This post was written by All of the No. Below, going into honest details, she takes us through the various ways in which her ex-partner subjected her to an abusive relationship.
Until now I’ve been a little vague of what happened and how it affected me. I think I was still hiding. So here it is. I was with someone who would tell me how amazing they were, which I admired. I’ve never had that confidence to openly say what I can do, and to share who I am. This lack of confidence straight away gave him an upper hand. From there it went downhill.
How I dressed, my hair, how I smelt, all of it. With him telling me how good I looked so I listened and did. That’s my self-confidence letting me down. I just wanted to feel good.
That’s always been a difficult one. We clash. My ex utilised that and drove a wedge in there, making comments like “you’re just like them” or “I don’t like you after you’ve been with your family”. In turn I stopped really seeing them, that was an easy one for him to control.
He didn’t like any of them and found a problem with every single one. He made it an issue whenever I saw them and would message the whole time I was out. Yet, I was NOT to message him when he went out. He wouldn’t come and meet half my friends either, and didn’t like me talking to them around him, heaven forbid if I communicated with anyone on my social media. If you were male and spoke to me that was a big no, no!
He always wanted to know where I was and when I went anywhere. I admit that I would ask him when he’d be home, which I felt was normal, but then I wasn’t allowed to do that; yet he would sulk and strop if I was late or if I didn’t know the exact times. But he shrouded this in “I just want to know you’re safe” lies!
He is image focused. Everything has to be a label or a brand. I earned twice what he did and somehow he worked out I should pay £500 towards our living costs directly to him. Our flat cost £450, tax was £125 – and I already paid the electricity and food bills. He was living for free! I felt bad as maybe my earning emasculated him, but he was happy when he had money. We didn’t argue. I chose the easier path and just kept quiet.
Every argument he would threaten to leave. The one time I stood up and started packing, he changed his tone pretty quick. Usually he would get aggressive, loud and up close, or stand in front of an exit. He would damage possessions. He threw a chair “in my direction” (i.e. at me), thankfully the door frame was in the way. He threw whole shelves full of items, smashed speakers. These possessions were always mine and never his though. We’ve been nose to nose before, there was a time where I was adamant I would stand my ground with him.
Every argument, every issue, every time anything didn’t go quite right – it was my fault. It’s my fault there wasn’t as much money saved, it’s my fault when things were missing, lost or forgotten, it’s my fault if anything got damaged or broken. It was my fault every time he cheated, lost his temper or felt low.
I wanted a family. He would say things to me like how I’d be a rubbish parent. He would compare our home to everyone else’s alllllll the time! He wouldn’t help but would moan if things weren’t how he wanted. Saying things like, if I couldn’t live to his standards then how could I care for a child? I’d like to point out I’m clean! I tidy, I clean, I cook. My home is a home. It’s not perfect but it’s not a pit either. My friends can come by whenever they want. OK, it might need a hoover, but that’s it.
Oh my god these were a joke. I would have to ‘manage’ him. No one around him such as his friends or family felt able to say anything to upset him due to how bad these tantrums were. I was the only one who even attempted it. There was genuinely a vibe of ‘don’t upset him’. People were scared to deal with him. I thought I was managing it but, in reality, I was just taking on more problems so that he didn’t have to, so that we could keep the temper at peace.
All of this over 7+ years just made me feel I was never good enough. That I really was the problem. With all these things in your ear, month after month, you may stop hearing the actual words – but it never changes the feelings you get.
My turning point and my escape route happened when my nan passed. He and I had already been separated for a few months, but he kept calling me back. I went to see him the weekend before nan passed and found condoms and viagra on his bedside table. This confirmed he was playing games with me and I knew I wasn’t going back into that mess again. A day later, my nan passed. That evening, I was at home alone and everything hit me, it was like an emotional hurricane; and I came crashing down. I remember sitting in the shower just crying uncontrollably. And where was he? He was just around the corner visiting a friend in hospital with their family. He knew my nan had passed, he knew I was alone, and he just went home. He left me, totally alone and broken. That was it. Enough was enough. I haven’t seen him for more than an hour or since.
I think the worst part of all is that he has no idea. He would never realise anything which he did was abusive. He knows the cheating and lies are wrong but would never understand the abusive elements. The damage that this realisation would do to him, would destroy him and even now that is not what I would wish for anyone.
My story is about showing others what happened me and that there is life after, and a good life after. I hit rock bottom but gave myself a chance to reset.
This account is unique but the methods in which perpetrators use to control are not. The isolation, the financial abuse, the breaking down of self esteem, the changing rules, the irrational attribution of responsibility all become impossible. Friends and family may find ways to minimise the perpetrator’s behaviour and you may feel like you cannot share your feelings around their behaviour with anyone.
Visit the UK SAYS NO MORE website to find out more about how you can help someone who has experienced domestic abuse and resources on the types of support available. You can also download the free Bright Sky App for more information for yourself and/or someone you know who has experienced domestic abuse.