You want to steer, I’m shifting gear

Looking back on my extremely toxic relationship, I can now quite clearly see it was all about control – him controlling me.

Before I met him, life was fantastic, I had a wonderful journey of my life in front of me but in the blink of an eye everything changed.

I was no longer in control of my life, my thoughts, feelings and aspirations no longer mattered – let’s face it, I didn’t matter either, well not to him anyway.  To him I was just a possession, something for him to control on his demand and disposal.

Before I met him, I was confident and knew my own sense of direction but it felt as though he came long and mocked everything out of me, he ridiculed my beliefs and humiliated me at every opportunity knowing the love I had for him would allow me to forgive him over and over again.

The love I had been surrounded with all my life by my parents suddenly ripped away from me as though it shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

I had met this person who piece by piece destroyed me completely, crushed me physically and psychologically in such a powerful and clever way it made me believe he loved me.

Everything he said to me was like a dagger in my heart, his words were so powerful and left their mark in a way that I soon started to lose self belief in myself.

I was suddenly living in a world that just no longer made sense to me, where a mother acknowledged and knew her son was so abusive but never told him any different.

It soon became normal for me that if I dared speak to anyone of the opposite sex, irrelevant of who it was, I would be accused of having an affair, made to feel so guilty that just making eye contact with them was something sinister.  In the end, I learned it was easier for me to walk around with my heart bowed down rather than making eye contact with anyone at all.

That’s the thing about living with an abuser, you might learn the hard way but you certainly learn quickly.  Little tell tale signs that he was pissed off, such as his foot tapping, were indications of abuse that was about to happen.  No matter what others thought, I never provoked him, ever.  It was as though this gush of anger lived inside him and the only way it would erupt was if he lashed out – at me.

Living with an abuser is a rollercoaster or emotions and it’s not easy to identify that you are in a relationship with an abuser.  They are so charming and loveable, until the mask starts to slip off and when their true identity is finally revealed, you are just so crushed, wore down and have no energy whatsoever and have no idea which way to turn, you just feel so lost and empty.

Over a period of time and without acknowledgement, simply acceptance, you have been brainwashed, controlled and manipulated by someone who claims to love you.  Whilst you try to digest all of this, the guilt, anger and blame kicks in too.  It’s a whole whirlpool of emotions and understanding which just feels so surreal and difficult to comprehend or understand.

Three years I was in a relationship with him for and he wanted to steer me in only the directions he wanted me to go, but the time came for me to shift the gear.  It didn’t come easy but almost 12 months after becoming a mum, things changed, I changed and he noticed that – and hated it.  He must have felt that gear shifting.

Of course he loved it when he was in control but hated it when those roles reversed.

 

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You leave because theres nothing keeping you there

Love comes in all shapes and sizes the same as perpetrators.  The honeymoon period is the same for both too and dangerously difficult to differentiate the two.

 

It’s all new and exciting to begin with and you really can’t get enough of each other but in a toxic relationship you could say you are groupe to make it easier to be abused.  When friend and family notice a difference in you, you simply brush it off, defiant that everything is absolutely fine, how you and your relationship is perfect and how you won’t hear a bad word said against your partner because they are simply the best.

You believe that, you want that to be true, you tell yourself that but deep, deep down you know it isn’t true.

 

Something tells you that when they tell you not to see your family tonight, that it’s wrong and it shouldn’t be that way but because you love them and want them to love you, tonight is the night you miss going to see your family and the next night you don’t see them until you can’t even remember the last time when you did see them.

 

You feel so frustrated because it seems as though your life is completely changing but your partners’ life stays exactly how they want it to be.

 

Over time you lose your identity to simply become the cook, the maid, the prisoner.  You lose your sense of belonging, just existing rather than living.  You wake up telling yourself, today will be better, always giving them a second chance but that change doesn’t come.

 

Working things out in your mind makes you feel as though you are on a roundabout just going round in circles, you want to stay because you love them, you want to leave because you know it’s wrong but who will listen to you, let alone believe you.

 

You’ve left a thousand times in your mind but you haven’t even left.

 

If only you could see yourself from the outside in, then you would know that you have to leave because nothing is keeping you there.

