Abuse Escalating After the Breakup.

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Leaving an abusive man is not an easy decision.

It is, quite frankly, terrifying. Often, abusers have control of the finances, often the abuse will have been consistent for many years and the victim’s confident will be shot to pieces. It’s never a decision that is taken lightly. Nor is it an accusation that is poorly considered.

Often, women in abusive relationships don’t even realise for a long time that they are being abused. Enlightenment can happen slowly, over a long period of time, or suddenly, perhaps if a friend or a professional points out to them that their partner’s behaviour is abusive. Regularly, in the full knowledge of abuse, women stay, hoping that things will change, that they will be able to talk sense into their abuser. Usually they stay because they are afraid, afraid of being alone, afraid of the consequences if they ever decide to leave, afraid of losing their home, their children, their sanity. It often takes several attempts before a victims plucks up the courage to leave permanently.

You cannot talk sense into an abusive person. They do not and will very rarely admit that they are even abusive. In the end there are two choices, accept it, or leave.

You cannot accept it. There is evidence that abuse only gets worse over time, it is a downward spiral and if you are at a point where you have had enough now, just think how much worse it will be in 6 months, a year, in 5 years?

Leaving, though, is a perilous business. Abuse will almost always escalate at the point of leaving, exposing women and children to frightening levels of vulnerability. An abuser will do everything they can to avoid being ‘outed’ as abusive. They will do increasingly bizarre and often dangerous things to ensure that either she does not leave him, or expose him as the person at fault.

It is, without question, the most dangerous time for victims of abuse. Previously emotional and verbal abusers can suddenly become physical abusers. Women and children are often harmed or even killed because she tried to leave and to stop the abuse.

Abusers bother, harass, intimidate and harangue victims once they have declared the relationship over. They stalk, track and follow their victims. They denigrate the victim’s characters, as outlined here in The Smear Campaign and they use anyone they can… family, friends and even the children to support their version of events.

They use child access arrangements to maintain control, they use the handover time as an excuse to harass the victim. They are difficult about child access arrangements, keeping the victim on their toes, preventing them from making other plans because they are unreliable and unpredictable. They try to turn the children against their mother, they include them in aspects of the separation that are wholly inappropriate for the child’s age or maturity, with the slant on it that they are ‘hard done to’, or that financial agreements or access arrangements are ‘unfair’.

The do not ‘move on’, accept the situation for what it is and focus on what is important, they ‘hold on’. Hold on to their own anger, their bad behaviour patterns and their over important sense of ‘entitlement’. Each time that they surprise you and are unexpectedly half reasonable, it is only to be followed by another episode of abuse. It is only ever just around the corner.

In the year since my own separation from an emotionally and verbally abusive man I have been subjected to:

Verbal abuse on the phone. (Several episodes, too many to count.)

Verbal abuse directed at me in front of the children, when he was picking them up for access (On several occasions).

Repeated awkwardness in making plans for access, from refusing to arrange times in advance and expecting to turn up with an hour’s notice at the beginning, to refusing to hand over our youngest child correctly, adult to adult, leaving our child to walk from the road, up a long driveway alone, carrying all his weekend bags and then not staying around long enough to ensure that an adult has greeted him home more recently.

Abuse by text and email. (Again, too many to count.)

Two particularly terrifying episodes of drunkenness and mood swings, during which he led me to believe that he was seriously contemplating suicide, or self-harm while in the family home, or ‘lose the plot’ and do harm to me.

Repeated threats of contacting social services to ‘let them know what a bad mother’ I am.

One threat to contact social services that was in front of our youngest child who was convinced for several months that ‘Daddy is going to get us taken away from you Mum’.

A patio door closed onto me while I was in the doorway and being told to ‘fuck off’.

Turned our daughter against me, twice. Once when she realised after two weeks what he was doing and, more recently, again where to this day she will not talk to me.

Refuses to help or intervene with our daughter to offer up a reasonable perspective, withholds all information about her life/health/schooling from me, despite me making many requests.

Withholds information about our youngest child’s visits, refuses to engage in even the shortest of conversation face to face, by email or text at the beginning or end of visits.

Slated me to everyone we know, I have heard stories about me, the breakup and the children that have been told completely out of context, and he has told people private and personal details of my life (during the marriage and since the breakup, most of which were none of his business) without my knowledge or consent.

My personal and private belongings rifled through, twice, in my bedroom.

My social media is regularly stalked and repeated back to me in angry texts, emails and episodes of verbal abuse.

My property has been destroyed.

The children have been subjected to hearing him verbally bash me to other people.

This is the short list. As you can see, since our separation the abuse has not stopped, it has, in fact only become worse. The only saving grace I have now is that I can ignore much of it and concentrate on repairing the damage he has done to our family, particularly to our youngest child.

He refuses to accept that his behaviour is or has ever been abusive, despite being told by friends and professionals that it is. He refuses to accept that his behaviour has a devastatingly detrimental effect on our children.

