A glimpse into my story of post-separation coercive emotional and financial abuse, and the effects it can have on parents and children’s mental health – by Growthfulsouls. This post contains references to domestic violence which could be triggering for some readers.
At 22, I was a happy go lucky optimistic single girl with a good job loads of friends and my own apartment. 15 years on with children in tow I’m a shadow of the person I was, now mid 30s I’m trying to take control back of my life and remember who I am. I thought I was brave when I made the decision to end the relationship with my ex-partner, but it soon became clear it wasn’t a decision I was going to be allowed to make.
So when people say “why didn’t she just leave?” – it really is not that simple when you are entangled with someone who is consumed with the need to dominate.
3 years ago, when I instigated the split I never imagined the abuse would be 100 times worse after splitting. Instead of sitting down and discussing the split amicably, to make things as calm as possible for our 2 young children, he refused point blank to discuss anything as usual it was his way or no way and he began the stonewalling and giving me the silent treatment – which was something I’d had to tolerate for many years. This reign of terror for control and power over my life has been relentless. Since splitting with him three years on I now suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. He abandoned the joint tenancy, choosing to just disappear, and refused to talk about anything amicable. The only talking he did was to tell me to do as I was told and gave death threats. He left me trying to keep a roof over the children’s heads, facing eviction, while he stayed in a hotel.
I had no clue I was being abused as he had never hit me – I thought only physical was abuse.
I didn’t know at the time what this is (coercive, financial, separation abuse) but I had no clue I was being abused as he had never hit me – I thought only physical was abuse. He then went further and sabotaged my business, stole all my stock and put it in storage – he said I could not have it back till I did as I was told, and I had no way of even paying the rent or providing food for the children at this point. During all this I was trying to keep calm for my young children and make out everything was fine, I was also in shock myself and I didn’t know where to turn for help. I kept thinking “he isn’t hitting me so no one is going to care”, and eventually I developed anxiety from the constant stress I was under. This is something I’d never suffered from before.
He would disappear for months, refusing point blank to arrange contact. His excuse was he wasn’t going to be a babysitter and didn’t want to talk to me after what I had done to him – which was that Id chosen to split up. months would go by and he would randomly reappear after we had established peace threatening to take me to court for fun he said. This was a tactic he had used before, and didn’t even turn up on the day – causing emotional stress. He seems to have found a loophole with this and his money; he can pay lawyers and pretend he has been prevented from seeing his children. I’m aware this seems to be a common tactic that’s became more and more frequent so now as well as financially, emotionally and physically caring for small children and myself I was now been dragged to court – having to relive the nightmare over and over.
…even though they might not be touching you the abuse is very real.
He has threatened my life more times than I can remember in front of my children too causing my children to have anxiety – I’ve even put a lock on my letter box – this type of abuse torments your mind you live in constant fear of what if which in turn creates anxiety and panic disorders as you try and look normal on the outside, holding everything together, even though they might not be touching you the abuse is very real. He continues to lie his way through the family court paying thousands with all our lives still on hold, not able to move on in limbo. Another year of my children’s childhood is gone while he keeps his power and control over our lives.
Please don’t suffer in silence like I did for the first few years of separation.
There are lots of agencies out there to support us, and it’s so important to tell our stories of all types of abuse. This need to be exposed and we must raise awareness – we need to tell our stories and expose emotional coercive financial abuse.
Growthfulsouls is a lifestyle blog with a twist I set it up to spread awareness and highlight all types of domestic abuse with facts, as I don’t want any man woman or child to go through any form of abuse. I tell my personal story of coercive financial and emotional Domestic abuse with parenting tips the ups and downs, effects of mental health, physical health and family dynamics, tactics and red flags with a dose of beauty, fun, and lifestyle thrown in. Find out how to become a thriver free from abuse in your mind body and soul at www.growthfulsouls.com
Need Help? If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge offers information and support on 0808 2000 247 . If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
What does a healthy relationship look like? Read about healthy relationships and some of the key traits of a relationship free from abuse – whether physical, emotional, financial or otherwise. There are no excuses for any form of domestic violence.
TAKE THE PLEDGE: Add your photo to the UK SAYS NO MORE Gallery and let’s take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. #TogetherWeCan