the face and being pushed up against a wall I was knocked out cold. When I woke up he was on top of me, pulling at my clothes. The rest is too hard for me to talk about but I think everyone gets the idea. I just new after that that it was never going to get any better. I knew that if I did not leave him he could end up killing me.
The final straw came when we were arguing one night, he kicked me down the stairs. When I managed to crawl into the kitchen he picked up a knife and held it to my throat. I just couldn't help thinking that I was never going to make it out of there alive. Then there was a knock at the door. It was a friend of him and he ended up just walking into the house. There was a big fight between them after he had seen the state of me and he got me out of the house and took me back to my parents.
I have never looked back. I have seen him a few times since we have split and I walk past him holding my head up high. He is on the dole and has no family or partner or friends. I have everything I could possibly wish for anything more.
It took me a very long time to gain some confidence but I have done it. I am who I am and if anyone doesn't like it then tough. I wont change for anyone. yes I am overweight or as my boyfriend calls me 'cuddly'.
I have been with my current partner for 5 years now and although I know deep down that he would never lay a finger on me I do still live in the past a bit. We nearly split up three years ago because he told me I was living in the past too much and it was ruining our relationship.
I started to talk things through with him what I had been through in the past and it helped me to do that.
A message to everyone out there who is suffering in a way that I USED to. 'Get out now while you still can'. They will not change. they do not love you because if they did they would not inflict pain on you.
But please remember that it is not always men who hit women. Women can be violent as well.
Having read the previous reviews on domestic violence, it occurs to me that that it would be helpful to put society's attitude to violence against women in its historical context.
Reasonable chastisement of a woman was still a defence to assault until the 1940s - ie a man was 'entitled' to beat his wife, in order to enforce ensure her obedience.
It only became an offence to rape your wife in approx 1994. Prior to that date, a woman was not permitted to refuse her husband intercourse.
These two facts are shocking in themselves. But put them together and it becomes apparant that there are women, alive today, who lived through a period where violent rape by a husband was fully condoned by the legal system.
The Married Women's Property Act which allowed women a stake in the matrimonial home was passed in the early 1970s. Prior to that a man could, and frequently did, throw a woman out on the streets making her homeless. Again, she would have no redress in law.
The status of women in society has changed massively in less that 70 years. We have made massive leaps forward.
Progress still continues. Within the last ten years, Judges have received guidance on what constitutes provocation for the purposes of a defence to murder. You may remember the cases of men being acquitted of murdering their wives and receiving instead short periods of custody for manslaughter, because they said they had snapped due to their wife's nagging. Thankfully, Judges will no longer accept such excuses - but this development has been within the last ten years or so.
Our society continues to have a problem with violence in general - and in particular towards women. (Violence by women against men is equally abhorrent but far less common - do the body count. Two women a week are murdered in this country by their partners. The number of male victims is a fraction of this.)
This violence affects the whole of society. The majority of youths coming through the Youth Justice System have come from violent homes - whether it being witnessing violence or suffering violence at the hands of their adult carers. Research has shown that particularly for male children, witnessing their mother being physically abused has an enormously traumatic effect, leading to feelings of inadequacy, low esteem and anger.
Violence should play no part in relationships. But given that violence against women was for so long and so recently accepted by our society, it is no wonder that it is so prevalent.
However our society has made great progress and must continue to do so.
Home is where everyone - men, women and children - should feel safe. Violence within the home is not only an offence - but is also an abuse of trust and as such, should be treated more seriously than other forms of assault.
Once these principles are accepted by everyone, all our lives will be safer.
How many of us have witnessed a man rowing with a woman in the street and then whacking them, only for both of them to turn on the person who offers help to the said woman? That's pretty much the norm these days and some people, how ever violent, are just meant for each other, this street theatre almost a demonstrative action of their 'feelings' towards each other. It's almost as if the guy's aggression to her is essential to their relationship and maybe she doesn't feel he wants her if he doesn't beat his chest like a gorilla, that being my abstract opinion on that particular scenario, of course. Its either that or he's her pimp.
Those professionals with experience of helping people around domestic violence say it's always complex and never simple why couples do what they do and why women stay with violent men sometimes. Yes they try to hold the family together until they can take no more but some offer no sensible reasons.