I have reached the point where I know that I cannot reason with him and I have come to terms with the fact that I have no choice but to do only what I feel is correct for me and for our children. I am now more than prepared to do whatever I have to do.

If you are in a relationship with an abusive man, do not be fooled into thinking that when you say it is over, things will get better.

Get support and MOST importantly – of utmost importance – keep you and your children safe.

There is a list of organisations on the MSV resources page that will help you through what will be a very difficult time and help you to stay safe.

It IS worth leaving an abusive relationship. It is important that you reclaim your life. It ISN’T going to be easy… just be sure that you have the appropriate support and safeguard yourself and others involved first

***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

Abuse is often hard to recognise. Here at MSV we hope to help victims realise they are in abusive relationships and empower them to take safe action.

By sharing our stories we hope that others can find the strength to help themselves and get support from relevant agencies.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Healthy Relationships vs Emotionally Abusive Relationships.

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Healthy Relationships differ wildly from emotionally abusive relationships, but it’s not always easy to tell the difference when you’re in them. Here are some comparisons.

An Emotionally Abusive Relationship:

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  • Makes you feel anxious.
  • Makes you feel that you’re not good quite enough.
  • You worry that what you say or do is going to upset your partner.
  • They check up on you, reads your post, emails, text messages.
  • Accuse you of cheating or not thinking of their needs enough.
  • Keeps you stuck, not fulfilling your full potential.
  • They don’t support your desire to make yourself a more independent person.
  • Shouts at you, calls you names, insults you.
  • Controls you, where you go, what you wear, who you socialise with.
  • Demands your time and attention away from other people, children and activities.
  • Punishes you when you’re not doing as they want.
  • Gives you the silent treatment or tells you they’re not upset when their actions say they are.
  • Explodes into temper unexpectedly, makes you feel that you need to walk on eggshells to avoid it.
  • Twists what you say, only hears what they want to hear, misses the point because it suits them not hear it it, tells you that you said something entirely different.
  • Laughs at your beliefs, ridicules your religion, discounts your life experiences. Tells you you know nothing.
  • Let’s you down. Doesn’t turn up to watch the kids while you work, is consistently late. Doesn’t call ahead to let you know. Gets angry with you if you call them to hurry them up or find out where they are. Seems to think you have all the time in the world and that time revolves around them and their needs.
  • Controls the finances, spends money but scrutinises your spending. Tells you you’re too stupid or irresponsible to handle finances.

Most of all things ‘feel’ off. You feel tense, you feel worried. You can’t relax fully and on the rare occasions you do, there are repercussions. You’re caught off guard, you double check everything.

Emotionally abusive relationships are a stark contrast to healthy relationships, but the behaviour is so gradually introduced so that over time the abuse becomes normalised.

A Healthy Relationship:

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  • You feel relaxed in each other’s company.
  • You feel not only good enough but fully accepted and loved, for your good points and your flaws.
  • You don’t worry or second guess yourself or your partner, you’re free to speak your mind.
  • Your privacy is respected and never violated.
  • You have time to yourself, with your friends and your family. They are capable of being alone too, they don’t ‘need’ you to lavish all of your attention on them.
  • Supports and encourages you to improve yourself, to study or exercise, etc. Loves you for who you are and for who you might become. They are not afraid of changes in you, they are glad for you to pursue your happiness. A happy you equals a happy them and vice versa.
  • Encourages independence while still retaining a healthy balance of sharing within the relationship. Things are equal, shared and fair. When one needs support the other steps in to help.
  • Doesn’t resort to name calling during conflicts. Sticks to the subject, deals with difficult emotions maturely and responsibly.
  • Let’s you live your life the way you choose to. Doesn’t question your motives, accepts they are not the centre of your life.
  • You are both happy to spend time alone. Happy to be together but with comfortable silences. No need to fill in the gaps.
  • Doesn’t expect you to do only what they want, compromises, isn’t upset if you wish to do something different.
  • Explains how they feel without deliberately trying to hurt you. Doesn’t hide how they feel. Doesn’t give mixed messages.
  • Handles anger responsibly. Feels angry, but doesn’t always react. Doesn’t target their anger at you.
  • Hears you. You feel heard, your opinion counts even if they don’t agree. They take what you said in the manner that you meant it, if they don’t understand they ask you for clarification, not make assumptions.
  • Respects your religion, beliefs and life experiences.
  • Doesn’t let you down, turns up on time, or calls if there’s a problem. Doesn’t leave you worrying or stranded.
  • Shares the financial responsibility.

You feel loved, you feel treasured and important. You feel safe and you can relax and be yourself without worrying about what’s happening next. You can make mistakes and not be penalised for not being perfect. Healthy relationships nourish you, they feel wonderful, and everyone deserves to feel truly loved.

These are just some examples of emotional abuse within relationships. If you can think of any more behaviour to compare healthy/unhealthy relationship patterns please comment below and we will include them in our list.

***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

Abuse is often hard to recognise. Here at MSV we hope to help victims realise they are in abusive relationships and empower them to take safe action.

By sharing our stories we hope that others can find the strength to help themselves and get support from relevant agencies.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Removing Toxic People From Your Life

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What is love?

