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One Day at a Time. 

Today I am having a depressive day.  

Triggered by a stressful week which has affected the whole family way too much. My mood isn’t low, it’s more numb. It means I’ll be low for a few days, I know this because I’ve been here many times before. The reason I’m so low is because of my divorce from my abusive husband 2 years ago, and his relentless attacks on me since, which have destroyed the relationship I have with two of my children. He is currently actively trying to destroy my relationship with my youngest child too. Only this time with the willing, if not utterly misinformed, assistance of my other two kids, particularly my daughter.

The badmouthing of me to M is soul crushingly painful. Watching my confused child try to make sense of senseless, hateful behaviour is agonising. I learned this week that a particularly rude and hurtful message exchange with him was actively encouraged and watched and helped by his father and his sister. Not only encouraging rudeness and dismissiveness of me, but making him believe that his mother and his step father are dangerous to him in some way.

Imagine that. You have a conversation with your son where he is rude to you and then later you learn that the adults around him not only allowing that to happen, but were sat with him reading and encouraging it to happen. Helping him choose words like ‘disgusting’ and ‘you’re so childish’ and ‘you don’t think of anyone but yourself.’

Of course, I knew at the time that they weren’t his words. I’ve heard those words a thousand times said by his father, then my daughter, my oldest son, and now by my youngest son.

Same words. Same tone. Instantly recognisable.

M just wants to live. To love his family and all of this to stop. I agree with him, all I have ever wanted was for it stop.

It took me years to pluck up the courage to leave that man (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense), and when I finally did, I naively believed things would improve. M

He has made damn sure it didn’t.

They stalk my social media, know far more about what I do on a day to day basis than they should. These people claim they want nothing to do with me are then actively and deliberately trying to pry into my life so they can pass judgment and stir up hatred.

This is all nightmare enough for us to live. Along with my daughter and ex husband telling M lies about my partner, who they have never, despite invitation, deemed appropriate to meet. Instead we live with almost constant threats and nastiness, thrown from a distance, in the safety of their own web of hate.

They are cowardly, for sure.

I send a happy, content and secure child to my ex husband’s home, only to have an anxious, scared and angry boy returned. Every. Single. Week.

They try to convince him he doesn’t want to come home. I hear their words, hateful, spiteful, nasty words, come out of his innocent 8 year old mouth. And why?!?

Well, why indeed! My ex is so stupid he cannot see that the only people who truly suffer here are the kids. Too stupid to see that one day they will realise he took their loving mother away from them be poisoning their minds.

My daughter is too damaged to see she is destroying her little brother. To see she is an accomplice in a hate campaign which serves no one but her self righteous father. And even then it serves him nothing because he will have the broken children to deal with too.

They claim to love M and only want the best for him. They proclaim it to the world! Then they do the damage quietly while no one is looking.

Taking a child from his mother is not wanting the best for him.

Making him believe his mother is dangerous to him is not the best for him.

Using him as a pawn in a sick twisted revenge plan is not the best for him.

And so it goes on. This is the pattern I endured too. He would tell everyone how he was the perfect husband until the doors were shut and no one could hear him. Then he changed.

I await the day that social services come knocking on my door, or the court case for custody. I have had the threatening letters.

I look forward to showing them the huge backlog of evidence of abuse, recordings, emails, text messages, police reports.

I want them to talk to M so that he can tell them what he tells me. The covert behaviour they think he’s too young to notice. The conversations he’s heard. The lies he knows they have told him.

Yes, I feel down, because I am tired of the fight. A totally unnecessary fight with a sociopathic narcissist who, while claiming he only wants to love those around him, only serves himself and his own needs, with no regard for who gets damaged in the process.

I am afraid I have lost my daughter because she has absorbed his toxic behaviours as her own. I see no evidence to prove me otherwise. She contacted me recently, but only because she believed I could do something for her. It wasn’t out of any real love or compassion. It was to use me for her own ends.