 

Take a step back, just one and look at the compliments he isn’t paying you, how many times has he told you he loves you, when was the last time he joined in with a conversation with you and your friends or told you to give your mum a call.  When was the last time you work up and didn’t have to walk on egg shells or when you didn’t go to bed wondering if you would wake up the next morning?

 

Can you see the last time you went out with your friends without having to reply to a million text messages or the last time you were allowed to the shop alone without being called, asking who you were with.

 

How many times have you wore your favourite outfits without them ridiculing you, why have you stopped wearing makeup and when was the last time you had a cosy night in without any abuse to follow?

 

Inside that relationship you can see nothing more than your abuser allows you to see but outside you can see everything so crystal clear.

 

They build you up, put you on a pedestal, promising you the moon and stars in return for them to abuse you whilst making our to the work they are the perfect partner.  You feel exhausted from pretending they are that perfect partner.

 

This is how abusers reel us in, make us feel loved with their charm and hurt us with their control.  With no on understanding this complex cycle, it leaves us feeling lonely and isolated, as though we are an outcast in our own community.

 

It often feels as though we are losing a battle within our own mind because we don’t really know what is happening to us or why, we put up with it in the hope it will stop soon.

 

Sometimes we might feel a little brave and tell ourselves that today is the day that we are going to leave but then one hundred million reasons to stay will pop up in our mind, making us stay for another day.

 

We tell ourselves we might as well stay because if we report it, they will deny it, no one will believe me or they won’t be punished anyway so what’s the point, I’ll stay.

 

The relationship you are in is packed full of problems yet your abuser has made you completely reliant upon them and with their wonderful words meeting with your ears, you give them another chance and another.

 

All this is part of the complex cycle, the mix of emotions, the not knowing, should I stay or should I go, that is difficult to comprehend.  With abuse all around you, it’s suffocating but leaving is the most refreshing feeling ever.

 

Blame

I was the much awaited daughter of my parents and on Friday 18th April 1980 everyone on that ward knew my Momma Bear had me.  The house we lived in together was filled with so much love and happiness; I was so rich in love!   Random conversations, giggles of laughter and huge on tap, pretty much summed up my childhood.

One thing I have learned since becoming a survivor of domestic abuse is it is so much easier for society to victim blame rather than understanding that domestic abuse happens because perpetrators choose to abuse.

My parents married and started their family young, something the didn’t want for me.  I was too career minded for that!  They were the strongest couple I know and I’m not saying there weren’t any cracks in their marriage but they held them together so well, I didn’t see any of them.

Even now, I get offended when I am asked about my childhood, as though it’s acceptable that I was a victim of domestic abuse if I witnessed it at home.  This question make it sound as though the abusive relationship I was once in was my parents fault.  No, it wasn’t.  When I am asked why didn’t you just leave, it’s someone blaming me for staying and not blaming my abuser for their behaviour.

Blaming behaviour helps no one other than allowing the abuser to carry on abusing.  Such behaviour is as equally as damaging as the abuse itself. In the fact that seeds of doubt are planted into the minds of victims, blaming themselves prevents them from speaking out and stops them from leaving the abusive relationship, therefore, endangering them further.

Words are so very powerful and as equally dangerous too – especially to anyone living with an abuser, this is why society as a whole needs to be educated about the complex cycle.

There is never an excuse to abuse – ever, however, an abuser will always blame their behaviour onto someone or something else rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

Living inside a tangled web of lies and abuse is never an easy situation to be in yet everyone else feels if they blame everyone that surrounds domestic abuse it justified such behaviour somehow.  It doesn’t.  Declaring that a victim is responsible for another person’s actions and to hold them accountable for such action is deadly because it gives the abuser the green light to carry on.

 

Waking up full of fear

Living with my abuser always meant that no two days were ever the same.  Challenging, you could say the relationship was very challenging, goal posts continually moved and so many bombs dropped and eruptions here, there and everywhere, happening for reasons completely unknown to me.

We were living in the same flat, as a couple but the lives we were living were so far apart it was unreal.  It felt as though i was living in the middle of someone else’s nightmare, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t escape.

This toxic relationship would leave me going to bed at night wondering if I would actually wake up in the morning and when I did wake up I wasn’t sure if it was more despair than anything; waking up to a day of not knowing what would happen to me.