What is love?

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Read the rest of this entry

Minnesota Judge Has 200 Blunt Words For Divorcing Parents.

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Is Love Too Good To Be True? By Anonymous.

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Is love too good to be true?

We were together two years before I realize something was wrong. He did not hit me then, later though, but first it was nice. We did whatever I wanted; he bought me gifts for no reason. We talked for hours about all my hopes and dreams. We visited each other’s families and everyone said how good we were together. Even my doubting father liked his company.

The first stage of his abuse began, he starting calling me names, stupid, dumb, a lousy lay.

Anything to make me think I could not live without him.

Being rude to me in front of my family and my friends, my response was to explain away his behavior as he is tired for working so much overtime from week. Telling me later how my family member or my friend tried to become intimate with him and still smile in my face. Holding me as I cry feeling betrayed by someone close to as he explains that the only person I need in my life is him.

The first hit was a surprise to me although now I am not sure why. He was grooming for this very moment.

At his family reunion, everyone is laughing and having a good time. One of my favorite songs came on, and as I did what I have done, a million times when he said he did not want to dance. I go to the dance floor (in the park it is a platform that bands play during live concerts) me and his family are all dancing, laughing, and having a good time. No one is really dancing with anyone in particular.

I found myself looking up from the cement slap used as a stage, trying to understand how I got there.

Then the stink of my face materialized as I looked up and find my partner, my mate for two years looking like monster yelling how I, being the whore I am disrespect him in front of his family, his mother even.

He helps me up and tells me how much he loves me and that he forgive me for this.

I saw his mother waved to me in the distance and began walking dazed in her direction. I was thinking his family is going to deal with him while I take solace getting some support from his mother. I felt like she slapped me again when she said,

“try not to anger him… he is a good man… he just need someone to love him the right way.”

To this day, I cannot explain what that way is, but that is the day I knew I had to find away from him. I knew this would not be easy with both him and his father holding high racking positions in the security industry.

I was right it was not easy. I have tried getting a piece a paper telling him he could not be near me. His response,

It took six attempts on my life before the police caught him.

The criminal court hearing told me not only had he done this kind of thing before but his father’s influence always kept him from any real trouble.

Prior experience of working in the legal field and my family with military and police backgrounds provided me a private call the day before they released him. The call told me that I had to leave town without telling anyone in my family. He was coming for me. His family calls me telling me how much he loves and misses me, not to worry he will forgive you if you apologize. What!!!

Everything in my soul told me I had to go, but go where?

Did I forget to mention I have two school age children seeing their mother repeatedly degraded, beaten, and broken.

I could not just leave; I had to have a plan.

I dug far in my past, to former colleagues from college. I located friends and extended family that I do not speak with often enough. A place he did not know, a place to be safe, just one thing, how do I get there?

I realize I cannot fight him off, changing all four tires he slashed in the night, breaking into my garage to get in the house, showing up at my job during the times he knows I would be leaving for lunch or going home.

Listen to stories of him terrorizing my female family members, friends, and co-workers.

I had to do the unthinkable to get away, I had to apologize, and take him back.

I did that, all the while planning an escape, the escape of my life. During all the confusion my father took ill and never recovered, he died thinking his baby girl decided to be abused for the rest of her life. I could not afford to tell anyone my plan, afraid that he would bully the information or worst.

I arranged to leave two weeks after my father’s funeral. I packed me and the girls’ clothes leaving enough for the remaining days and packing the drawers with clothes we no longer worn. I packed important papers in my tire well. Only able to tell one of my children of my plans the other to in love with the monster not to tell before we are safe and one true friend, she helped me pack my van on D-day.

By 10 am, we are on the highway heading a 1000 miles away from my home, my career, my family, and my friends.

He found us once, but we were lucky enough that I had friends that ran interference so we could run. Seven years later, I still have the tenancy to look behind me wondering is he with someone else now or does he still feel if he cannot have me, no one else will.

Of course, I have trust issues and I am dealing with it, I can breathe again, and just be me.

I do not advocate that if you are in abusive situation that she remains there or take him back.

I do believe that you have to safely remove yourself from the situation.

The National Domestic Abuse hotline can help you if you need to relocate to stay safe. I did not have that option since both our families had very high connection where we lived. I had to find safe surroundings to get assistance but assistance you will need if you have been in any domestic violence relationship; psychology scars require a therapist with finesse and the ability to provide cognitive therapy.

Getting out is only the first step, staying out and not repeating the relationship cycle is the ultimate goal.

My question was is love too good to be true?

I can now honestly say no, but it will take a long time to learn the difference again.

***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Abusive Behaviours and The Cycle of Abuse.

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Abuse isn’t always easy to recognise. Many victim of abuse are confused and have been conditioned to believe that the abuse is normal behaviour.

Some abuse is subtle (discounting or belittling) and some abuse is overt and quite obviously abuse (hitting, punching or locking you in a room). Abuse does not have to be physical to be recognised as abuse,  all form of abuse are damaging, frightening and confusing for the victim.

