Cannabis and control

When talking about domestic abuse, we often relate it with alcohol or substances, when the bottom line is, there is never an excuse.

A marijuana user, for example, would probably feel withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug, similarly like an alcoholic, so team that with a perpetrator and that right there is a dangerous combination.

It becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug, even though it interferes with many aspects of their life.

A user will usually be irritable, restless with mood/sleep difficulties without their fix but these can also describe a perpetrators characteristic so, if they are experiencing this as well as their controlling behaviour, life for their partner is going to be increasingly difficult, and, indeed dangerous.

Smoking such substances almost triples the chance of developing psychotic symptom including manic depression which teamed with a perpetrators characteristic, is deadly.

Maybe, both the perpetrator and partner smoke it but for two very different reasons.  It could certainly block things out for the partner yet increase the control in the perpetrator?

It is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain.  Some of the affects can lead to the user being anxious, suspicious and paranoid; again, the same characteristics of a perpetrator.

No one really knows the reasons why people start smoking substances but it is never an excuse to abuse.  An affect of both parties smoking could be; what are the consequences of them being high at the same time?

Could the perpetrator beat their partner without recognition, how would they know what they are doing without being in control?

People might think and believe it is harmless and “just a relaxant” but is the concoction more than that?  Can there be an increase in abuse because of the substance or would both parties be so completely relaxed nothing would happen?

Perpetrators who use it, do they lose control and partner who take it, do they do so to block everything out as a form of escapism.  Either way, it doesn’t make it right.

The dangers of such drug can include hallucination, altering your senses – the perfect excuse to continually commit a crime of not only smoking an illegal substance but domestic abuse too.

Employees Encouragement

Domestic abuse is persistent and become a part of you when you leave.  For many, it leaves utter disruption to their lives, causing nothing but chaos and catastrophe.

Some lose their jobs whilst others loose themselves in their work as they feel it becomes their safe haven.  Not everyone has the confidence to speak to their line manager and if they did, what support could actually be offered? Line managers will, no doubt, see a drastic change in employees affected by domestic abuse but would they know how to approach and deal with the situation?

 

The early warning signs aren’t easy to spot, so training is paramount for line mangers to be well equipped in identifying staff that are being abused at home.

 

Domestic abuse doesn’t happen 9-5 Monday to Friday; it is a continual rollercoaster of a ride.  Supporting those affected by domestic abuse doesn’t just stay with the Police to help keep people safe, it lies with us all.  We can all do our bit.

 

Working, a job, a career is not only a lifeline to so many but a financial stability too and without this security there might be no other option but to stay within the relationship and with the perpetrator.

 

A clear strategy is a must so too is an effective action plan to thoroughly support that person through the transition of leaving the hands of the abuser.

 

With no self confidence, esteem or worth, negative support can have detrimental effects.

 

I lost my job as a Legal Secretary, I tried to explain to my boss, but he just was not interested at all.

 

Encouragement is needed in the workplace to offer support to employees experiencing domestic abuse.  A workplace is a safe haven for many and with the right support, a way of leaving the abusive relationship, safely.

A change is as good as a rest!

Talking about it is a good way forward but what we really need now is complete change.  You could say, we have talked the talk, now lets walk the walk.  People no longer want to hear, we will learn from this, what they really want is the gaps in service providers and from professionals, filled.  Far too many innocent people have been murdered, didn’t get Justice and families have never had closure.

 

Will we ever really see that change?

 

I had amazing support from WMP, Surestart and a refuge but now look what is happening, less Police Officers, Surestarts shutting and refuges closing, how on earth does that help anyone other than the perpetrator?

 

I had limited support and after that you are basically on your own.  It became difficult at night, being a new mum in a new area, it was lonely.  I know, absolutely categorically, I was one the lucky ones but there are so many who aren’t.

 

With more acid attacks on the rise, an increase in repeat offenders being jailed and so many more innocent children being murdered, there is a definite need for a constructive change.  Now.

