Relationships can be hard at the best of times, they take time, dedication, understanding, sprinkled with a hell of a lot of patiences! But in a world where you can filter out the bad times and only show the highlight reel, some can become a place of control, torture and abuse where no one really knows whats going on behind closed doors.
Abuse can show in many forms, for example, being controlling of money. Giving you an allowance that the abusive partner will withdraw at any given time or manipulate to make you feel guilty. Name calling, calling you names that bring you down or make you feel belittled and afraid, Emotional control, placing the blame on you for something that was their fault, making you feel sorry for them when you say you want to leave or they have hurt you in some way, and also Physical and/or Sexual violence which in some cases can lead to rape or murder.
Thankfully new laws have been brought into place meaning it’s not just physical violence that won’t be tolerated anymore! but also psychological. Here is a list of some of the things that is now illegal for a partner to do to you : list here.
Recognising the signs of an abusive relationship is one thing, but how do you leave when you are afraid of what they might do? who do you go too when they have turned you against all your friends and family telling you “We only have each others backs, its me and you against the world!” how do you make that choice to go, when you are now a shell of your former self! Maybe penny-less and with children to support? And how do you build yourself back up when you’re worried about becoming homeless or never being able to recover from the emotional manipulation and physical abuse the partner has left you with.
It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
In a study from 2010 ‘The guardian’ it was reported that more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male- but alot of abuse goes unreported due to the stigma around a man being abused by a woman.
Thankfully, more people are now coming forward and speaking out about their abuse and giving a voice to the abused.
My fellow interviewee today who prefers to remain anonymous has very bravely spoken out and given an interview about the abuse received in what first started as a loving, normal relationship, thankfully, no longer with the abuser, she talks today about how she overcame the abuse and is now in a better place.
So here is an interview with an abuse survivor!
When you first met the abuser, what stood out most about their character?
He came across friendly, funny a bit cheeky but intriguing
How did the abuser pursue you?
He asked me if I could be a rep for some products he was trying to sell for his brand. He contacted me through Instagram, at the beginning he was quite cold in response so I thought nothing of it and wasn’t going to communicate with him again, he then contacted me to say he realised who I was and had other plans for me – meaning he wanted to get to know me on a personal level. I found this a bit strange but he was a bit cheeky in his manner so I laughed it off. I now recognise this as a “red flag”
How long did it take before cracks started to show?
It was very intense from the beginning. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I just thought he really liked me, cracks started to really show after about 2 months! Which was the 1st time he was physical with me! By this point he had already moved himself into my house. Made me feel like this was our life, that he had never felt like this before ect
How did the abuser make you feel on the good days?
The good days were good! We would laugh together. I felt at one, like it was me and him against the world.
How did the abuser make you feel on the bad days?
The bad days out weighed the good, I became a nervous wreck, I lived on my nerves I’d dread a text coming through when I was in work incase he was mad at me or if I did something he didn’t like,I ended up living on my nerves, crying in the shower and then putting on a brave face when I got out to not show I’d been crying.I felt suffocated and trapped.
Did the abuser ever try and control you or any situations?
Always, and you don’t realise when your living it everyday that it’s control, I ended up losing friends because he would make me think that they were no good or that they were fake and not real friends, he also did this about family.
He would try and turn it that I could do better at work or make new friends when really this was just isolating me to get me away from everyone.
Do you think the abuser was ever capable of love?
I believe that he thinks its love, he used to say to me after he had physically attacked me “you know it only happens because I care so much that you get me so mad but it’s just because I care if I didn’t care if just walk away!“
He will never be capable of loving.
What was the breaking point when you knew the relationship had to stop?
A couple of times I tried to get him to leave and he wouldn’t .I became scared in my own house because he became so irrational, I had people texting me telling me that he had been meeting other people and been having people to the house when I was at work, he then attacked me badly in the car ripping my T-shirt off me, bruising all my arms and chest where he had grabbed me, then fractured my wrist! so enough was enough by that point, I just thought what more can he do to hurt me! he abused me mentally and had attacked me multiple times physically, spat at me, pulled my hair, tried to strangle me and much more so I got to a point where I didn’t care what he did I just wanted him out of my life! He had no remorse and threatened to break my other arm because he was losing control, that’s when he became even worse, but he couldn’t get a reaction out of me anymore I just became numb.
What advice would you ever give to someone else who is in a relationship with an abusive partner?
Contact the police, call the FSU (family support unit) these people helped me so so much I don’t know what I would of done without the FSU. She talked me through and made me realise so much. She made me understand and find myself again! It’s not love and you can’t save or change people. Life is worth so much more than waking up to have to live through a day with an abusive partner, a partner should be an equal and want to share life not make your life a living hell and hurt you.
How long did it take you to recover the emotional aftermath of the relationship?
I still struggle some days with the emotional side not because I miss the relationship or him because I don’t. I suffer with anxiety now and i struggle if I’m stressed, I can’t always get my words out when I’m trying to speak or explain things, I’m always apologising for things as well without realising.
It has been 9 months now so it’s still early days and I still keep in touch with my support worker from the FSU she helps me if I’m having a hard time.
How did it effect your work/personal life?
It affected my work massively I ended up having so much time off because I couldn’t concentrate or I’d be in tears feeling trapped living on my nerves not wanting to go home but then dreading getting a message when I was in work, plus the time I had to have off due to my fractured wrist!
Personal life it affected I lost best friends, a few of my close friends also distanced themselves because they didn’t know what to do or how to help anymore because I just started not saying anything plus the person in question also had a go at a couple of them.
Do you think a abusive partner can ever change?
To a certain point yes, I think you can make someone realise what they are doing is wrong and educate them on why they might be that way, but not enough once someone has crossed the line verbally or physically the respect is lost and they will just keep doing it! The majority don’t see it as wrong and think there is a reason the person they do it to deserves it.
How do you think it has changed you as a person?
I lost myself for a while, it’s changed me it’s toughened me and made me notice certain traits in people. Like I said previously I do live on my nerves a lot more now because I don’t want to disappoint or let people down so I constantly apologise for the smallest things.
How has it changed your perspective on life?
It’s made me realise what is important in life and that laughter and finding your own inner strength finding you is all you need anything else is a bonus… but you have to rebuild yourself and find out who you are.
What traits would you warn others to look out for/warning signs?
Intensity- someone who wants to move quickly.
The people that someone surrounds themselves with, if they have no friends or close family why?!
Past – upbringing, any trauma in their upbringing. Can affect how they behave.
Hiding their phone or you or putting too much out there it’s all an act
That is just a few things and that’s not to say any of the above is the same in people or that they are signs to avoid people it’s just things to look out for and question or look into before you invest yourself into someone.
Are there any positives you can take away from the experience?
To know I never want to be in that situation again!
I am who I am today because of things in my life but I have nothing positive from the experience apart from I wouldn’t wish it on anybody else
If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, whether physically,mentally or emotionally, with a partner or maybe even a member of the family, below is a link for helplines to call in the UK to seek help.