Here is a checklist of abusive behaviours.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as each relationship is different, but it gives an idea of the most common behaviours of abusers. If you think you’re in an abusive relationship please get help as soon as possible. There is a list of helpful organisations on the resources page.

Verbal Abuse

  • Ignore your feelings
  • Disrespect you
  • Ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humour
  • Ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class
  • Withhold approval, appreciation or affection
  • Give you the silent treatment
  • Walk away without answering you
  • Criticise you, call you names, shout or swear at you
  • Humiliate you privately or in public
  • Roll his or her eyes when you talk
  • Give you a hard time about socialising with your friends or family
  • Make you socialise (and keep up appearances) even when you don’t feel up to it
  • Seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly what you won’t get
  • Tells you you are too sensitive
  • Is hurtful, especially when you are down or need support
  • Seem energised by fighting, while fighting exhausts you
  • Have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason
  • Present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders
  • Twist your words, somehow turning what you said against you
  • Try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear your clothes
  • Complain about how badly you treat him
  • Threaten to leave or threaten to throw you out
  • Say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad
  • Leave you stranded
  • Threaten to hurt you or your family
  • Hit or push you, even “accidentally”
  • Seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other
  • Abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object
  • Compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticise you enough to keep you insecure
  • Promise to never do something hurtful again
  • Harass you about imagined affairs
  • Manipulate you with lies and contradictions
  • Destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances
  • Drive dangerously and not slow down when you ask him to
  • behave immaturely and selfishly, yet accuse you of these behaviours
  • Question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence
  • Interrupt you; hear but not really listen
  • Make you feel like you can’t win, whatever you do is never right
  • Use drugs and/or alcohol.
  • provoke you to rage, which is “proof” that you are to blame
  • Try to convince you he or she is “right,” while you are “wrong”
  • Frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you of misunderstanding
  • Treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand regardless of how you feel

Emotional Abuse

  • Frequently blames or criticises you
  • Calls you names
  • Ridicules your beliefs, religion, race or class
  • Blames you for “causing” the abuse
  • Ridicules/makes bad remarks about your gender
  • Criticises or threatens to hurt your family or friends
  • Isolates you from your family and friends
  • Abuses pets
  • Tries to keep you from doing something you wanted to do
  • Is angry if you pay too much attention to someone or something else (children, friends, school, etc.)
  • Withholds approval, appreciation or affection
  • Humiliates you
  • Becomes angry if meals or housework are not done to his liking
  • Makes contradictory demands
  • Does not include you in important decisions
  • Does not allow you to sleep
  • Repeatedly harasses/criticises you about things you did in the past
  • Takes away car keys, money or credit cards
  • Threatens to leave or tells you to leave.
  • Checks up on you (listens to your phone calls, reads your messages or emails, checks the mileage on the car, etc.)
  • Tells people you suffer from a mental illness
  • Threatens to commit suicide
  • Interferes with your work or school (provokes a fight in the morning, calls to harass you at work, etc.)
  • Minimises or denies being abusive
  • Abuses your children
  • Breaks dates and cancels plans without reason
  • Uses drugs or alcohol to excuse their behaviour
  • Uses phrases like “I’ll show you who is boss” or “I’ll put you in line”
  • Uses loud or intimidating tone of voice
  • Comes home late refuse to tell you why

Financial Abuse

  • Makes all the decisions about money
  • Takes care of all financial matters without your input
  • Criticises the way or amounts of money you spend
  • Places you on a budget that is unrealistic
  • Prohibits your access to bank accounts and credit cards
  • Refuses to put your name on joint assets
  • Controls your wages
  • Refuses you access to money
  • Refuses to let you work, or makes it difficult for you to work
  • Refuses to get a job
  • Refuses to pay bills
  • Causes you to lose your job

Sexual Abuse

  • Pressures you to have sex
  • Pressures you to perform sexual acts that make you uncomfortable or hurt you
  • Directs physical injury toward sexual areas of your body
  • Puts you at risk for unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Withholds sex or affection
  • Calls you sexual names (“whore”, “bitch”, etc.)
  • Tells anti-woman jokes or demeans women verbally/attacks your femininity
  • Accuses you of having or wanting sex with others
  • Forces you to have sex with others
  • Forces you to view pornography
  • Pressures you to dress in a certain way
  • Disregards your sexual needs and feelings about sex
  • Accuses you of being gay or frigid if you refused sex
  • Spreads rumours about your sexual behaviours
  • Forces you or refuses to let you use birth control
  • Makes unwanted public sexual advances
  • Makes remarks about your sexual abilities in private or in front of others
  • Rapes and sexually assaults you

Using Children

  • Makes you feel guilty about your children
  • Uses children to relay negative messages
  • Uses children to report on your activities
  • Uses access arrangements to harass you
  • Threatens to take custody of your children
  • Threatens to kidnap your children
  • Tells others you’re a bad mother
  • Threatens to report you to social services
  • Plays the children off against one another
  • Alienates you, or attempts to alienate you from your child