 

In the 21st century and we are living in an age where professionals still do not understand the characteristics of a perpetrator and what lengths they really will go to in order to gain and maintain that power and control.

 

It is absolutely vital that mandatory training is given to all professionals.  Introducing new laws is ridiculous when so many are already in place but are not strong enough to actually keep people safe.  Safeguarding issues must be followed up and acted upon, there are people’s lives at risk.

 

If things don’t improve, it will just get words.  It’s as simple as that.

 

Advocates and campaigners can only do so much, it’s time the Government stepped up to the mark to give real change to those who deserve it.

How do you dismantle the charm

The charm and charisma just oozed from him.  That bad boy image tattoos and scars to match.  He was everything in a man, a man who I didn’t think would ever look twice at me let alone take me to bed, ask me to move in with him two weeks later and have a child with.

 

I was career minded and he was, well he was him.  A guy, who didn’t work, had his own flat but relied so much on his mother.  I guess you could say I was obsessed with this figure who, I didn’t think would ever look twice at me, even though I had spent most of the night staring at him, thinking I want him.  And then I learned how you should always be careful what you wish for.

 

But when he was nice he was really nice but when he was bad, he was really bad.  I can count on one hand the number of good days we had but the sad thing is, it’s only the bad memories of him that stay stored in my mind.

 

We could never walk down the street without someone saying hello to him or stopping for a 10 minute conversation with him, always praising him up, telling me what a good guy he was.  He would smile at them; it was so convincing that I believed it myself.  Whenever we are in the pub, there would always be drinks for him because he knew so many people that would buy him one or two. He would revel in the fact that he knew so many people and how they all respected him.  At first, I believed that but were they scared of him also?

 

The only woman in his life he cherished was his Mother, she was his world, his idol and he would always tell me that if he ever met a woman like her, he would marry her.  That day never came.

 

He would do odd jobs for the lady next door, do his Mothers garden, help someone, anyone and would be deemed as the charming partner.  But they didn’t really see the side that I went back to every single night.  The cold and emptiness that his eyes showed, the second his fists clenched and his foot tapped as he was looking out of the window and how he would look at me and verbally abuse me in a way that he made it sound like he actually cared and loved me.

 

Every day I longed for him to touch me, hold me, caress me and then he made me feel like I was the only girl in the world and then on the other hand, he would make me feel so utterly worthless.  I didn’t understand how someone could love a person yet treat them so cruelly.  Sometimes I was showed off like a prize possession and then back home ridiculed and put down like I was nothing and no one, like I didn’t matter.

 

He lived in a mindful of sadness and there were times I felt sorry for him, those were the long nights where we would stay up for hours and hours and I, guess you could say, I felt more like his counsellor than his partner.  I would listen to him telling me about this one thing that happened to him as a young child and how from that point on he started drinking, not to access then but it did become that way and that’s when I knew, he had become this person because of what happened to him but that didn’t give him the right to treat me the way he did.  All I wanted to do was help and love him, but it just wasn’t good enough.

 

There was a 9 year age difference between us but that never bothered either of us to be honest, age is just a number but in some ways you could say he was a protective partner with a theory of “these women, who have had something happen to them, just come to me.  It’s as though I’m meant to help them” I never really knew what that meant, but he was always telling me how this partner and that partner had something happen to them and he was, basically, there knight in shining armour (or maybe idiot in tin foil).  Obviously looking back now, that was part of his characteristic but in that situation, and being told the same thing over and over again, the waterworks and how he came across made me fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

 

The charm was given right from the beginning and I guess he charmed me by telling me he loved me, how he’d never met anyone like me and how he liked me a lot; they were just the words I wanted to hear.  He knew what to say and when to say it; he knew how to press my buttons.

 

It was difficult to know how to dismantle the charm because that’s exactly what I thought it was; charm not control.  He had this way of making everything out to be as though it were for my own good, my best interest at heart, that type of thing but the reality is, it never was.

 

Perpetrators are so clever in the way they treat us, it’s often too late before we realise how they are treating us and how damaging it truly is.