In this relationship it was as though I was walking around blind folded being lead around by this personal controlling me, him telling me which was to go but me knowing whichever way we went together, I would never, ever be safe.

Sometimes I just couldn’t wait for him to leave the flat and to leave me alone, but then I would worry when hearing the key in the door, wondering what would happen next.  As soon as he was inside, I had to watch out for those eggshells and hope I didn’t crack any.

Beer and food seemed to put him in his happy place but then again it could always set off fireworks too – there really wasn’t much in between, but on most days the fear of God was put into me.

Looking back now, I would often ask him the most bizarre questions but in that particular situation, I was keeping myself safe, well trying.  “Will you have sex with me tonight”, I would ask him because I thought it was what he wanted but little di I know that question gave him the curiosity to think I was having an affair.

I quickly learned that if I was doing things “that women should be doing” such as cooking and cleaning, he was okay with me.  As long as everything was his way, things seemed fine.  He was so dominating and a real believe of women belong in the kitchen and men should be in the pub but as soon as they come home, food should be on the table for them.

I guess, in time, I just did what I was expected to do, anything for a quiet life.  I would be on auto pilot as I cleaned the flat, even though it was already spotless.  I just wanted to be busy and not abused, sometimes it would be okay and other times it wouldn’t be.

I would often go to bed, lying there, thinking how I could escape but waking up in the morning, I would give him just one more chance.  One more chance always lead onto me staying longer that I really wanted too and then me feeling so frustrated with myself for staying.  It was a mix of so many emotions, a real mixed bag of highs and low, more lows than high.

Some days it would feel as though I was fighting a constant battle with my own thoughts and feelings as well as dealing with everything he was throwing at me.

Each morning I would open my eyes and sigh to myself – I was still here with him and I was still alive.  Then the fear of my existence would rip through my body.

To him, it was as though I didn’t exist, just there for him to abuse.

The kiss of death

Our eyes met across the crowded room and from that moment on I was absolutely smitten with this guy.  With every look I got, I got lost in his eyes and whenever our lips locked I crumbled and melted, full of love for him.

He always knew the right words to say and how to make me feel loved; his arms were so strong as they wrapped themselves around me, making me feel safe.

Naively I thought he loved me too but little did I know he was abusing me, taking me away from my support network through isolation, piece by piece changing me with his control, stripping me of my identity.   Ridiculing me of my dreams, crushing my career and humiliating me as an individual, were just a few of his abusive techniques during our relationship but his cleverness disguised his control as care.

I often wondered what was going through his mind whenever he was quiet, just his silence would fill me with dread and fear.  At least when he was shouting I knew!

Kissing me was supposed to fill me with love but it never did, it made me doubt and question myself so many times.  Why was he even with me, did he really love me or was he kissing me to kiss all the hurt and pain he was causing me, was his kiss a way of telling me he was cheating on me?  How could a kiss turn into something so complex!  Maybe it was his seal of approval, telling me I was the one he had the right to abuse because I was his now.  Was he kissing my life away or planning his next barrage of abuse toward me.

We could sit next to each other on the settee, snuggled up together and still an overwhelming feeling of fear would rip through my body.  I loved this man, yet I feared him.

I always tried so hard to not rock the boat or tip him over the edge but no matter how hard I tried, something would always sway that boat over.  It was as though he couldn’t live with things going well in his life and if we were happy for a couple of days he would have to change that.  It felt as though he didn’t want to be happy or felt that he couldn’t be and covering everything in abuse was the way he could cope with life.

Whatever game he was playing put me in danger, yet I was blinded by his life, if that was love he was showing me.  Everything was so confusing but it felt like a huge whirlwind that I was living in and I just couldn’t see a way out.  The force of his abuse was so strong and holding me back.

Kissing him, I felt nothing but love for him; I slept, ate and drank him in every single day.  Whenever we were apart my mind swam with thoughts of him, what’s he doing, who is he with.  Looking back how, that wasn’t me loving him that was my mind telling me something wasn’t right with the relationship I was in.  My mind was saying, you know he is with someone else right now but you had better get home, get his food ready for when he gets home and tell him you stayed home all day or you’ll pay for it even though he is the one cheating on you.  He knows you love him too much to leave, he’ll tell you he’s sorry and you’ll forgive him.