Yes. It hurts like hell. But I will not stop fighting. If it drags me down to the depths of hell, I will fight for my son. So at least one of my children had a chance to see that hatred only brings misery. It makes me ill, physically, mentally and emotionally. But I was too naive with the other two, I didn’t even consider that he would destroy them to get to me.

I won’t make that mistake again.

So, life goes on. Those that know me, know I am not an angry, hateful person, they know that I despise conflict and I detest people who make others feel bad about themselves. They know that I am kind, supportive and caring. They know I’m a little bonkers around the edges, but I would never, ever, deliberately hurt anyone.

I know, deep down, that I am strong and that wobbling once in a while isn’t a true reflection of my strength.

I know that what I have been through, what he has put me through, has changed me permanently, broken me and at the same time fortified me.

I know that real strength is quiet, kind and loving.

I know that perfection is unattainable and I must not stress myself out trying to achieve it.

I know that being the best me I can be, is all I can do, faults and all.

So, today I’ll wobble and tomorrow is a new day.

Today, I accept that.

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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.

Posted in posts by you

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.

Posted in posts by you

I Thought I Had Found Love by heartbrokenopen.

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Thank You to heartbrokenopen for this emotive and honest writing. Originally submitted as a comment, we decided to feature it as a story on it’s own. Please be aware that due to the subject matter of MSV all posts may contain strong language.

I thought I had found love, I had found my soul mate, my perfect match. The man I had been waiting for, praying for and preparing for my whole life.

The man of my dreams. I thanked my creator everyday for our union. We were in bliss for so long. He was everything I had waited for and more.

Valiant, present, interested, interesting, fun, funny, handsome, hands on, open and so in tune with me. My prayers had been answered; my 4 year celibacy had not been in vain. I had found the one. He was brought to me by the gods of love through a series of synchronistic events. The meeting was magical. The timing perfect. The union was inseparable and so beautiful. The ocean was aglow with phosphorescence as the two of us literally danced on the shores, the night sky aglow with dozens upon dozens of shooting starts as we kissed beneath their splendour breathless and in love.

Everything as so perfect and dreamy, I fell so in love, like I have never before, the love I’ve always dreamed of.

We looked similar in many ways too, face shape, body type, ringlets, innocent eyes, we just flowed. The sex, oh the sex was so great and I thought it was because of the magical love we had discovered and awakened in each other. It felt spiritual.

We share intuitive binds and have linear backgrounds, our historical events match up even. But then there was the sudden withdraw. The distancing. the mood swings, the accusations started to roll in out of the blue. Then I was so confused and afraid. I reached out, I tried to please. I questioned my words, actions and deeds. What happened? What did I do wrong? Did I say something? Not say something?

I bent over backwards to restore what we were building, to hold on to this great love. The phase passed quickly, I was successful and my lover and I were once again connected. I could breath again, the pain was gone. I misunderstood him and now had a deeper understanding of him and myself. I forged ahead, we forged ahead. A few months later he secured work out of province, a good paying steady job. He loved me but had to go work. We texted and kept daily contact. He missed me. I missed him.

I left my island, my home, to go to him in a flat land province for the greater good of us all, his kid, my kids, us, our relationship. He had a great paying job, was working so hard. I was too, taking care of the family needs, the house, the food, everything a good woman could offer.

One night while climbing into bed he threw a pillow at me, called me a cunt and told me to get the fuck out of HIS house and his life. Astonished and shaken to the soul I pleaded, I wept, I retreated into a dark calamity within myself that never existed before. It had only been two months since the move. What had I done? He stone walled me. Slept on the floor in another room. I desperately went to him in the night laid next to him held him and stroked him only to be met by a stone, a shallow version of who I thought was a good man. I slunk back to my room and cried for hours. I packed up the kids through their bewildered tears and my confusion. Drove through the rockies in the dead of winter back to my island.

He contacted me, regretful, promising, mistaken, why hadn’t I held on a day or two more for the “fight” to blow over, he didn’t mean it, he loved me deeply. It felt better than the pain and rejection. I soaked it in, reach out to meet his pleas. I forgave, I was learning unconditional love, or so I thought.