It isn’t because you are a woman

Love is blind and blinding.  Falling in love is not a crime, abuse is.  Being a part of a broken relationship is hard to realise because it creeps up on you and you rationalise things on the basis that, it will get better.

A relaxing bubble is created that you fall back into but where is the line?  You are scared, defenceless and powerless every single day as you are controlled.  When is that joking behaviour actually turned into humiliation, put me downs and criticisms?  They are spiteful and controlling with the ability of making your blood run cold, even years later.

Degrading rages of the jealous type, in their head you’ve been flirting.  You haven’t and you think a great night has been had by all, until you get home and the frightening switch between caring partner to controlling perpetrator mode is on.  Insanely jealous yet on the other hand they completely put you down.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t occur to you that the person you love, is a perpetrator.

Men don’t report it because of the matcho characteristics, therefore, could you say, it happens to women because they are more vulnerable?

The reality is, domestic abuse happens because perpetrators choose to abuse.  Bullying can be practiced by anyone and abuse happens in so many different forms; fathers practicing FGM on daughters, mothers watching children being abused and children being sexually abused by a “family friend”.

We cannot simply minimize domestic abuse to, it’s all physical and happens only to women, society must see the wider picture and it needs to be dealt with as a whole.

The Dudley Gov UK website tells us that the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2013 reveals that 30% of women and 16.3% of men will experience domestic abuse.  Yes, the higher percentage is for women but we cannot deny the fact that it is happening to men also.

Many are raised in an abusive home and can become defensive against the opposite sex, whilst others mirror and copy the behaviour that they see.  Perpetrators are completely selfish and always put their needs first.  They become self obsessed with themselves, but partners are often told they are over reacting.  It’s all about power and control.  Partners are always apologising yet being constantly criticised and then becoming bewildered by what is actually happen.  You start to tell yourself, that you must try harder as though it is your fault.  Your world is turned upside down because no matter what you do, the goal posts are always moved.

What we must be focusing on, is early prevention, raising awareness of the controlling perpetrator and the caring partner because there is a huge difference between the two. However, we are living in a society where our young people think this is normal behaviour, they don’t know any different and accept and tolerate the controlling partner who checks their phone because they think they are doing it because “they care” they don’t see it as controlling.

Awareness isn’t about telling the bad side of something, it’s about giving information so choices can be made and more importantly, people will know that there are choices and that they are not alone.  We don’t live in a world where Cinderella finds her Prince Charming or even where the Beast finds his Beauty, we live in a world that is cruel and harsh but with early prevention, things could change.  Children and young people, our next generation need to know the difference between right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not.  Mirroring images or copying behaviour isn’t an excuse to abuse, with awareness, education and training society would know what coercive behaviour is and that is not acceptable.

Domestic abuse has nothing to do with masculinity, it’s a way of asserting dominance over their partner and anyone is capable of that.  It knows no boundaries; it doesn’t care about your religion, culture, job title, whether you are famous or not.  It happens to anyone, irrelevant of who they are.  That can also mean, the perpetrator can be anyone too.

 

 

Looking through the window

Looking through the window, I didn’t like what I saw.  My eyes quickly averted to the chair in the corner, the blue material looked so soft and the figure sitting on the chair, was very much childlike, knees pulled right up to the chest, arms around the legs, head bowed down, slow motion; forward and backward.

I couldn’t really hear what was being said but my gut instinct told me that the air matched the colour of the chair.  Slowly I could see the person who was sitting in the chair, slowly raise up their head.  I could just see the outline of them really, body looked so thin and fragile, eyes so dark and empty, just staring forward, not at anything in particular.  Just looking, staring into space, probably wishing they were somewhere else, anywhere but there.  They looked so lost and so afraid.

If I tapped on the window, would that person know I could see what was happening to them and heed my hand for a way out or would they be too proud to even accept the fact that someone cared and knew how they were being treated was wrong.  It was far from love, it was a crime, and they were being abused.  I could see it so clearly, but why couldn’t they.