I was wore down, beaten and drained by this man who treated me so cruelly yet he was so powerful he could make me stay, when mind was trying to tell me this the whole time but I wasn’t strong enough to listen.

My once bubbly personality no longer existed and was shattered, I was now a former shadow of who I used to be, so quite, withdrawn and naive.  The one person who would always stand up for her friend in their hour of need but when it came to myself, I just couldn’t do it.

During those three years, anyone of those days could have quite easily have been my very last.

Childs Play

Domestic abuse has a substantial effect on family members, especially children, with each unique child responding differently to the abuse.

When living with an abuser you genuinely love them and will do all you come to love them, stay with them and change them.  The same way they gain and maintain their power and control over you is as powerful as you loving them.

Coercive control and physical abuse drains and changes you, it takes away your logic and common sense.  He could tell me the grass was blue and the sky green and I would believe him, so when he showered me with comments of what a good mum I would be, I took this as him wanting to be parents, in the hope that it would child him.  I was oblivious that us having a child together was extra ammunition for him to abuse me further.

I’m not sure if it was intentional for him to plant this seed in my mind, but he did and I wanted nothing more than to have a baby with him.  I guess, deep down, I thought it would make him love me more, make our relationship much stronger and make us complete.

I remember the disappointment that I felt when I did my first pregnancy test.  Walking out of the toilet and into the living room, telling him it was negative, I burst into tears, thinking I had completely let him down.  Of course, he reassured me I hadn’t but it was too late, I felt as though I had already let him down.

Being pregnant was such an amazing experience and I absolutely loved it.  The feeling was sensational and I was still under the illusion, it would make everything better.

During the course of my pregnancy, sometimes his caring side would show, when I say that I just mean he said a few words that I wanted to hear, but his actions never matched what he said to me.  Maybe it was my motherly instincts as I felt this little human being grow inside my tummy, I knew he or she couldn’t stay in this environment and the life I had lived over the last couple of years just wasn’t safe enough for someone so precious as my child.

I was quite prepared with baby items as we stood at the counter in the store and the cashier had scanned all the items I had brought, he suddenly said “Oh I’ve forgotten something” he turned around and picked up two bibs with a “Dad” slogan on each.  Standing with a huge smile on his face with his huge contribution, I was horrified – that was all he ever brought.

He would still come home in the early hours of the morning, playing his music loud and expecting food to be cooked as soon as he demanded it.

Being pregnant didn’t change a thing.  Trying to rest was no option for me, even swollen hands and feet didn’t make him go any easier on me.  Having blood in my urine didn’t make me stop and think, especially when he told me his mum said it’s nothing to worry about because his sister had it when she was pregnant and she was fine.

He would moan if I left the pub early, even when his mum would remind him, well she is pregnant – and my punishment from him would be him staying out all night with the girl he had blatantly been flirting with all night.

I loved nothing more than sitting on the settee or lying in the bath, hands on my belly, singing to my unborn baby.

One day we were both sitting watching TV, my two hands were placed neatly on my bump and baby was happily kicking away, I quickly grabbed his hand and put it on my rounded belly when suddenly the baby stopped kicking.  His hand stayed where it was for a while but there was no more kicking.  When he moved his hands, the kicking started all over again.

He was never a hands on dad and seemed to find everything a chore, always saying I made him bathe her, feed her, clothe her but the only thing he really liked doing was getting her out of her cot in the morning, holding her for a while before spending the day in the pub.

The one time he bathed her, his choice I didn’t tell him too, he said I was wrong in making him do it because it was wrong for a father to bath their daughter.  He put her little clothes on her the wrong way round the one time he dressed her.  He never fed her, soothed her or really did anything physical with her.

Our relationship lasted just eleven months after her birth and during that time, I had become to fear him so much more than love him.  I thought having a daughter would somehow make him realise his behaviour toward the mother of his child was wrong but he never changed.

After he had split my lip open, I knew I could no longer live with my child in such a hostile environment.  He wasn’t going to change so I had to make that change.