Physical Abuse

  • Pushes, grabs or shoves you
  • Slaps you
  • Spits at you
  • Punches you
  • Kicks you
  • Chokes you
  • Pinches you
  • Pulls your hair
  • Burns you
  • Bites you
  • Ties you up
  • Threatens you with a knife, gun or other weapon
  • Uses a knife, gun or other weapon
  • Prevents you from leaving an area/physically restrains you
  • Throws objects
  • Destroys property or your possessions
  • Drives recklessly to frighten you
  • Disregards your needs when you are ill, injured or pregnant
  • Abuses you while you are pregnant
  • Forces you to abort a pregnancy

Some of these examples are from the point of view of a woman being abused by a man, however, we do know that abuse happens in all types relationships. Abuse is unacceptable regardless of who the perpetrator or the victim is.

Abusive behaviours alone are not enough to help you to recognise domestic abuse. All abuse follows a common pattern, known as “The Cycle of Abuse”.

There are three distinct phases in the cycle of abuse which go round and around.

The Honeymoon Phase:

Things are calm, the abuser is kind, thoughtful, sweet and good to you. He says you’re special, you mean the world to him. He is often apologetic about previous abuse, he is ashamed, he doesn’t want to lose you. You’re the best thing that ever happened to him. He may shower you with gifts or surprises, take care of the jobs he wouldn’t normally do around the home, treats you like a princess. Praises you, supports you, loves you in the way that you have always wanted and needed to be loved. He is focussed only on you. He is gentle with you. He says he doesn’t deserve someone as wonderful and kind and forgiving as you. He says he will never hurt you again.

The Tension Phase:

Things start to irritate him. He snaps at you over little things. He becomes more introvert, less focussed on you and more focussed on what you’re doing wrong. This isn’t right, that isn’t right, but yesterday, you explain, it was fine!

“Well today it isn’t, today you’re wrong, today you’re too stupid to remember what happened yesterday, are you deliberately trying to wind me up?” The tension builds, and you can feel it. You dare not ask if he is ok, he will only tell you he is, but you know full well he isn’t. You backtrack, try to work out what happened between the honeymoon bliss and now, but you can’t, because YOU didn’t do anything, this is going on in his mind, this is of his creation. You don’t know this though, so you try to put it all right again, you tell him you love him, you make meals, suggest good times… he tells you to stop smothering him. he’s fine, at least he would be if you’d just shut up and leave him alone. The tension builds, higher and higher, there is nothing you can do to stop it, it is like an avalanche, you know its coming, you can see it rolling down the mountain, you can’t stop it and you can’t get out of the way.  The tension phase turns into:

The Explosive Phase:

The abuse escalates quickly and uncontrollably, he shouts, screams, swears, criticises, belittles, demeans you with no remorse. Your crying means nothing to him, you need to learn to be told, to be disciplined. He says he warned you, but you don’t listen, you NEVER listen. what is wrong with you? You’re mad, thats what it is. No wonder he is so stressed out with you, you’re mental. He tries to be reasonable with you but, no, you can’t be reasonable, you don’t know HOW to be reasonable. Its a wonder anyone likes you, you should be grateful that he sticks around for you, no one else would bother.

He explodes, the tension, his tension, is released, either by verbally, emotionally or sexually demeaning you or he hits you or, more likely, a combination of some or all. Each method leaves scars that do not fade. Each as bad as the next. Each as abusive as one another. It is a torrent of abuse raining down on you relentlessly, it pushes you down, theres no let up. If you try to fight, he just pushes harder, he will be done when he is done, not before. And he will be done when he feels you have received adequate punishment. All you can do is survive it, get through it as best you can.

His tension is released, he feels better, perhaps invigorated, perhaps regretful now. You are hurt, so very hurt, you feel broken… and he says he’s sorry, he says he didn’t mean to hurt you again, he says he doesn’t now why he does that… he says he will make it up yo you… and so we swing back up to the honeymoon period again, and the cycle begins over.

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***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

How To Support A Victim Of Domestic Abuse – A Basic Guide For Friends And Family.

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Victims of abuse face a problem once they have finally gathered the courage to leave the relationship.

They have to face the world, open up about the abuse, tell others. This, in itself, is a difficult thing to to. Victims feel ashamed that they allowed themselves to be sucked into such a situation, they feel as though no one will believe them.

There are things you can do as the friends, family and essential support network of a victim of domestic abuse, and here are just a few basic pointers.

Firstly, believe them. The abuse DID happen. Victims don’t make this stuff up. They don’t concoct feelings of shame, uselessness, lack of confidence, nervousness or anxiety. They have been abused. Systematically. Over a long period of time. They’re likely confused themselves and need reassurance that you believe them, that they aren’t going mad. They have been abused. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. And they will doubt themselves, but…

Abuse is abuse. No matter what form it takes.