I could see someone else in the room with them, close to their face; it looked like they were shouting at them.  The person in the chair had tears streaming down their bony cheeks; they just seemed to be taking it all in, absorbing everything around them, accepting everything that was happening to them.

As soon as it started, it seemed as though the situation had calmed down and the two people that I had been watching for the last several minutes, moved from the living room into the bedroom.

I couldn’t really believe my eyes, what I saw in that room seemed so hostile, frightening and scary; it was as though it was acceptable and tolerable to be treated in such a way.  But it isn’t, is it?

It was me sitting in chair being intimidated and verbally abused by the man I loved, and I guess, to a certain degree, that’s why I stayed for so long because I loved him.  At first I did but, in time, the love soon turned into fear but because I was in too deep there was really no way for me to leave.  However, looking through the window at myself now, almost 10 years later, I can vividly see so many times of what he did was wrong and there were many times when I could have left.  But it’s so easy to sit on the fence, look in and judge, isn’t it?

He would never think twice about brining ex partners back the flat, his flat of course, whilst I was at work and leaving huge clues that someone had been there with him, with excuses such as “oh, she just called round for a cup of tea”. I was probably quite naive at this point and far too timid to say anything, plus why would I, I trusted him (big mistake, I know) and after all, a man and woman can just be friends, can’t they?  Her name was scrawled in huge letters across the feature wall in the living room (we were decorating, well, his flat mate was) staring me in the face like so booby prize I had won.  His gloating face should have been a warning sign for me, but it wasn’t, I simply accepted it for what it was, for what he said it was, a friend coming round for a cup of tea.  Yeah, right.

Then there was the time another one of his ex partners came to the flat, she quite clearly hadn’t gotten over him at all, and there was something obvious still happening between them.  That was where he went when it was his pay day; he would go to her flat and drink with her – yes and everything in between.  I remember once, I caught him on the phone to her and simply walked out of the room, without even questioning it.  I vividly remember the night he told me he had been seeing her.  I felt a huge lump rise in the back of my throat and tears stinging the back of my eyes as I sat in that blue chair, with the words “I’ve been seeing ***** behind your back” and what did I do, I accepted it and tolerated it as if this was normal!

Looking through that window, I should have left his sorry ass behind as soon as it happened but I didn’t.  I loved him too much and I really didn’t want to lose him.  His sad face, those puppy dog eyes and the tears, told me he was sorry and he wouldn’t do it again, right?  Of course not, I had just given him the green light to basically do whatever the hell he wanted because I would still be here because I loved him.

He had this way of talking to me as though he was the only person in the whole wide world who would protect me, and when he hugged me I felt so safe yet when he left the flat it was a sigh of relief for me but when he came back, I was petrified and when I was in his arms once again, I felt safe.  It was an emotion of a rollercoaster relationship and I was so scared of getting off.  I wouldn’t have anywhere to go, even though I had two loving parents waiting for me at the safest place on earth but because he had brainwashed me into thinking they didn’t was to see us happy rather than, they want you to go back because they know what he is doing to you.  I didn’t have any money to my name, despite having a few thousand in the bank at the start of the relationship, everything I spent went on food for him to eat, beer for him to drink and presents to keep him happy; when he was happy, he had no reason to abuse me.

Looking back, everything seems so easy, but in that relationship, it’s far from it.  It physically and psychologically drains you because you focus completely on them, you hang on their every word, you have to try and always stay one step ahead, you know those questions of where have you been and who with, are going to come, so after sneaking back from your parents house in the hope that no one saw you, you plan your story of lies of telling them you have been shopping, in the hope you won’t get caught out.  Trying to remember to take your phone off silent in case, deleting your call history and getting rid of text messages; you are erasing your life, everything you are, your friends and family to stay with this one person who you think and believe actually loves you, without even realising they have been abusing you the whole time.  They have isolated you and cut you off from your world, they become your world; you are now just in existence.