He worked so hard to make right what he had wronged. He come see me monthly for an entire year, sent me money, romanced me, texted me through out the day at least hourly. He sent me money and promises faithfully. We were back to where we started, in love and bliss.

We were going places. I catered, I helped, I was the secretary, lover, saint, mediator, planner, cook, lover, mother and everything he needed me to be and I was glad to do it, inspired even.

He held me, loved me, complimented me, made sweet love to me. But then the mood switch would happen, I would plummet into desperation, pain and despair. It must be me. I must fix this. I’d plead and please and coax the man I thought he was right back out of him and I’d turn the other cheek, look the other way, forgive and forget because there was love to be had a life to be lived. We forged ahead.

He left his job and province to join me because he loved me so much he couldn’t bare the thought of me being alone any longer. We celebrated, moved to a beautiful, bigger house right on the beach. This was bliss. A dream come true. I made sure everything was perfect, I engaged, preformed, served and gave of my self, my time my energy to make it all so perfect because he had given me a gift, a dream, a promise. Two weeks later he didn’t come home. I fell. I went to another dark space that never before existed within myself. I felt dazed, confused, disoriented and afraid. I had to fix it. Right away. Make it stop. Get the pain to go away and restore the life we had. I did. Again.

Then after New years he dropped the bomb. He needed space. He wasn’t happy. He wasn’t ready. He was leaving. I cried and pleaded, I tried to understand. He moved across the street, into a bachelor suite literally 30 seconds from my door. Leaving me in a home I loved that I could not afford alone. I felt stupid for being duped again. Yet I held on. I held my breath. I held my ground. I waited. He came back around sorrowful with explanations, he was not prepared to have anew family, a different life than the one he had before he met me. He was sorry. He was not gone, just needed space and loved me, told me to hold on. I did. I still did his laundry, served him food, loved him, gave of my self and finances. He spent six months nearly unemployed. Only ever working a week or two to make rent. I fed him, bought his smokes and beer. He never went without. I cleaned his house, his laundry and waited for when he was ready to engage so I could feel loved again, whole again.

The year that followed was a yo-yo year. Hot cold, in, out, up, down. Filled with lies and deceit. He trolled craigslist, plenty of fish and online forums for women. I became obsessed with tracking his online movements. I hacked his computer and set up a fake profile to bait him. I caught him. I still loved him and took him back again and again. I knew the pattern very well by then. I saw the eye change, the walk change, felt the distance, had the warning dreams and nightmares about him but still waited with baited breath to be loved.

He used everything about me that he could. My innocence was a mocking tool. My sexuality was a weapon. My love was a bait. The gifts he had given me were weapons to use over me when we were off again. He threatened me. I still held on.

What the fuck was wrong with me?

I gave and gave some more hoping the man I thought I knew and loved would emerge again. I told myself he has a mental illness, he can’t help it and he really does love me. This can be fixed. So I held on, I righted his wrongs and gave some more.

Finally in August of this year I let go. I told him I loved him but it was obvious we wanted different things and that I didn’t want to fight but to just separate and go on with life. I did. I felt sad and depressed but empowered. The love notes started flooding in. He’d knock on my window at 3am and plead and apologise. I held my ground. He asked to talk to me. I agreed. He took me to our special beach at sunset and professed his love, opened his heart, told me he wanted to grow old with me and that he could not see his future without me in it. My heat soared. We wept. We loved once again.

My mother came to visit, they met, she was smitten also. He selflessly gave up his suite for her to stay in and stayed with me here for the three weeks. I was so happy. Surrounded by so much love.

It was the first time the whole year we’d gone steady, no blips, no hot and cold, no withdraw. I thought we reached a turning point.

Mom went home, impressed by our love and how alike we were and right we were for each other. She was so happy for us.

As soon as she was gone he withdrew. I reached out, I needed comfort, I needed my man, please baby come hold me. But that was a bad thing and I was met with emotional neglect for nearly two weeks. He gave me crumbs, just enough to keep me holding on and hoping and keep me serving and then one night I had cooked his dinner and was waiting for him to return from work. He never did. See we live in separate homes but he would come in the morning, kiss me and get a home made lunch for work and then return to a home cooked meal. Our lives were completely entwined.

