What’s the point in leaving?

I’m just not prepared, physically or mentally, I don’t have anywhere to go, and I don’t even have any money of my own.

It’s so hard to leave everything behind, the home, yes I know it hasn’t always been a safe haven or a happy place, but there have been a few happy times here and I don’t want to let go of those memories yet.

Things might change, it could be tomorrow and I have to give him one more chance.  What sort of partner would I be if I didn’t believe him when he tells me he loves me and he will change?  I’ve got to believe him.

I’ll have to start all over again and learn to live on my own, how can I do that when he has been my rock for so long, the one who has always been there for me when friends and family haven’t been.  If I leave, I’ll be completely on my own.

If I leave, my children will be taken away from me because it would be me splitting up the family and I know he loves the kids, I can’t take that away from him.  He’s a good dad. The kids love him too.  I won’t be the one splitting this family up.

My job gives me a little bit of freedom but if I leave now, I’ll lose my job.

Being here with him I know what’s coming, little tell tale signs like a clenched fist or a tapping foot but if I leave, I won’t know what know anything.  He knows where I work, he knows the route I take and he knows what time lunch is, I would have to change all that and plus, I’m scared of what he’ll do to me if I leave.  I know he’ll find me and who knows what he will do to me.

It’s just easier if I stay. I can keep him happier here which means; the happier he is the less likely I am to be abused.  People keep saying, just leave but they don’t know what that really entails.  You wouldn’t just up and leave your home and relationship, would you?

What about the kids and my pets, I could never leave those behind, the threats he has made to both, I just know he would carry them out if I ever dared to leave and then it would be my fault, like he always said.

Constantly walking on eggshells is just part of my daily life now, something I have to accept and learn how to live with, I just have to accept it.

No one will believe me anyway, the Police won’t, they will just send me back home because the refuges are full or because he hasn’t really hurt me – they can’t see the invisible pain that I carry around with me every single day of my life, if only domestic abuse was as simply as “just a black eye”.  Do we have to walk around with scars showing before help is given, can’t people see that the invisible scars are just how cleaver perpetrators really are?

I don’t just leave because it’s impossible.  When do I leave?  I can’t do it when he is at work, he phones the landline everyday at a certain time and if I don’t answer, well, there’s another excuse for a beating.  I have to take his lunch to him, at 1, then he phones me at 1.30 at home and sometimes he phones me on the landline just before he leaves work to come home, so I can’t leave then.

I can just leave in the middle of the night, every time I move in the bed, he puts his arm around me and pulls me closer to him.  If the children wake up and I go into them, I can’t tell them, come on lets go, he has the baby monitor on and can hear every word I say.

Sometimes he gets one of his family members to call round to see how I am, if I wasn’t at home when they came round, they would report straight back to him.

He’s always calling me at work, any random time, telling the boss how much he misses me.  Imagine I’m not at work when he calls.  I know what he’s capable of, I know what he could do to me and I know he would, if I ever left him.

Treading on eggshells everyday and constantly looking over my shoulder if I left?  It’s just easier to stay at home.   He would call and text me all the time, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to just ignore him, no, I’m not, I couldn’t do that.  He would send his sister round to tell me how much he loves me and I would fall for it.  Flowers would be sent to work with caring cards for all to see how much he loves me and I would be seen as the bad one.

What’s the point in leaving when he is in complete control and will harass and stalk my every movement?  He’s already told me he will kill me if I dare to leave, so what’s the point in leaving?

 

Please help me get through it

Love can be rare and precious and no matter what, you want to do the very best you can for your partner.  When they are sad, you want to make them happy, when they are feeling ill, you want to make them feel better and when they are crying.

You want nothing more than to believe them when they tell you they will change, they didn’t mean it and they love you, taking in a deep sigh you give them just one more chance not knowing that you are giving them the green light to carry on abusing you, you just want to give them the benefit of the doubt because you want nothing more for them to change, for you.  Deep down, you know that won’t happen but you pray so hard that it will that you believe what they say to you and for a while, things might seem as though they have changed, but in reality, they haven’t.

Perpetrators have such a clever way of being manipulative and devious at the same time as showing love whilst constantly victim blaming in such a way that you start to believe them.  They love nothing more than turning the tables around and blaming everyone else but themselves for their actions.