It wasn’t an easy choice for me to make, especially with him constantly telling me I wouldn’t cope without him.  Fear of him taking my daughter way from me ran through my veins but I knew it was  time for me to leave this toxic relationship.

In my arms at the time when he hit me was the most previous thing in my life and this small beautiful bundle of joy had given me so much strength and courage, she was all I needed to do what I should have done three years earlier.

I was full of mixed emotions though because I still wanted her to have her father in her life but I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him, I didn’t want to live with him but I didn’t trust him enough to have contact with her.  I was petrified of the man the professionals were telling me to leave her with, I just couldn’t do it.  I could never have forgiven myself if anything happened to her.  I just wanted to protect her.

His mum had tried to intimidate me a few times with her phone calls of, well contact can take place at my house, but I wasn’t having any of it.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect their next move to be, I have to say their because he was the puppet and his mother was constantly pulling his strings, but when I received a letter from his solicitor, I thought he was going to prove me wrong and be an amazing father but something he had previously said to me stuck in my mind – I’m going to instruct a solicitor to tell you what to do.  Not really the right words to come from someone who wanted to see his daughter.  His words were just telling me how he was going to use our daughter as a weapon to control me.

Of course, the solicitors he had instructed – 3 in total – and Judges didn’t see this as control and I was simply told, Judges like dad’s to see their children – yes, something I completely agree with, unless the father is a violent alcoholic who could put that child in danger.  I just couldn’t see how a 10 month old having contact with him would benefit her.  She was too young to speak for herself so as her mother, the one to protect her, I said no to contact.

Even in Court his behaviour hadn’t changed like I had hoped it would; being late, if turning up at all, smiling and intimidating when in attendance.  I hated every single second I was in Court, it felt as though I were the one in the wrong, even though I had done nothing wrong, it felt very much as if I had, especially when I had to undertake an alcoholic and substance test as well as a psychological test too – obviously he thrived on instructing his solicitor on that one.  I was prepared to do whatever it took for him to stay away from her, yet it was just a shame he wasn’t prepared to do all he could to see her.

 

 

I thought I could change him

Whenever I looked into his eyes, I just wanted to go swimming to paradise in the deepness of his blue eyes.  I wanted him to wrap his big manly arms around me and tell me how much he really loved me and wanted to be with me.  During our three years together, that day never came, but it didn’t stop me wishing and praying for it.  At the beginning of our relationship I loved him and bedtime for me was the best part of the day because it meant I could be so much closer to him, I guess I was infatuated with him, I had to be up close and person with him, our bodies touching, skin to skin, he made me feel so very safe but at the same time, I was so scared of him, whilst watching what seemed like a little boy lost, in a mans body.

Some days it seemed as though he had the weight of the whole wide world on his shoulders but he never wanted to open up and talk to me.  It was usually someone else’s fault, they had done him wrong, in particular an ex partner or two and they would usually punish him by preventing him from seeing his children.

As he told me his story, inside I vowed to myself I would never be like them and how could they treat him that way.

When he hit me for the first time, he was so full of remorse, he couldn’t stop apologising to me and promising it would never hit me again.  Of course I believed him, why wouldn’t I, I loved him so much and he loved me so why would he want to hurt me again, this was just a one off.

I can’t remember what our conversation was about but I know we were in the bedroom, he grabbed me as I tried to leave and as I turned around he slapped me around my face.  I think my pride and feelings were hurt more than a stinging slap.  I just stood in shock, blinking back my tears.

As quickly as it happened, his promises and apologies came quick and fast, my heart was telling me, aaah look at his face he’s so sorry but my gut was telling me something so very different.  I stayed with him, hoping and praying it would never happen again – but it did.

I left several times – the first time I foolishly thought my actions would have shocked the behaviour out of him.  He always found me and would tell me what I wanted to hear rather than what he meant.  He just wanted to sooth me with words of I love you so I would move back in with him and for a couple of weeks it would feel as though he had changed.

Deep down, I knew I wasn’t his typical type of woman and each day I was with him, I felt lucky he chose me.  At the beginning of our relationship I couldn’t stop smiling or believe he wanted to be with me.  Soon I was eating, sleeping and breathing him – he really was under my skin.

Everyday I tried to do all I could to make him happy; some days I succeeded and others I didn’t.  I quickly learned beer made things better sometimes.