The hardcore domestic violence that all women fear is the stuff that goes on in the home and remains unseen and is often very complex and political, many of these couples in love with each other but not friends deep down, together purely due to a drunken night or with the only person that liked them at work, where 35% of us met their partners. I personally have never hit a woman although have dated women that I felt wanted me to be 'more aggressive' with them to keep them inline and I interested, especially in the sack. To me women are precious creatures and should be handled carefully, their delicate mechanisms not as simple and brutal as the clunky machinery of men. My dad used to whack me with what ever was to hand as a kid but I always thought that was because he was frustrated with his boring blue-collar life of shifts and my mums nagging.
When a guy lashes out, be it at his wife or partner, either way he needs to leave her because it will only get worse. The government has promised to generate databases of violent men so women can access them so to avoid relationships with them, whilst women's campaigners say it's just a gimmick and a fudge to a serious problem, 142 people dying from domestic violence last year alone, 38 off those were men.
A recent survey found that one-in-five people thought it ok to hit women in some circumstances, reasons ranging from wearing provocative clothing to the resolution of a domestic row. It's unclear where the survey sample came from and 20% does seem rather high but does show why domestic violence is still 70% of all police call outs in the big cities. People end up with people like themselves in Great Britain and so not always compatible, the class structure, not true love, more likely to get people together here. I think that claustrophobia and rather forced structure is one of the core reasons why we are such a violent domestic society.
As I say I have been with women that engineer a situation where she wants me to hit her, not hard but enough to know I will hit here if she pushed it, almost a subconscious action, dare I say it, to see I'm man enough to be with her. Needless to say I don't hit her or any women and the relationship faded out. I wasn't the macho man she wanted and she wasn't the intelligent vivacious girl I needed. Some strong women are drawn to strong men because they feel they need to be inferior for the relationship to work. In some cases that includes violence. I don't expect women to ever admit that but I know it to be true.
There are cases where women just get bored or marriage and use domestic violence to force the man out of the house so she can have the kids and the house, but the hubby still paying the mortgage. We know if the guy lays a finger on the woman she legally has the edge and he could lose the lot, guilty or not. I think the moment women lose respect for their man they are capable of anything. 90% of all divorce cases see the kids go to the woman and in most cases the roof over their heads too. That's a powerful prize and the ultimate emancipation for women who decide they no longer need a man around.
Sean Connery is the classic example of the powerful macho man that women will stick with come what may. If you're the world's sexist man then the woman with him must feel rather chuffed. The question is ( if he indeed did hit her as it was always alleged) then why stay with him? He can get any women in the world so why stay with a woman he has to whack to keep in line. Is it a simple trade off where she is not prepared to give up what she has? Control, of course, is what domestic violence is really about and that's probably why powerful men hit women. Women like that may just stick around because maybe the life he lives is what she always wanted. Women will compromise over men. If women told the truth the whole world would crack a part.
Women too can be violent, a more complex situation for their male partners. The stigma of a woman beating a guy is a tough one to deal with. She can whack him all she likes but evidence suggests the police have no real time for this type of abuse when men call in the police and if they are called out to a violent domestic situation initiated by women their first action is to take the man out of the house as if he's to blame, ironically to protect the women. Although cases of women abusing men are small compared to the other way around it is an impossible situation for the man, the more she hits him the more chance of him striking back and becoming the abuser and so facing court and losing his house. I think some women beat on their man for that reason, knowing he can't hit back, and if he does then maybe he will become the man she wants. Like I said women are complex creatures and not completely innocent in some cases of domestic violence. Attraction s fundamentally based on one person being inferior to the other and so that powerbase is the annex of their relationship.
The cash conscious government of course have come up with a brilliant ruse to make it look like they are on top of domestic violence by claiming a 54% fall of men being arrested in just two years. What they did was to radically increase the police powers of arrest and serve longer prison sentences on any guy who attacks a woman. What quickly happened was women realised if the main bread provider did indeed face jail time then they would have less income from him for her and the kids and his future ability to earn would also be effected...Basically women stopped coming forward to protect their 'revenue source', to put it harshly, so charges and trails collapsed by 50%. As a cynical interpretation that is that's exactly what happened.