Without knowing the facts, looking through the window and judging can be so very easy, many people do it, but it doesn’t help.  Through awareness, education and training, the more people that know about the complex cycle that is domestic abuse, the better for everyone and society as a whole.  You can’t understand it, unless you have been through it.  It’s a relationship of a tangled web of lies and deceit that is easily mistaken for love and care.

 

 

Children are used to gain and maintain power and control

My mum was my best friend and would never, ever see any harm come to me.  When I lived with my ex perpetrator, she tried so damn hard to get me out of the relationship I was in but I was completely under his skin, and no matter what she said or did, I thought I loved him.

During the three years of the relationship I was once in, there was a period of time, regrettably, that I didn’t see my mum as often as I really wanted too.  Calls were monitored, phone was checked and steps watched so it was difficult, but that didn’t necessarily stop me though.  I would have my mobile phone on silent and made sure I deleted my call history, but even so, for me, it was just easier not to contact her.  It hurt.  A lot.  But so did the consequences of my actions, if he ever got wind of it.

I am the long awaited daughter and the youngest too, so my mum and I had a fantastic relationship and an amazing friendship, she was the wind beneath my wings, the best mum and Nan ever.  I remember her telling me, to enjoy every moment with my new born as she would grow up far too quickly.  Of course, I didn’t know she meant this fast!

Looking at my relationship with my own parents makes me feel guilty in some way that I didn’t find a good enough father for my daughter.  That’s something I have to live with.  I don’t dwell on it all the time, but every now and then I think, why did I have to fall in love with him and the reality is, we can’t help who we fall in love with.

People often say, why did you choose to have a baby with him, and now, 10 years down the line when I explain myself, it does sound crazy but in that situation and with coercive control surrounding you, you don’t even know your own mind.  Now to someone who is lucky enough to never have experienced domestic abuse, that sounds strange, but it’s true.

I was in captivated by his every move and word, whatever he said, I hung onto it and absorbed it all, everything about him.  I felt myself tracing the whole of his face with the my eyes all the time, as though I had to see every single line and scar; I drank every inch of him in, hoping it would make him love me the way I loved him but it didn’t.

Taking the pregnancy test that day, I was like a child at Christmas time because I wanted this so bad, but looking back I wanted it for him more so than me because I thought that’s what he wanted, I thought he wanted us to be a family, I thought it would make things better.  It never did.

After having my Tegan, I went to stay at my parents’ home for about 4 months, leaving in the April to live together as a “family” until November.  However, at this point, I was thinking about staying together “for the sake of the family”, my family.  I didn’t want my daughter growing up without a Father, I really wanted her to have what I had but it wasn’t to be.  Again, I prayed every day that he would change, that he would stay at home with us, instead of going to the pub, that he would spend his money on his daughter not beer, that he would want to wake up to the night feed instead of being out all night.  We just didn’t want the same thing at all.  His behaviour and controlling ways didn’t stop or change either.  But the one thing that did change was me and who I was.  I was a mum now with something so tiny and precious to protect.  He noticed this and, of course, turned everything around on me.  It was my fault because I’d changed.  What he really meant was, he didn’t like it now that I was a little bit stronger to actually stand up to him and say something back.

My Tegan is the reason I left.  She saved my life.  It’s as simple as that.

However, it’s not always just that simple for everyone.  Although domestic abuse is the issue that is similar, the actual circumstances are not.

Many parents will stay for the sake of the children others might leave with nothing other than the clothes they are wearing, yet the similarity will be, the perpetrator will use their own children to their advantage to continue to have power and control over their partner.

A perpetrator doesn’t love their child how a normal parent does, we love and protect our children no matter what, often putting their every want and need before our own – this is why many perpetrators detest their own children, because the person they have manipulated and controlled for so long is now that we have someone else to focus all our energy on and this can be something, they don’t like.

I can’t remember seeing my ex perpetrator, bond with his only daughter, sit her on his knee; tell her that he loved her or anything like that at all.  He thought I was being cruel when I asked him to bath and change her because “dads don’t do that to their daughters because it’s morally wrong” – he always had a way of twisting the most innocent thing in the whole wide world, into something so sinister.

