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Posted 16/5/2021

When I was handed that questionnaire (I now believe it to be a Women's Aid questionnaire) I blinked away the tears because it was at that very moment I learned how controlled I had been for the last 3 years.  


As I sat in the chair, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with so many different emotions.  I was angry; angry at myself and others around me, those who must have heard my screams, shouts and cries night after night but instead they chose to stand by and do nothing at all.  I was angry with myself for loving him.  I felt embarrassed that I didn't understand what was happening to me, embarrassed for not speaking out sooner, embarrassed for being in this position.  I also felt frightened because I didn't know what was going to happen next.


I'd shared a flat with a person who had verbally threatened me throughout the whole of our 3 year relationship.  Threatened to phone social services and have our daughter taken away from me because I was a shit mother.  When I did leave him - and go back - he would cut up my clothes and sell my belongings as a punishment.  He would constantly bombard me with calls and text messages demanding to know where I was, who I was with and what I had said to them, whenever I was allowed shopping alone.  If I didn't reply in a certain amount of time, his mum would text me telling me how much he loved me and not to leave him because he was a good lad really.


He'd manipulated me, monitored my movements and controlled me, all whilst sharing a flat together and now I was going to leave him; I had absolutely no idea what was ahead of me.


I knew I had a very important job to do and that was to be a mother to my 10-month-old daughter, and to protect her.  I knew what I had to do but not only was he under my skin, he was still living inside my mind.


At every slight noise I heard I jumped out of my skin, whenever I went out I was constantly looking over my shoulder.  I stopped buying myself clothes because whatever I wore when i was with him, I was a fucking slag, a tramp or just looking for attention from other men.  I wouldn't go out with friends when invited because not only was I petrified of bumping into him, his words were still inside my head, you're only going out to get fucked.  I lost the inability to make a decision because I was always frightened of the consequences if I made the wrong decision.  I didn't know how to hold a conversation any more.  I couldn't even make eye contact with them because if I made eye contact with anyone I was accused of having an affair with them.


I became defensive, I still am, because that's my safety mechanism now.  My barriers ae always down and I never, ever show anyone my true feelings.


For me, these are just some of the aftermath of surviving domestic abuse because it never really leaves you and no-one prepares you for life after domestic abuse.


When I met my ex perpetrator I was a Legal Secretary but because I had my confidence knocked out of me, literally, it took me years to find employment again.  Your self confidence, esteem and worth is knocked out of you and it's not easy to put back together.


In your existence with your perpetrator they are clever manipulators, they make it feel as though they are the only person in the world, whilst they subtly cut you off from your friends and family , whilst declaring it's your friends and family who hate you.  You lose so many relationships along the way too; friends no knowing what's happening an you not understanding what is happening to you is a crime, it's not normal and should never be tolerated.


There's so much emphasis on the victim to escape their abuser but no-one tells you what rocky journey lies ahead and no-one is their to guide you.


You say no contact to keep your child safe from the very person that almost killed you, only to be ordered to attend court for a plan to be put in place that will suit the perpetrator, with all instructions being instructed by the perpetrator - still doing all they can to gain and maintain that power and control! 


People and professionals demanding to know why you stayed, why you didn't just leave, why you didn't change your number or why you didn't move area.  Victim blaming you when you are at rock bottom without them realising they are justifying everything your perpetrator ever said to you, making your own self-doubt linger.


Even after escaping, things still revolve around your perpetrator; well you must have said or done something to provoke them, oh but they seemed such a nice person, are you sure?  Yeah, they might have done that to you but they are still a great parent.


Everything is about the perpetrator.  Everything.


No one gives a second thought to the survivor, no-one stops to think about the things they have gone through, seen or heard, things that will not only stay with them but will have a huge impact on their life in moving forward.


No-one tells you how hard it is, how there will be bad and good days, how even though you might think you are moving forward with your life until, bam, along comes a trigger and you have absolutely no idea how to deal with it.


It's one of the longest - and can be the loneliest - journey you can take but rewarding at the same time.


Little things suddenly seem big to you, you notice things that perhaps you never did before and you see life in a completely different light.


Domestic abuse changes you as a person and certainly makes you stronger.