But sadly men do abuse women and the bulk of cases and women go unprotected for many years and women have to stick it out because there aren't enough refuge places or willingness by the police to tackle all the cases. Any guy who uses his fist against a woman is a coward, however much provocation. And with growing numbers of damaged men returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and increasing cultural abuse in Muslim and African communities towards women through genital mutilation and honour crime (two groups high on the unfortunate statistics for spouse deaths), alongside a very hard recession, it's going to bean even tougher year for women in 2009 who cant escape the grip of these bastard men that infest decent society. If you are one of those women then for Gods sake tell someone!
Having gone through a long history with domestic violence, i am so glad that people are talking about it. It is something that effects not only myself but millions of women and children around the world. Domestic violence effects a persons self esteem, self confidence, self worth, and a number of other things. Its not just the physical aspect of the abuse either, it is also verbal and mental abuse. Sometimes words can be so much more powerful and hurtfull than any punch or slap. It also teaches your children that its ok to hurt people, if they grow up in that kind of enviroment, they tend to mimic what they see, and repeat what they hear. I broke free from the violence in my life and i was lucky, some people never make it out. Although i still think about it from time to time, i know i dont have to live my life that way ever again.
Domestic violence seems to be one of those less spoken about topics, despite it being a subject of great importance.
Many people do not seem to realise that you can indeed be a victim of domestic violence/abuse without being physically harmed. The worst part of this is that verbal abuse and mental abuse are the harshest form of cruelty.
Words can inflict more damage than any fist can, the pain caused by a hand fades after a while, the bruises fade, however the anguish caused by the painful words never fades. It festers inside; it amounts to feelings of uselessness, confusion, and bewilderment. Victims of verbal abuse do not often realise how they are suffering and it is often someone on the "outside" that clears the clouds and shows them how they are suffering, but not always. In some senses it can be better if the tormentor would just raise that fist once, because then the victim would see them for what they are, a bully.
I am not for one second condoning domestic violence, merely saying I am glad that in my situation I was glad he punched me, because I got myself back onto my feet and with every ounce of strength I had, punched him back.
In situations like this it takes time, courage, and fear to break free from the vicious cycle. You need time to build courage and you need fear to drive you to break away. But fear can hold you back; fear makes you doubt yourself, them and their actions. People tell themselves "they don't mean what they are saying", "s/he does love me" "they say it because they love me" - No!! If they loved you they wouldn't do this to you!
Some people are lucky like me, they get out of the abusive relationship, but spare a thought for those living in a constant state of fear, anxiety because at any given moment something can tick the tormentor off, something can cause them to snap and what was once a loving touch can become a fatal blow.
This is a topic that should be discussed, the consequences are dire and the victims need help.
I wish he'd hit me. Why? If he'd hit me I'd have walked away there and then. I would have seen him for the abusive b*stard that he is.
I met B when living under the big city lights. I was confident, successful and enjoying life as just me. Things moved quickly between us and I fell fast and hard, it was only when I landed that I noticed the scars.
I never noticed that he'd made me choose between my best friend (and flatmate) and him until years later. He'd point out sarcastic comments my friend had made (that usually I'd have laughed at as that's the kind of person my friend was, funny and cheeky) but said that they had hurt him, they'd picked at a sore spot he'd had since he was young. That's where it started; I spent less and less time in the life I'd been truly happy with and more time with B.
He was offered a job up north and his boss had offered me a position in the office too. Being totally besotted and him telling me about the opportunities, the excitement, the perfect life I was too blinded to question anything and off we went.
Well it didn't work out. We spent 3 months up there, months where it had just been him and I, no contact with my previous active social life. He made sure that the arguments with my family weren't resolved so that I wouldn't disappear home for visits. I had nowhere to go.
It was when we returned to the city that things got bad. He'd had me to himself for 3 months and he was not happy at my attempts to relight my friendships. It started subtly at first with little comments like "you're not wearing that out are you?" or "watch it with those chips, you'll have an elephants ass soon" but because he laughed after it I thought it was all in jest. Soon the comments got harsher and should I want to go anywhere without him he'd not speak to me for hours before hand but bombard my phone with messages when I was out. When I'd return home it was like walking into the inquisition. It got to the point where I would make excuses to my friends about why I couldn't meet them because I dreaded his reactions, they soon stop phoning to invite me.
