Newest Review: ... 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... more
Life with a maniac
Member Name: upsykimsy
Advantages: A lot of life lessons, you can come out of it stronger than before
Disadvantages: Too many to list
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.
Summary: You're not alone.