And abuse damages the very soul of the victim. Lots of support is needed to undo the psychological and emotional scars abuse leaves in it’s wake. You don’t just ‘get over it’. The abuse has left scars and confusion. It has attempted to change the victim to suit the perpetrators ideal of them. Victims often don’t know if their thoughts are their own, or if they are thoughts that have been left over from the brainwashing.

The abuse doesn’t stop at the end of a relationship. Abusers continue to abuse, in any form they can, after a victim has left an abuser. They don’t suddenly come to their senses and stop. Perpetrators feel mortally wounded by the victims rejection, or their perception of rejection in any case. Abusers are used to getting their own way. And the way they got it was by abusing. So they continue, especially when there is a divorce case, finances to split or children involved. Abusers use all of these thing to continue to try and control the victim. Sometimes using the law to assist them.

Make an effort to learn about domestic abuse.

The patterns are always the same. It is, in fact, the patterns that define abuse from more normal behaviours within relationships. Common behaviours at the end of an abusive relationship can include:

Abusers accusing perfectly good mothers of being neglectful. They tell everyone what a terrible person she is. They character assassinate the victim in order to absolve themselves of their own appalling behaviour. They are afraid that if their victim speaks out, people will know them for who they really are. So they jump in first. Telling all and sundry how awful it was for them. How they was no less than driven to that behaviour. How it was all her fault.

They often suddenly want custody of the children, even if they had little to do with their every day well being within the relationship. They involve the children. They try to alienate the children from the victim. They tell sob stories about how terrible she was to him. How he was driven to this abusive behaviour because the victim was so stupid, lazy, thoughtless, mad, *insert insult here*.

They may money grab, telling everyone how they worked so hard for all they have. How it is theirs. How the victim was a freeloader and should be grateful they’re getting anything at all.

They use the divorce as a victim bashing process, tell lies, exaggerate, concoct stories about the victim to make themselves look *hard done by*. They don’t see it as a necessary legal step to separate, they see it as the law supporting their view of the victim therefore justifying their abusive behaviour. They harass, stalk (in person or on the internet), bother, deliberately create difficulties and put obstacles in the way of the victim being able to move on without them.

They want revenge. Or if not revenge, they want absolution for their behaviour. They tell the world and her mother how terrible the victim is as a person. They tell anyone who will listen. They justify, discount and minimise their own behaviour and want to hear you agree with how unreasonable the victim is. No matter how half heartedly you might agree. You’ve agreed in their mind. That’s enough for them. Another step towards complete absolution. They will use anything and everything you say against the victim. There is no moral compass here, just their thirst for revenge and the desire to be justified. They will use your mother, your siblings, your best friends words against the victim, with no shame. When called out on it, they will outright deny, minimise, say it was all a misunderstanding and tell you the victim is hysterical, mental, bonkers. But the victim isn’t mad.

As the friends and family of an abuse victim and perpetrator, there is a game being played and you’re a pawn in it, whether you want to be or not. It’s all a game. Only one person knows the rules. It is the perpetrator alone that picks them and changes them, as and when it suits. They will say one thing to you and another to the victim and something entirely different to someone else. Abusers don’t *care*, those tears aren’t real. The over concern is false. An abuser saying he’s only trying to be *helpful* to the victim is another form of control and ultimately it will be used against her.

The key thing to remember here is that it is a game. The game of *lets make the victim look bad*, and the first rule is… They make the rules. There are no boundaries, no subject off topic, no privacy rights and absolutely no playing the perpetrator at his own game. The nicer you are as a person the easier it is for you to be manipulated by the abuser. Ideally the abuser would like you to question your allegiances to your friend/daughter/sibling. That would be the best outcome for them. So you too can see what a terrible person the victim is and join the abuser in justifying the abuse, or even just get you to stop talking to them, effectively destroying their support network. They’d like to see a family row. People cutting others off. Telling the victim she’s ‘overreacting’ again. Discord and the destroying of the victim’s support network is the ultimate aim. He wants to leave her stranded, alone, preferably broke and without her children and family.

Are we getting a picture here? There is only one aim. Destroy the victim. Provoke reactions. Exacerbate stress. Watch the victim struggle with depression or other mental health difficulties. That way they can say they were reasonable to abuse. Look what they had to put up with? Those poor darlings having to put up with a stark raving bonkers wife/partner. If only she’d been more perfect, less nagging, tidier. If only she hadn’t wanted to have her own mind and make her own decisions. No wonder they snapped, shouted, insulted, controlled, punched them. Right?

RIGHT??

No. Not right.

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So if you really want to help, stand up, be counted and don’t keep quiet. Tell the perpetrator where he can stick it, then go little or no contact, it is the only way, subtleties are completely lost on them. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged into victim bashing conversations. Even if you’re not being negative, the abuser will use something you’ve said, no matter how well meaning, against the victim. Support and reassure the victim. And please, keep supporting them because, believe me, they have a long road to travel. Tell the perpetrator in no uncertain terms that they are abusive and that you will not tolerate it for one more second.

Stand up and say a very LOUD *NO!* to abuse.

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***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

The Smear Campaign.

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One of the things that people don’t foresee when they eventually pluck up the courage to leave an abusive partner is the ensuing smear campaign.