His tipple was usually cider but one night he had been drinking whisky and I saw a different side to him that night.  Up until now he had only every slapped me, tonight I was punched by him.

The next morning he had no recollection of what had happened the night before.  I’m not sure if this was part of his act or he really couldn’t.

Sometimes he would talk to me as though I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and that gave me a little bit of hope that he might just change and I really wanted him to change but more importantly I wanted to be the reason he changed.

He gave me a little bit of hope that he would change but then that complex cycle would simply start all over again.

Looking back, maybe I stayed so I could change him, maybe I found it a challenge or perhaps I felt sorry for him.  I know one thing for sure and that was toward the end of the relationship, I simply feared him.

The reality was, no one could change him, he had to want to change himself but he just didn’t want to do that.

He craved on that power and control, he loved the impact his actions had on me, his sadist behaviours often making me fear for my life.

 

 

 

 

 

Easy to remember but hard to forget

It all happened so very quickly and in the blink of an eye everything changed and two weeks later I moved into his flat.

I lost so much for falling in love with the wrong person and what we had was more of a hardship than anything because it certainly didn’t feel as though we were friends and I had no idea what sort of relationship we were really in.

My life changed completely, whereas his stayed however he wanted it to be.  The hardship for me was I had fallen in love with someone who just didn’t want to love me.  Were we even in a relationship, what was happening between us?  I had nothing to compare it too, so I accepted and tolerated his behaviour toward me.  I was soon to find out that his love was something very different indeed.

There are so many things I remember about you, most of them bad, you are easy to remember and hard to forget.

You were such a cheeky chappie but you thought you were invisible to everyone and everything, as though you were owed so much but in return you thought you had to give nothing back

Life’s Journey

It’s not a race, running toward the finishing line to win the race and start all over again.  Sadly, it’s not that easy, it really isn’t.

So many evil words will be tucked neatly away inside your subconscious mind, popping out every now and then, rising to the surface when you least expect them, with no warning or a clear warning why.

Closure very difficult to find when so many unanswered questions are left behind, leaving you wondering why, time and time again.

You’ll doubt yourself, blame yourself and hate yourself, thinking it’s all your fault, brainwashing and manipulation seeping through your veins as the abusive behaviour comes from the person who claims to love you.

Days will be difficult and nights even darker but the light will shine through for you.

It’s about taking baby steps, one day at a time and at your own pace.  Your recovery journey is as unique and as individual as you.  Only you can, and will do it.

The traumatic experience that you have experienced simply doesn’t leave you but becomes a part of you and you learn how to deal with it because you don’t have any other choice.  Going back won’t change a thing but instead restarting the complex cycle all over again.

Isolation might still play a huge part in you life but it can be filled with whatever you want to fill it with.  You can be in control of your own life all over again.

Temptation needs to be completely pushed aside, listen to your gut it will be true to you, unlike your head and heart.  The false promises of, it’ll never happen again and the untruth in the words I love you when spoken, are empty words said in the hope to lure you back into the arms of your abuser.  It changes nothing, not who they are or what they do.  For a second or two it might change your perception of them, until the abuse starts all over again, and again, and again and again.

It might leave you feeling dishevelled about yourself, having your self worth sucked out of you feeling as though you can’t cope without the influence of your abuser, that’s their manipulation overpowering you.

When you leave, you might feel as though you are living in the unknown, not knowing what will happen next but your abuser is being proven wrong – you can and you will live and survive without your abuser because you are so much stronger than you think.

Insecurities live deep inside your abuser because that is what they are, which is why their abusive behaviour makes you feel that way, so they can feel better about themselves.

People, such as your friends and family, really do love you but you are led to believe the exact opposite so that the ripple effect is you relying completely upon them – as though you owe them everything – including your life.

You might feel empty from time to time, complicating thoughts eating away at you, thinking about the whys and what if’s.

You have been moulded into someone you aren’t, a person you don’t want to be or even like, but because you love your abuser, you do what you have to do for them to love you.

You might feel as though you still love your abuser, but ask yourself, is it love or fear.  Don’t be impressed by their superior personality and pretend words of promises to change.

Fragments of domestic abuse can exist in our life as you choose to leave the abuse behind you but it is achievable to survive.