Parenthood is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs in the world, not always easy but the best feeling ever, yet, I fail to see how perpetrators – male or female – can be so cruel to their own child.  Abusing their partner in front of their child is cruel because the child won’t see it as manipulation but as something that is acceptable, they won’t understand that they are being used.

Time and time again we see and hear how so many opportunities by agencies and professionals were missed, now this has got to stop because so many innocent children are being killed by this epidemic that society just doesn’t want to understand.

The most important ingredient to any abusive relationship is coercive behaviour and the coercive control that goes unnoticed and what can be easily confused with care and love.  Isolation happens subtly at the beginning of the relationship and then the pattern and frequency of abuse spirals out of control with many not even knowing they are being abused because they aren’t being physically hurt.  This is why awareness, mandatory awareness, is absolutely paramount for society as a whole.

Professionals told me how “Judges like Fathers to see their children” and I was like, well I agree with that but only if the Father is going to be a benefit to them.  Pressure was put on me as a Mother, it didn’t seem as though the abuse I had endured for three years mattered, just as long as I did what the Judge and my perpetrator wanted me to do.  Well, sorry, no, my daughter and her safety come first before anyone and anything.  I stood my ground and refused any contact whatsoever because she was far too young to be left in a room on her own at 10 months old with a “man” who I was completely and utterly petrified off.  What sort of a mother would I have been if I had allowed that to happen?

The sad reality is, there is too much emphasis of children having two parents that we are forgetting the reasons why marriages don’t work, why couples split up and why children are behaving in a certain way.  We blame something else, like computer games or “it’s only what they see at home”, no one is addressing the issue or tacking it and this is where innocent children are completely being let down and this has got to change, sooner rather than later.

When a perpetrator goes through the Family Court, it’s not because they are a doting mother or father, it’s because they want to carry on the manipulation and humiliation, they want to be in control, controlling when they see their child, not listening to the wants or needs of the child, as long as they get what they want.  This isn’t what a doting parent does, this is what a perpetrator will do, they do and get away with it too!

A perpetrator will still move those goalposts when they don’t pay maintenance, when they change the day to see their child and when they don’t send birthday presents.  This is all part of the complex cycle, this behaviour is so they can blame their partner, using their own child to relay messages back and forth, without the child knowing any different.  Coercive control is the most dangerous type of abuse any perpetrator chooses to uses.  It kills.

Baby Talk

Behind the hospital curtain, I lay back in the bed, relaxed, eyes closed and gave a little sigh of relieve, I suddenly felt safe.  I could hear the general chit chat of the other women on the word, the doctors and nurses going about their business, it all felt so very calm.

I had never been in hospital before so I didn’t really know what to expect, I just went with the flow but I felt so incredibly lonely.

I wanted my mum.

As I opened my eyes, he was standing in front of me.  Panic ripped through me.  I didn’t want to shout out or cause a scene but I didn’t want him there either.

His waterworks began as soon as he started talking to me and telling me his, oh woe me stores.  I just didn’t want to be hearing this or listening to him right now.  Now was not the right time yet somehow it was all about him, yet again.

He began verbally abusing me, I felt humiliated and degraded as I lay, helpless in the hospital bed, knowing that everyone around me could hear what was happening to me.

I became distressed, I wanted him to leave, and I didn’t want this anymore.

I had been to my regular check up with my health visitor who just told me to get myself straight to the hospital; I just assumed it was a normal procedure so didn’t ask any questions.  I left the surgery and caught the bus to the hospital.  I phoned him but he was more interested in staying in the pub.  As I sat in the waiting room, surrounded by loved up couples, I felt so pathetic, pregnant and alone!

I still really had no idea why I was here or what was going to happen to me so when the nurse told me I wasn’t going home today, I burst into tears.

The truth was, I hadn’t been looking after myself as well as I should have.  His wants and needs always came first no matter what.  My hands and feet were as huge as balloons and my blood pressure dangerously high.  I had no idea the nose bleeds I had been having, headaches, blurred vision and blood in my urine had anything to do with my pregnancy.