From there it progressively got worse, if dinner wasn't ready I'd be every name under the sun, before he'd cuddle me in to tell me that it was my fault he got angry and I should know that he liked things done right, but it was okay he'd forgiven me. Sex was his main weapon against me and God help me should I not want to reciprocate, the verbal and mental abuse would last days. He'd go through my phone and delete messages, open my post, check my emails/Bebo pages. He had every control.
I was broken. It's only now when I look back how broken I was. I was scarily thin, frightened to eat and apart from going to work my life was non-existent.
One night after visiting his mum, who spent the whole night complaining about B's dad and the divorce, told me that she was glad her son wasn't the controlling, mentally abusive partner like his dad was. It was as if someone had opened the curtains and let the light in.
The next day I told him that we needed a break, I did it in front of my best friend who had known what was going on but you don't listen, you have to see it for yourself. He lost it, screaming abuse at me, threatening my life and the flat. He threw his stuff into his mothers car still screaming. I had no intention of ever letting him back into the flat and had the locks promptly changed. I was terrified.
I decided it was time to move back to my hometown and pick up the pieces of my life in the safety of home and my family. I wasn't the confident, bubbly lass I was when I left, I was withdrawn, scared and terrified that he would come and find me. My friends were amazing and gently they got me back to my old self, it took a lot of coaxing and getting over a lot of panic attacks to do so.
Only now, looking back on it all, can I see that it was abuse. Because he had never hit me I'd never thought for a second that his behaviour was abusive. This is by no means an extensive list of the sh*t that man put me through and I don't think I will ever be able to talk about the full extent of it, that's deeply buried. My husband knows what went on and has helped sort the little pieces that my friends couldn't. I don't know how I could have done it without him. I have my happy ending.
I've wrote this because I can't bear to think that any other woman (or man) is in the situation I was, and that they haven't seen it as abuse because they don't have any bruises on the skin! There are ways and means to escape the horrible cycle that is abuse and I beg you to take them should you find yourself in any sort of abusive relationship.
When I met my soon to be ex husband he was attentive, would do anything he could to make me happy.
I struggled with terrible agoraphobia and this suited him. It meant that he could go out and do whatever he wanted. If I complained all he would say is its not like you are going to go out so I stayed him and cooked him a nice hot meal for when he got back.
My agoraphobia was different degrees of severity over the years but it never went away.
When I became pregnant I knew I had to tackle it once and for all. Doing it for my unborn baby gave me all the motivation I needed to fight the anxiety it caused me.
My freedom was not celebrated by my husband more he saw it as he was now more trapped. I offered to meet some of his friends, he hated it as he used to lie to me what he was doing and his mates all knew. As I could go out, he then had to now spend time with me and gave him less time for his mates.
The change in his treatment towards me was subtle. He would make it difficult for me to see my friends by either spending all the money so I had none to go out with or phoning me when I was out saying he was finding it difficult been in the house on his own.
I was sick all the way through my pregnancy and so was very tired. He would emotionally blackmail me into cooking him a meal. He made everything about him.
When I was twenty weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital due to dehydration. He came to visit me after I had been in a couple of days. I was feeling quite low. I was in a side room with no TV and so was very lonely but he came in ranting about how hard it was for him on his own and I ended up calming him down. By this point I was indoctrinated into his way of thinking. When I told people I told them he had had a bad day, it didn't even occur to me that he should have put his problems aside for me for an hour or two.
He spent my pregnancy treating me badly and behaving like he was a bachelor but knocking my self esteem down all the time.
Things got considerably worse once my son was born. Unbelievably he was jealous of our son and all the attention that my son required. When our son was born he barely came to the hospital instead got drunk and stoned and blew more money than I dared think about. He called it wetting the baby's head but in reality it was about him wanting to be centre of attention.
When I returned home, I hoped we would be a family but he left me to struggle to generally bring him up on my own all that he wanted to do was give our son a cuddle him. He wanted to go out all the time and if I objected he just said he felt trapped.
He would lie, he even told me his friend had a heart attack to get out the house and when he called later he said that his friend was home it was angina and did I mind if he stayed the night.
I never even bothered confronting him by this point I knew he was lying but didn't see any point as he would twist it round to everything been my fault.
