He never made me feel like a woman and all I really wanted from him to love me like a woman.
You could say this was my first real relationshipp in the fact that I left home and moved into his flat with him, two weeks after meeting him.
He was 9 years older than me and someone who I thought was way out of my league. I guess it was his “badboy” image that attracted me to him, his scars and tattoos.
I think him being that little bit older than me made me think that he would care and protect me. I didn’t realise he saw love in a completely different way to how I did.
My 8 week counselling sessions revealed how he never made me feel like a woman. He never complimented me on anything, he didn’t tell me I looked nice and even when we had sex he made me feel worthless.
I think I really craved his attention and love. Looking back I was always looking for his approval of everything. That is still something that is still a part of me today, I need to know what I am doing in my life is okay, it’s right. He programmed me into not believing in myself anymore, again, this is something that still lives with me today.
Anxiety is one consequence that I have to deal with, as part of the aftermath of domestic abuse.
All too often people think you have left the relationship and everything is now perfectly fine. It really doesn’t work that way.
Life continues for the abuser but survivors we have to adapt, a lot.
We don’t always go back to that bubbly person and we might be completely different now too. This is hard for us and also our families too.
Once I left the relationship, I didn’t really think too much about what I had been through and I probably pushed everything to the back of my mind, not the best coping mechanism but the one I thought was best for me.
I didn’t realise this until I had my counselling sessions and things came to light that I had never thought about before. Maybe I was too scared to think about them before but now felt the right time for me to open up.
It felt quiet liberating to talk to someone who didn’t judge me, who listened to every word I had to say and who helped me see things differently, which in turn has helped my healing process.
I found myself talking about how he never made me feel like a real woman and I repeated this over many of my sessions. My self-esteem, confidence and worth had been shattered probably because of his behaviour toward me and yes, almost 12 years later it is still having an impact.
We all want compliments from our partner to help us feel good about ourselves but living with an abuser we get the opposite. Yet they still make us feel as though we are loved.
I was constantly compared to other women and at the time, like most of what happened during that relationship, I simply accepted it without realising he was grniding me down.
I never knew there would be a long-lasting impact on me as a survivor.