“I can do this, I can change, I know I can, please help me, I can’t do it without you”

They just say what they think we want them to say, they don’t mean what they are saying, their actions tell us that but we don’t see it at the time because all we really want is for them to change because we love them so much.  So we give in and say, I’ll help you; again, another green light to carry on with the abuse.

Knowing they are under our skin, in our mind and heart, they know which buttons to press because they have moulded us into the exact person they want to control.

They want us to help them get through it because they don’t want to lose the control and power they have over us.

Please consider this a verbal warning

Working can be escapism for a few hours, well it can stop the physical abuse anyway but it doesn’t make the abuse stop, far from it.

Those experiencing financial abuse won’t see much, if any, of their wages, their perpetrator will take full control of it more than likely saying they will pay the bills, the rent, or the mortgage only to be spending it in other ways.

Some perpetrators will constantly call you or text you at work, conveniently be at the place where you are at lunch with your colleagues and have to pick you up from work every single night and then accuse you of cheating with every male person in the building, irrelevant of whom they are.

You might manage to wake up and get yourself to work but that doesn’t stop the impact of the abuse affecting you.  People at work might notice a difference in you, your time keeping skills might be slacking or they might notice an issue with your performance.  There might be opportunities when they ask you, is everything ok at home but you might not want to open up to them at that particular moment in time but wish you had as they have never asked since.

Being called into the office might make you feel inferior, the way it does at home, and without even realising it, your supervisor is suddenly making you feel the exact same way as your partner does and you feel you have no other option but to sit there and accept and take the verbal warning that you have been given.

How can you tell them what is going home, when your partner phones every lunchtime to “see how you are”, how they fetch you from work every evening or make the effort to come to every work do to see the people you work with.  They see the caring partner whilst you are living with the controlling perpetrator but there is no point saying anything because you won’t be believed.

You go home and tell your perpetrator about the verbal warning and this just gives them complete satisfaction because they know this is because of how they are treating you at home, it’s having an impact on your job, your career and your independence and before soon, you could be unemployed.  Then you under house surveillance at home and it gives them the perfect opportunity to psychologically abuse you again, telling you how useless you are because you “can’t even keep a job”.

To your supervisor, it’s just a verbal warning, but to you it’s much more than that, your safety net is slowly disappearing and you feel caught in the middle and trapped from speaking out because no one will believe you so you accept the verbal warning and mentally prepare yourself for the abuse you will get when you are back at home.

A perpetrator is always in control and always one step ahead, knowing what consequences their actions will have.

I said she’s with me

I used to love my weekends out and for me, the best thing was getting ready, choosing my favourite outfit whilst dancing around the bedroom to my tunes before going to the my local pub to meet my friends.  Sometimes it felt as though it took me longer to get ready then it did to go out but either way, I loved it! Wearing your favourite outfit gave you that little extra confidence and made you feel good, just what you needed for a good night out.

Being in a relationship, I didn’t think this would change but it did and looking back it happened in a way that I didn’t realise at the time.

I guess you could say, it started off subtly, and I remember one night (early on in the relationship) I was going out with one of my friends and when he saw what I was going out in, he said I was only dressed like that to draw attention to myself. I didn’t think anything of it and still went out but that night I was bombarded with text messages, I couldn’t relax or even enjoy the night.  The texts were revolving around him and his feelings of how he was home alone and it wasn’t right that I was out and he wasn’t.  I was accused of all sorts of things.  In time, I learned that it was just better to stay at home, easier, anything for a quite life, I’d do anything not to make him hate me so much.

Although, when he went out with his friends, I was the one who stood and ironed his clothes whilst he covered himself with his favourite aftershave.  Whenever he went out and I tried calling him, his phone would be switched offer or, on the odd occasion, one of his ex girlfriends would answer and when he came home, if at all, he would revel in delight telling me about this girl and that girl eyeing him all night but of course, he never did anything with her because he loves me so much and would never dream of cheating on me.

Whenever I left (and went back) he would rip up my clothes, cut them and ruin them or sell them, even my perfume.  It was as though, he could have me but no one else could, I couldn’t make eye contact with any male at all yet he could do whatever he wanted.