Victims naively think that once the abuser has left then they can begin to rebuild their lives, their confidence, their relationships with their children in a calmer, more peaceful place. But they are often wrong. I remember saying to a mutual friend, “I just want it to stop.”, and believing that once I had been strong enough to tell him that it is over, it would.

But it doesn’t. It didn’t.

The sad fact is that, for a time, it gets worse. The abuser has nothing to lose now, so they go for for it. One of the biggest hallmarks of an abusive person is their inability, or refusal, to truly acknowledge their own fault in the demise of the relationship and their unending, constant criticism of the victim.

They, in fact, often play the victim role.

They constantly slate, slag off, talk about, criticise, stalk, harass and badger the victim, poking and provoking them to react so they can say, “See? He/she is the mad one!”

The smear campaign is designed to make you look bad and make the abuser look justified in their abuse. The victim will be made out to be unreasonable, stupid, a bad parent, promiscuous, lazy, mad and anything else that the abuser can think of to denigrate the victim.

They will tell their family, they will tell your family, your mutual friends, their friends, your friends. They will tell your children, your step children, the dog, and the next door neighbour’s sister’s auntie’s budgies…

Anyone who will listen.

They will exaggerate your mistakes and minimise or even ignore their own. They will tell everyone how awful life has been for THEM all this time and how, even though they are hurt, they are relieved…

Despite still stalking you, being obsessed and causing problems where there need be none in every possible circumstance.

The smear campaign is supposed to make them look like the better person. They know they have abused you, they know that they are at fault, but their fragile ego cannot accept it, and they absolutely cannot be exposed to others as abusive…

Exposure of their abuse to others shatters their persona and that, in turn, shatters their own false self belief.

Behind the mask of an abuser hides a fragile personality with no direction, no meaning, no solid foundation. That’s why they need to abuse others, to feel superior, to feel strong, to feel ‘right’.

People who don’t have fragile egos or personality disorders don’t abuse others.

They understand good feelings come from within, not outside of the self. Normal, healthy personalities don’t need to abuse or denigrate another to feel good about themselves, in fact they will feel good about themselves by helping and supporting others.

The smear campaign is an abusers last ditch attempt, now you have flagged them up on it and left them, to isolate and hurt you.

So, please ensure you protect yourself at the end of an abusive relationship.

On the one hand because it is the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, it is in the immediate aftermath of the ending of a relationship that abuse often escalates and occasionally, tragically can lead to serious violence with terrible consequences.

Get help and support, call one of the numbers on our resources page and they will advise and direct you to your local DVA support group.

Be prepared for the onslaught. You will lose ‘friends’, but remember, if they were true friends, wouldn’t blindly believe such stories about you. Let them go. They aren’t your friends. Keep your support network with your real friends and family strong, let them support you, you do not have to do this alone.

As hard as it is, don’t bother trying to defend yourself, there’s no point. Those who don’t believe it don’t need to hear your defence. They know it isn’t true, they know you are being bullied. Those who believe every poisonous word the abuser spouts will hear your defence as simply too much protesting.

You don’t need anyone in your life that doubts who you are.

If people have taken the time to know you, they would know you aren’t a bad person, simply someone trying to recover from abuse.

You will make mistakes, everyone does, it is impossible not to under such pressure. Your mistakes will be blown up out of all proportion by the abuser to draw attention away from their own unacceptable behaviour. Try to ignore it. Conversations face to face, by phone, text or email with an abusive person, as we know only too well, only goes round and around in circles. They don’t care about truth, they care about only themselves.

Go no contact as much as possible, go and live your life however it makes you happy to do so.

Rebuild from the inside out and take good care of yourself, you deserve it.

Yes, rebuilding a good life involves risk and if something goes wrong and you’re slammed for it from here to Timbuktu, to everyone they/you know, don’t worry about it. Let those who think badly, think badly. You will find your real friends, that’s for sure.

Above all remember:

They are the broken one.

They tried to break you and they failed. They now cannot accept that you will no longer be controlled by them. They cannot feed from you anymore.

So let their version of the ‘Hunger Games’ begin. Lay low, stay away from them, hold onto your support network, live, be free and happy.

It doesn’t last forever. The abuser will move on to someone else when it suits them and people will see the truth soon enough.

***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

No Contact and Objectivity by Anonymous.

 

I haven’t been shouted at by anyone for months. No one. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

They say that going ‘no contact’ with an abusive person is a really important step in the recovery process. I have read this on many informative websites and blogs about domestic abuse, but I really didn’t ‘get it’ until now.

Yesterday I had a phonecall. My divorce process is nearly over, last minute things are cropping up and a last minute change in our agreement by my ex, on a whim, has held things up. I should have seen this coming. Unfortunately the word ‘agreement’ to my ex means ‘you will agree with me’, I honestly don’t believe that he knows how to agree with anyone, unless it is to his benefit. So, after months of refusing to answer the phone, yesterday my phone rings and his name flashes on the screen… I hesitate for a moment, then I figure things need sorting, so I think, “why not?” And so I answered it.