You have no knowledge of your future other than taking one day at a time.  You have a long journey ahead of you, a journey of a thousand miles starting right at your feet.  It’s about focusing on you, who you are and where you want to be.

 

 

Professionals treat you different, depending on the crime!

Professionals treat you differently depending on the crime

I used to be a Legal Secretary before I met my now ex deceased abusers and life back then was very different to when I was a victim of domestic abuse.

Always suited and booted, I loved work and the people I worked with.  I was part of a team, people spoke to me with respect and they liked me for who I was.  Deadlines were a huge part of my job and I loved nothing more than beating the clock to get my work done.

Solicitors, Fee Earners and Paralegals would talk to me as if I were one of them, not as if I were beneath them.

From an early age I knew that I wanted to work in an office but not sure in which capacity.  I soon found my feet as Conveyancing Secretary, answering the phone, relaying messages and typing up important documents really were my thing, I loved the whole package.

As a young 19 year old, I was a bubbly and confident person, full of smiles and passion in all that I d did.  Nothing faxed me and more importantly I loved life and all that it had to offer.

So many professionals crossed my path as I lived with my abuser; housing, police, legal, judges and I had never felt so judged in all my life.

I desperately wanted to leave and move from the matrimonial home I had once shared with my ex but at the same time I wanted to be near my family for moral support.  With low self esteem, I went to my local housing office and explained my situation.  At this point, I was looking for a flat in the local town centre, after telling the adviser I wanted this location because I had family living there, my reply was quite shocking and completely unnecessary.  She blatantly laughed at me, telling me there was no way I would ever get a council house and my only option was to move into a woman’s refuge for at least 6 months and then after that time, I might be considered for a council house.

When I first got with my partner, I moved into his flat, I did move into a refuge once but he found me and persuaded me to go back home with him, which I did.  After I had my Tegan, I stayed with my parents for a short time and then saved for a deposit and then moved into a privately rented house, which was in my name – to help keep me safe and if anything happened, I could kick him our if needed but at least Tegan and I would still have a roof over our head.

The tears pricked my eyes and the water trickled down my face as this professional sat in front of me, laughing.  It wasn’t just the fact that this woman was telling me I couldn’t move or get a council house – which in fact, I had never even asked for – what hurt more was she knew my situation, that I had experienced domestic abuse, I was a mother to a newborn and how I was petrified of the man that I once loved, her laughter was simply mocking my life.

It hurt, the fact I finally had the confidence not only to speak out but to ask for help too, only to be ridiculed.  I didn’t ask the council for help again as a victim of domestic abuse.

My next experience with my local council was quite a few years later when our home had been broken into.  I had been split up from my ex part for about 8 years or so at this point and Tegan and I were living in a Housing Association house in a deprived area.  We were staying at my parents that weekend, it was my birthday and I had a voicemail on my phone from WMP explaining what had happened.

They had ransacked Tegan’s bedroom and taken most of her electrical goods – probably for quick cash – the break in effected Tegan quite badly and I knew we had to move but I wasn’t sure how.  I couldn’t afford another deposit for a private tenancy and there was no way the council would give us a house.

A Chief Superintendant came to see me when our home was broken into, he stayed a while, asking me questions and reassuring me all would be done to catch those who had done this to us, although he had a good idea who the criminal was who had committed this crime.

The Superintendant told me all the precautions that would be put in place for my daughter and I, including a door chain to help keep us safe.  He told me that Tegan and I were classed as vulnerable because it was just us two living together.  This planted a seed and it made me think about visiting the local council but without really getting my hope us.

The woman I met couldn’t have been nicer to me; she was so nice and helpful.  Before I knew it, I was registered with the local council and I could bit on properties.  Less than a month later I had a council house.

I couldn’t believe the difference in how I was treated, depending on which crime I was a victim of.  Even though the Police were well aware of whom my abuser was, his background and capability, they never offered to put safety precautions in place for me.  Nor was I classed as vulnerable but instead judged on whom I was and why I stayed rather than being helped to leave.  Police suggesting I move or leave but no steps taken to put me near family to support me.

As a victim of domestic abuse I was judged and when I really needed help, there was no one to hand.