I remember one night when we were sitting in the pub, the door opened and in walked a cyclist.  He was wearing tight white lycra shorts and he went straight over to the bar and just happened to be standing right in front of where we were sitting.  He was right in front of us, my eyes just happen to be at the front of my head, but I didn’t realise that I shouldn’t have even been looking in his direction at all!  Yet on another occasion, he was at the bar with a woman, laughing and joking all night, probably at my expense the amount of times they both looked my way and then burst out laughing.

He was still in contact with many of his ex partners and one night, there was a knock at the door and it was her, he let her in of course because he knew she still had strong feelings for him.  I was shocked that night because he kissed me, touched me and told me he loved me, things he didn’t really do often and never in front of others, of course, that was him being in control, making her feel bad and me feel good but in a manipulative and calculating way, knowing exactly what he was doing the whole time.  He always said, if I ever meet anyone like my mum, I’ll marry her, and he always said this to me in front of his ex partners.  Now I know it was psychological abuse because he was telling me what I wanted to hear and making them feel bad about themselves in front of me because the whole time he was having sleeping with them behind my back.

One night I came home drunk, and a guy I had known for quite a number of years gave me a lift him.  Little did I know that my ex would come down to great him with a baseball bat in his hand!  Admittedly I was intoxicated so can’t really remember much about it, only what I was told the next day.  My knickers were wet and he had to take them off and he was just so horrible about the guy who brought me home, sort of sneering at me about the type of man I could pull and then he gloated when he said, I soon told him you were with me, he didn’t like that.

Looking back, there were so many things that just don’t add up but when you love someone you don’t see it at the time.  He was always in control and he knew how much I loved him, so that was his ammunition to treat me however he wanted.

Whenever he introduced me to his male friends, I was always accused of fancying them and when he was introduced to my friends he blatantly flirted with them right in front of my face.  If he liked a woman, he didn’t care who was there he would flirt.

One rule for him and another for me, then the next day the goalposts would be moved further and further away.  I thought he loved me but really he was just treating me like a possession, not a person.

 

But I don’t want to report it to the Police

Some days you wake up and feel as though today will be the day, that you will make that leap or perhaps you won’t have to because today is the day they will change for you, after all, they did promise. Or maybe you wake up thinking, today I have to report it, I will, I will.  But when it comes to it you don’t have the courage to do so, not because you don’t want too but because you can’t.

Sometimes you think you are the only person in the whole wide world who is suffering or you tolerate such behaviour because you think it is acceptable, normal and what all relationships must be like, so you stay, suffer in silence and don’t speak out.

You feel that the Police won’t understand you, that you are wasting their time as you don’t have any physical marks on your body or they simply won’t believe you.  Going to the Police would just make the whole situation ten times worse, so what’s the point, you may as well just stay as you are.  If you do make that call, your perpetrator won’t make it easy for you to leave, they will make it all out to be your fault, they will blame everything on you, they will make out that they are the victim and that you are the perpetrator, they will twist everything around and even if you do leave, they will beg you to go back and you will, maybe 3 or 4 times because that’s part of the cycle.  Can anyone else really understand the complex cycle of the crime domestic abuse?  No of course not, unless they have survived it themselves.

Saying nothing often seems the better option, perhaps it is short term but long term you have got to leave because it won’t get any better, they won’t change, they won’t stop treating you this way and they will always do it again.

During the darkest of days when you really cannot see a way out, when that light at the end of the tunnel seems ridiculously far away and when you are isolated from friends, family and your life you will realise that this isn’t love, this isn’t even care, it’s about power and control.   There will be days when you feel exhausted, mentally and physically where you think you are the only one and there is just no way out but there is.

When leaving an abusive relationship, it’s something that you can’t just do, if you do, it can leave you vulnerable, more so than ever.  Leaving for the long term, you have to plan it and that takes time.  Thorough the brainwashing and the manipulation of your perpetrator, your emotions, feelings and thoughts will be all over the place, and that is normal because what you have experienced has been traumatic!  You might be doubting yourself about leaving, thinking, it’s easier if I stay, but the reality is, it isn’t.  Feeling scared of the unknown and fearing the reprocautions are natural thoughts, yes it is hard to leave everything behind and having to start all over again but removing yourself from the immediate danger, creating distance between you both and asking for help, gets you that one step closer to freedom, and life.

Take little steps now to help make the leaps and bounds later, get things in place by planning and preparing for your future.   Putting a safety plan together won’t escalate the risk and trying to prevent the immediate risk is vital.