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Well, in equal measures I am both pleased and not so pleased I answered that phonecall. Not so pleased because I wasted yet another 20 minutes of my life being ‘ranted’ nonsense at by an angry, bitter man who has lost control of me, of his ‘vision’ of life and how it ‘should’ be. Ranted at by this man who just ‘cannot’ accept that this relationship is over and that I have moved on. He can’t accept that this continuing hostility, even after all this time, is entirely pointless. He cannot stop involving our poor kids in his anger and he can’t (won’t? Doesn’t care to?) see the damage he is causing to them. I am always saying that it is about time he let go of it. If for no other reason but for the children. But he can’t. He lives in perpetual anger. I think… In a strange way he enjoys it.

His catchphrase is ‘I’m NOT angry’ while shouting and swearing, all red faced and aggressive, sometimes to the point of spitting in people’s faces. He seem to continually try and come up with new ways to try and hurt me. Through being abusive, slagging me down to others, through the divorce process, even through the children. His life, right now seems to be solely dedicated to causing pain to another, namely me. And he doesn’t care if he takes our kids down with him. Even sadder than that, it is pain he can never inflict on me anymore. Not ever. Because I won’t allow it. If anything, as I have tried to tell him, it is the children, our children, who suffer the most.

But, I was also pleased that I answered that call. It reminded me why I’m not in a relationship with him any more (not that I ever, even for a moment forgot), it reminded me how awful that shouting sounds, and how sad that he thinks that shouting at me, or anyone, will get him anywhere. It reminded me how nonsensical he sounds when he goes off on one. It reminded me how anger is destructive, not to the person it is directed at, but to the person who is angry. The person it is directed at will eventually leave and all that is left behind is his anger. It reminded me how we now, thankfully, live in relative peace (save his occasional problem making with the kids), how there’s a damn good reason our home has a ‘no shouting’ policy and the boys are encouraged to find constructive ways to deal with anger that doesn’t involve abusing, calling names, shouting or intimidating another.

I was pleased because it had no effect on me whatsoever. In fact, I felt sorry for him. Oh, not so sorry that I would give him a chance to do it again. I will ‘never’ answer a call from him ever again, that’s for sure. But I felt some pity because perhaps he knows no other way. The compassionate person within me, the person who, once upon a time, loved him and tried to help him stop this, even though I was the focus of his anger, felt a little sorry for him, like you do a toddler who cannot control their temper. I pity him. Which, I suppose in some ways, is worse than hating someone.

Where my life is moving forward, my days full of planning for the future, love, giggles, fun and exciting times, his seems to be full of hatred, and anger and thinking of yet another fight to pick, something else to try and hold over my head in the hope that I fall apart and concede defeat.

I am not stupid, I hold tightly onto the fact that he is an adult, capable of controlling himself if he chooses to (and he does when he needs to, when it is to his benefit), he is capable of changing if he wants to. IF he wants to. The evidence suggests he has absolutely no desire to change at all. Throughout our relationship there were more than enough chances. I don’t pity him enough to be fooled by him, ever. I know, deep down, that he will never change.

It is all about him, every insult he slings my way. Everything he knows is weak within himself he tries to project onto me. And when (finally) it isn’t me anymore, it’ll be someone else, because that’s how it works. It is he who cannot live with himself. The guilt, the shame, the deep empty chasm in his soul that he tries to fill by stepping on and degrading others. It has nothing to do with me, I’ve never argued with anyone in my life. Never fallen out, got into slanging matches, never insulted or upset anyone. I don’t need to. It would, in fact, pain me to do so.

All in all, it was an important phonecall. It really didn’t sort out the issues that the call was supposedly about. It was just an angry rant by someone who is loathe to communicate respectfully with me, because that would mean he would have to acknowledge me as an actual human being instead of the monster he makes me out to be, the monster that exists only in his head, the excuse he has created to justify his abuse…

“If she had only done this… Not done that… been better… hadn’t been so selfish/stupid/annoying.”

The bruised ego can create all manner of fantastical ‘reasons’ why it is, in fact, he who is the one who has been ‘wronged’ and so ‘she must pay’. Despite something approaching a mountain of evidence to the contrary. The ego creates a story to explain how his anger and abuse are somehow ‘justified’, and by de-humanising me, perhaps it makes the process a little easier for him to swallow.

I know so well, through years of trying, that you cannot calm the anger of another, particularly the kind of irrational, vengeful anger that he and other abusive people spout and encourage others to spout too. There is nothing, nothing I can do to change him or those around him that have swallowed the sob story and ignored the evidence… as I foolishly once did.

This phonecall, however, that 20 minutes of pointless, ineffectual communication, served another, much more important purpose…

I know now that I absolutely will not be spoken to like that by anyone. No one. Not him, not you, not anyone.

And that, that simple thought, slap bang in the middle of his trademark rant, after months of no contact, means one very good thing…

It means that I have come a very long way in the recovery process.

And for that, I am very pleased.

Thank you.

***

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

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