I had pre-eclampsia.

I felt even more humiliated with the nurse gave me a card with a domestic abuse help line on.

I had to have a C-section because although my baby was perfectly fine, I was the problem.  My gorgeous daughter was born two weeks early.

Even during my two week stay in hospital, he was still trying to control me, along with the support of a third party.

I remember after leaving the hospital with my baby, I went back to my parents’ home.  He called, talking softly to me, asking questions, trying to sound caring but as usual everything was about him.  How I never included him in anything during the pregnancy; he never once wanted to come to the scan sessions with me.

He had never been an active biological father, thinking it was far too sinister to bath or dress his only daughter.

Living and loving a perpetrator you do believe that having a baby together might be the one thing that will change them but it changes nothing at all.  Even once they are born they can use them to their advantage.

Having children can also bind the two of you together and give your perpetrator an excuse to continually control you.  Society misunderstands everything completely when perpetrators go through the family courts, they don’t see it as coercive control

Domestic abuse is far from just physical abuse, it goes so much deeper and darker; it is a complex crime and one that needs to be made aware of.  It can leave behind detrimental psychological issues for those who have experienced it but in time you learn to cope with it, it makes you stronger and as a parent you do all you can’t to protect your child, but without aftercare and support it can be difficult.

For me, my daughter made me so much stronger and gave me the courage to leave and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today but not every story has a happy ending.

Should I stay or should I go?

I can’t go!  I just can’t leave!  It’s the only stability I have in my life, the one who is always there for me, always around when needed.  Always with me at my appointments, talking for me too and answering all those awkward questions when I just can’t find my voice. So thoughtful and caring, constantly calling, wanting to know where I am and who I am with.  Without my friends and family around, who else do I have, no, I can’t go!

Something just doesn’t feel right, it’s as though I’m not trusted anymore and I just can’t breathe, I’m suffocated with calls and text messages all of the time, it’s as though my moves are being monitored.  I can’t be out of sight for more than one minute without being accused of something but I’m not doing anything wrong!

How can I go, how can I break up this family, I just can’t do it, it’s not fair on them.  They need me to be here for them.  It would just bring so much shame on our family and I just can’t be held responsible for that!  No, I stand by my marriage vows, for better or worse, I know things have been worse more so than better but all relationships are the same, everyone has ups and downs.  Doors are slammed, things smashed and broken but at lease no one get hurt.  I mean, it’s not as if the kids even see anything, they are always out of the room when things erupt.

I know it’s not right, not right at all.  I know it’s affecting the kids; they can’t sleep with the banging of the doors and the raised voices.  They seem on edge and I am sure they think it’s their fault, but it isn’t.  If I could just take them with me then things would be so very different but where would we go?  We are out in the sticks, so far away from everyone and everything.  There will be a waiting list at the refuge and I’m not sure they would take us all in, 2 daughters, my 13 year old son and our puppy.  We have nowhere to go so it’s just easier to stay.

I can’t leave anyway, I don’t have any money of my own and what I do I have to ask and account for every single penny I spend.  I wouldn’t know how to manage my own money, I haven’t had control of it for so long now, and it’s always looked after for me.  I don’t have to worry about paying bills because it’s all done for me.  Oh don’t get me wrong, everything is in my name, and it’s my money that’s used to pay for the bills but my partner takes care of all of that.  I’ve got used to showing my receipts and purchases now, I know it’s expected of me because I can be selfish sometimes when I buy things for myself.

It’s just so frustrating when I can’t even go to the shop without asking permission and for my own money to go with.  It’s so degrading.  I can’t go, even if I wanted to.  I have no access whatsoever to any money, no money for a taxi or even the bus.  I could walk but have no money for food or anywhere to stay.  It’s just easier to stay here.