There are other steps you can take, if you feel it’s not the right time for you to report it to the Police but don’t ever be frightened to speak out because being abused is not love, it’s a crime.  Reporting it and withdrawing your statement is part of the cycle, it causes frustration for the authorities as they don’t understand the situation you are in, society thinks you can just leave, when it really is not that simple.

People feel judged when reporting that the person they love is hurting them in a way that doesn’t make sense when they tell you all the time that they love you; their actions just don’t seem to match their words. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, perpetrators choose to abuse, people don’t choose to be abused.

It’s difficult to report it to the Police when you can’t come to terms with what has happened to you, when you have no self confidence left inside and when you have been completely isolated from everyone but your perpetrator, it’s difficult to talk about what they have done to you because they have been the one you have leaned on for so long.  We don’t see that as manipulation, as part of the cycle, it’s control.  We think it’s not abuse because they haven’t physically hurt us and what’s the point in reporting it when you don’t have any visible injuries to show but it IS important to report it.  That portfolio of evidence has got to be built up and the only person who can do that, is you.

You feel as though you are reliving your experience time and time again when you report it, but you have to in order to move forward, it can be difficult but you must never go back to what once broke you.  Speaking out gives you the opportunity to live.

 

When does love become abuse?

Taking an interest in your friends but suddenly finding yourself in a position of choosing between your partner and them.

Spending time with your family and them been made to feel guilty about spending time with them and not your partner.

Having a job but regularly being accused of having an affair with your boss.

Your appearance slowly changing dramatically through humiliation, being brainwashed into believe you are fat, ugly and useless.

Being monitored with every move you make, bombarded with calls and steps stalked yet being told it’s because you are loved not that you are being controlled.

Talking to friends and family quickly turned into something sinister, wearing the wrong clothes, saying the wrong thing and doing the wrong thing.  Suddenly frightened to wake up or even going to sleep, scared of falling off the tightrope and landing on the eggshells that lay below your feet.

Your life no longer feels like your own, you don’t even feel like living, just existing for someone else.  The once charming partner that you first met now seems controlling, telling you who you can and cannot see what you can and cannot do, where you can and cannot go.

Everything in their life that goes wrong all becomes your fault.  Their life stays the same yet yours completely changes, just the way they want it too.

Your thoughts, feelings and needs no longer matter, just as long as they are happy.  Your aims, aspirations and views are no longer a part of you, just mocked and ridiculed.

Things can move far too quickly too, whether it’s moving in together, getting married or having a baby – none of which will ever actually change your partners behaviour.  The charming character can seem to fade into darkness with subtle control coming to the forefront of the relationship.  Doubt will be filling your mind as you simply accept and tolerate this behaviour believing they really do love you but having no idea that you are being abused.  You will brush it off as abuse because you aren’t physically being hurt.  When you dare to mention their behaviour, you are told it’s in your head, you imagined it or it was your fault.  You are brainwashed into believing this and drip fed these words every single day and you start living in denial.

You can’t help who you fall in love with but your abuser chooses to abuse and it’s nothing to do with anything you do or say, it’s about them and who they are.  Take away their control and power and they aren’t anything at all but at the time, they give the impression that they are someone inferior when the reality is, they are insecure and lonely themselves but feel in control and power when stripping a person they claim to love of their self esteem and worth, making them feel better about themselves.

Love becomes abuse when the abuser knows they can do it without being caught, when they know they can do it right under the nose of others but without others seeing it as abuse.  Love becomes abuse when the abuse shows no physical scars, when the butterflies of love at the pit of your stomach becomes fear of the unknown.

It takes a long time to learn to differentiate the difference between love and abuse and when it is acknowledge, you are in so deep, it’s not so simple to just leave.  You have mixed emotions, denial, fear – so many emotions embedded inside you that you don’t know which way to turn.  You try and speak out but don’t know who will listen to you, let alone understand you, so you suffer in silence, you put up with it for one more day, hoping that tomorrow things will change; but tomorrow never comes, just the complex cycle of abuse spiralling out of control with you in the middle, not knowing which way to turn.

Abuse happens in the blink of an eye and a long time before it becomes physical, if it does become physical.  It’s about power and control and love should be about neither of those two things.