His friends asked me to go away on a girly weekend to a cottage where everyone was taking there kids so I went. He was fine about me going but on return he thought I should pay he ignored me all day. I tried talking to him but he didn't want to know. By tea time I was exhausted and our son wouldn't eat his tea so I was in tears. I ran upstairs leaving my son strapped in his highchair and said you have him for 5 minutes as he had been ignoring his son. He chased me upstairs and was shouting at me. He refused to look after our son so I went to get him. My husband was following me around the house ranting and screaming at me. I kept saying let me calm him down but he was so angry he strangled me while my son was in my arms. I tried to leave but he wouldn't let me. In the end I had to secretly phone the police then lock my son and me in the nursery.
He was given a police caution but it changed nothing.
He would treat me badly and I tried to keep things calm when my son was around but once he was in bed I would try and talk to me and he would ignore me.
I didn't leave him till four months later. I left because on this rant he was throwing things around and my son was in my arms with a startled scared look on his face. When I told him he was scaring our son he said he wasn't because he wasn't crying. He then ripped the washer door off and said it was my fault as I had made him angry. He then walked out.
I got myself and my son into a refuge.
What have a learnt?
I have learnt that I do deserve to be treated better and it can happen to anyone.
I would of though I was the last person to end up in a refuge as I was always happier on my own than in a bad relationship but it happens slowly so you don't see it coming.
If you are in a similar situation
My advice is to find a way out. As much as you want it to get better it doesn't. Women's aid can help this is a free phone number 0808 2000 247. They can help.
Also of you are not ready to leave make an escape plan, how would you get out where would you go is there anywhere you can store a few spare clothes
If you think a friend is in the situation.
I personally only spoke to two people who knew what was going on.
My first a friend let me tell her what was going on but never told me to leave just supported me. Without her I would have been so isolated.
The second was my social worker who had a number she was holding for me for if I decided to leave.
If I had a friend who I thought was in an abusive relationship. I would never ever tell her to leave. Leaving is the point you give up on your relationship but I would tell her I am holding the number for women's aid if she ever needed it. .
Finally I would like to end my review on a positive note. Both my son and I are now settled in a new town. We are both happy and slowly building up a network of friends. Leaving my husband is the best decision I have ever made.
I just read someone elses review on domstic violence and it prompted me to tell my own story. The reason being is that they had pointed out that the violence doesnt always have to be physical. The abuse i suffered was emtional from an ex boyfriend.
I was with him for 4 years, and i have to say the first yeat with him was total bliss. He was the most romantic loving guy ever. This must be part of the plan, because i feel in love with him so hard, theres was no way id ever leave him.
After the 1st year he completely changed. He bought us a lovely house to move into, but it was a good hours drive away from anyone at all that i knew, my friends or my family. And i forgot to mention, i had a 2 year old son from a previous relationship. We all moved away from my parents, he was upset as he missed his granny. We soon settled into the house and i made a point of learning to drive but as it turned out, he wanted me to drive so he could go out to nightclubs and he would ring me to drag myself and my son out at 3am to pick him up anytime he wanted.
He began calling me lots of name, telling me i was so fat, and when he saw he eating something when it wasnt meal time hes would snatch them out my hand sneering "no wonder your fat". He would ring me from work and tell me make my dinner bi*ch. He made me lose all confidence. He wouldnt sleep with me, and then he would want to go to bed with me after i had been crying he would say "you look so pretty when your crying" I see now that he really had issues with having power over me. I never went anywhere and i was too ashamed to tell my mum what he was like.
He even began choosing my clothes, so i didnt look like "a tart". One night when he was drunk he told me that the reason he had asked me out was that he heard i had a kid and he knew i was "a sure thing". He even threw kebab meat in my face at a night out while i was crying on the ground after he had been nasty to me again.
I eventually left him when i discovered i was pregnant and when i told him he spat at me to get rid of it, he said he didnt want someone like me to be the mother to his children. I was so devastated and a few days later i lost the baby. Thats when io realised enough was enough, i packed my things and went back to my mum with my son and ive never looked back.
Im now happily married, and my husband is a wonderful stepdad and we also have 2 daughters together now. It just goes to show that you can still be happy after dometic abuse. It took me a long time to get over some of the things he said to me over the years. But im great now and i have a family who love me.
If you think your in an abusive relationship whether it be physical, emotional or sexual, please speak to someone, dont let them drag you further down, you deserve so much more happiness in your life. Never let them win, your stronger than you think!!