I know sometimes I am told I’m fat, ugly and worthless but they are absolutely right, no one else is going to love me how my partner does.  I mean, I am so useless that I can’t even cook a meal to perfection.  In fact, I can’t get anything right and no one else would put up with that.  My appearance would put people off too, I don’t take as much pride in myself nowadays, I just don’t have time, what with making sure the house is gleaming, washing and ironing done to perfection.

Friends I had before don’t bother to visit now, I think they feel embarrassed with the snide comments and remarks made every time I look at them, I am accused of flirting.  We don’t have girly nights out now either, I think they got fed up with my phone constantly ringing, demands to know where I was the unexpected; oh I didn’t know you were here.  It just all got too much for them I think.

If I leave, I have to tell someone what’s been happening to me.  Who do I tell?  Who will believe me?  They always see the caring partner, the one who can’t do any wrong, the one who would do anything for everyone.  My words are always twisted around to bend the truth.  It feels as though I am fighting a losing battle.  There’s just no point.  And what happens if I do leave, I would be found and enticed back with words I want to hear but with actions I don’t want to feel.  It’s like a constant chain around me and I can’t break the cycle.  I feel deflated with all my energy being manipulated around me.  I am physically and psychologically drained.

If I stay I could die and if I leave unprepared it could result in the same way.  Without the safety and security of a safety net I become vulnerable because I will be tracked down until power and control is gained again.

I would leave, if I could.

 

Prevention and intervention from isolation to independance

To help prevent it we need to make awareness of it but the distance from isolation to independence can be a long and rocky road.

We live in a society which finds victim blaming so much easier than acknowledging the fact that domestic abuse is so much more than “just a domestic”, it is a crime that isn’t just a one off incident but one something that increases in frequency and severity.  If this is society’s attitude then what right does it have to judge anyone experiencing living everyday in an abusive relationship?

We seem to be a divided nation even afraid to print the terminology or saying the words and often blaming everyone else other than the perpetrator.  It’s the government, upbringing, poverty, society, when the reality is, it is happening because perpetrators choose to abuse and frightening, and the so called Justice System completely fails those strong enough to speak out.  It is utterly ridiculous.

Encouragement for those to speak out but then what, take away their independence by increasingly isolating them further by taking away every vital lifeline they actually have in escaping the abusive relationship.  How on earth is this fair for thriving survivors?

Lack of awareness, education, support, legal aid, funding and refuges, shows that we as a society are completely giving out the wrong message, it’s like a free for all for perpetrators, giving no confidence whatsoever to those affected to speak out.

Intervention is a valid requirement to help get onto the road to independence, but if no one is listening, hearing, believing or supporting, what realistic option is available to the one wanting to break free?  They cannot do it alone, leaving leaves you exposed and completely vulnerable with your perpetrator still doing all that they can to gain and maintain power and control.  Telling you how they love you, promising to change for you and telling you how they can’t live without you.  All lies to lure you back to their tangled web of deceit.

Intervention is a necessity but one that needs to be done in a way to protect not endanger further.  You can’t decide when to do it; each individual must come forward at their own will.  It takes time and you will get annoyed but its part of the process.

Without awareness, education or training, you can’t possibly understand what it actually feels like to be in love with a perpetrator.  Waking up each day, either hoping today is the day they change or today is the day they will kill you.

The anger, fear and frustration living deep inside your mind, the echoes of their powerful threats rattling around inside your head, making it constantly question yourself as their brainwashing techniques contradicts everything you know and believe to be true.  Courage flourishes from deep inside you and as you speak out, the words are spiralling out of control as they are being twisted so far from the truth you have no idea what’s happening anymore.

It really is a fighting battle, trying to reach to the independence line.  You are fighting with your own demons, fighting against your perpetrator and society too.

It’s mentally draining.

So much more must be done with mandatory being key.  Domestic abuse is something that should never be a part of any man, woman or childs life, it simply should not be accepted as normal because it isn’t.  It is a crime, not love.  Awareness of how dangerous leaving an abusive relationship is as equally important because the abuse doesn’t just stop.  The abuse can quickly turn into death and that is the harsh reality of an issue that society still wants to sweep under the carpet.