What is domestic abuse?
Physical, mental, financial, sexual, coercive. In the majority of cases by a partner, but it can also be by a family member. The perpetrators are most commonly men to women, but that doesn’t disregard the fact that men can also be victims of domestic abuse.
In relation to my own experience, I am writing about a male being the perpetrator and a female (me) being the victim.
Did you know that every 6 seconds a woman is a victim of domestic abuse in the UK and every 6 seconds there is a report to the police. I find this so upsetting.
I never, ever, ever thought I would be in the situation that I was in. I was always so independent, headstrong, ambitious, yet I was intimidated, degraded and isolated every single day. However, it was so easy to normalise everything. So easy to believe it was all my fault. I mean, when you are told every single day how shit you are, how much you are hated – you believe it. Then you start to worry about your own words, how you act, every single thing you do, in case it brings on an attack.
On the outside I looked like I had my life together, but I really didn’t – but I am getting better, and writing helps me try and understand what has happened to me.
When I met my ex-partner, it was amazing. It was fun, exciting and I thought I had found someone who loved me, for me. But very slowly he started to bring me down – where I didn’t even notice! It gradually got worse and worse. I didn’t go out as much, but when I did, I would have the comments of “be good”, “don’t talk to any boys”. I never would cheat and I never gave him any reason to think I would do – so I would always reassure him about everything. Then it would just get too much, so I felt I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t see my friends and I could hardly see my family. I felt I had no one. I was scared to leave.
Then I found out I was pregnant.
I am not going to go into details here, but I was scared. Scared of what would happen. I thought maybe it would get better, especially finding out I was expecting triplets, but it got worse, so much worse.
I really didn’t think he would be violent with me. I thought it would just be everything else. How wrong was I.
It happened all of a sudden. No warning. No argument. Nothing. It just happened. And though I had been scared before, I had never been afraid for my life until that point.
Why do people abuse? Due to mental issues? Drugs? Alcohol? Work? You would think it would be all these things – but these are all excuses. The only reason people abuse is because they want power. They want control.
That is a narcissists dream.
I googled what a narcissist is and this is a short list of what came up:
- Grandiose sense of self-importance.
- Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur.
- Needs constant praise and admiration.
- Sense of entitlement.
- Exploits others without guilt or shame.
- Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.
Now I am recovering from what happened to me and I really look into everything, I just want to scream at my old self of “why didn’t I spot it?”, “why didn’t I leave?” But they are the questions all victims get asked. As it is like it is their fault – “well, you know there is a problem, why even stay in that?!” But it isn’t that easy. Firstly, you always think it will get better. Oh, he has mental health issues, if he gets help, he will stop taking it out on me – WRONG! That is just an excuse that so many people, unfortunately, play on! So many people suffer from mental health issues, but they don’t go around attacking people, do they?!
And I tried to leave. So many times. But then it would get bad.
The violence was escalating. The mental torture was escalating. My debt was (and now is) through the roof and now I am scared of how I can get through it all.
To wake up every single day and be scared about how the day will pan out. Will today be a good day? When it seemed that way, it was so easy to forget, but it would always go bad.
I was on maternity leave with premature triplets, trapped in my house and I didn’t see anyone. My friends hardly came around, and when they did, they couldn’t stay long. My sister never even came to my house!
I couldn’t even have my own access to my car and because of him my car insurance is insanely high. Again, I am not going into too many details here, but it is hard, it is absolutely heartbreaking looking at what has happened to me.
I thought the only way I was ever getting out was in a coffin. I just kept thinking about my death and what would happen to my babies, when I should have been having the time of my life on maternity leave.
The violence got worse. One night I truly thought it was the end. The threat of him taking my children was the worst. Worse than anything he did to me. But I knew I couldn’t die. I needed to fight to get my babies safe. They needed me.
Then I finally found the evidence I needed to get out. His affair. Which I had known about since the beginning, but again, when I asked – when I had other evidence, he would get really angry and violent with me.
I knew that was my window out and I had to take it, but I had to be careful. He got into my face and was angry when I brought it up, shouting at me. So I knew I had to play it differently. I said that I knew, it was fine, we aren’t happy anyway. I am such a shit liar, as you can just tell on my face straight away and I could see him studying me to see if what I was saying was the truth. It worked.
I was free.
Or so I thought.
The violence got worse and we weren’t even together. I knew I was forever going to be trapped.
He even kept saying to me, “Don’t ruin it for me!!!”
I knew I needed help. He would turn up at my house for stupid reasons, at really odd times of the night, still threaten me with my children, still attack me, still mentally abuse me.
I got help. I was so scared. Looking back to the start of the year, I can’t believe how I was. How this was my life.
He is on bail for a long list of things – yet denies everything. The other woman, I thank for saving my life, as she was my reason for finally getting out. But it was my doctor who truly saved me.
Now I suffer really badly with anxiety and PTSD. When I am out driving I am so vigilant of everything around me. I lost my house. It wasn’t safe to go back and I was homeless for months with three babies. But I was safe, they were safe. They couldn’t be in an environment like that. That is not a life I want for them. They need to be safe and I will do everything to keep them safe and happy.
The other woman left a 19 year relationship, 4 years of marriage and two children aged under 5 to be with him. When I found out (without a doubt), of course I was upset and angry – but only because of the way he treated me while all the time he was having an affair. The times I tried to leave and couldn’t. It was all about control and power.
I am working to get my strength back, to get me back. It is hard, but the more I talk, the safer I am. When I couldn’t have my voice, I wasn’t safe. Also, my writing is my outlet, how I can try and even make some sort of sense of it all.
Please, if you have any doubts about your partner, talk to someone. Talking saved me. But even then I was too scared, but I couldn’t hide my bruises.
You are strong, you can do this. I can do this. I am doing this.