He stopped texting me, wouldn’t return my texts. So I went to his pad, his work clothes were there, he’d been home and left. Where did he go? I went into the laptop I gave him and found out some bits and pieces. He was seeing a woman. He did not communicate with me for three weeks over my birthday and thanksgiving. The boys (his and mine) told me what was going on. He was seeing his friends ex, she contacted him for sympathy because her boyfriend (his friend) was cheating on her and the relationship ended. So he cheated on me to console her. I was so torn, to the soul, I was a zombie! Pain was all I knew. I don’t even know how I functioned at all.

THEN he came back, broken, sorry, more real and raw than I had ever seen him. We grieved together for 6 days. He took all the blame. I didn’t deserve any of it he said, it was all his fault, why do I love a man like him, I deserve so much more than he is giving me.

I took him back and the past month has been bliss. Then Friday night he withdrew. Gave me attitude, treated me dismissively, me not wanting to seem to needy (after all we’d spent a month in recovery together, he just needed a night alone)

I tested here and there to check in because the silence felt deafening. We had just been so intimate and close. I felt used and confused again. Saturday night I went a bought drinks for myself. He texted with a guilt trip about why I didn’t invite him. I said I thought you wanted to be alone at home. That was wrong. So I said, come over baby have a few drinks with me. Nope, I’m staying home. So I reacted! I expressed anger, why would you say that then shoot me down?

Well then came another huge discard. I was a user, a whore, a cunt. I should fuck off forever and die and get out of his life, leave him alone. So okay. I can’t take it anymore. I started selling the furniture. He flipped his lid. How dare I move on! Then he texts me some more nasty things and finally says, “I’m on a date fuck off and die you fat bitch”.

So here I am. Trying to move on. Let go for good. It’s not easy.

I stalked him tonight much to my shame but I did. He hid his vehicle in a parking lot of a local pub and whoever he is with picked him up and I am obsessing about it. What is wrong with me. Anyway I have plan. I hope to god I do it. I need it to stop. I need out. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

This is not what love should be.

***

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.

Posted in posts by you

Explaining by Anonymous.

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Explaining myself. Always explaining. I’m never prepared for it. Everything I do has to have a ‘reasonable’ explanation. I can’t just do something because I feel like it. What if he doesn’t like it? Then I’ll be asked questions. Endless, incessant questions, over and over again.

Abusers make you explain your actions.

Why did you say that? Why would you think thats ok? What are you doing that for? Why are you wearing that? Why are you talking to him/her? Who said you could do that? What are you thinking?! Who the fuck do you think you are? What do you expect me to do? How do you expect me to react to such fucking stupidity?!

Often the reasons given, albeit true, aren’t good enough. It’s not the reason he wants to hear. The reason he wants to hear he has already decided upon. The narrative in his head has decided on the outcome of this story before I even knew there was a story. Whether it is my truth or not, he will push, push, push to hear what he wants to hear. Twist and turn and distort my words to fit his version…

“He’s a nice guy, we were just laughing about how late the bus was.”

“Nice? Nice? What does that mean? Nice? I bet you were pleased the bus was late so you could chat to your new friend. I know what nice means. Oh, I know exactly what you mean.”

The truth doesn’t matter. What matters is that you engage in the dialogue so that somewhere, somehow, someway you end up practically confessing to something that is so far removed from the truth it isn’t even funny.

“Honestly, it wasn’t like that, we were both stuck there, I even told him you were coming to pick me up in a minute. He said if they were on time just once it would be more unusual and we laughed, then you were there. That was it, I swear. I wasn’t laughing before then, I don’t fancy him!”

“Can’t you see how watching you smiling and laughing with that bloke makes me feel? When you’re like this with me? When you’re miserable and stupid and fucking boring, then I come to pick you up because your bus was late. I came to pick YOU up, did YOU a favour. I was already home, I had a cup of tea, but I still got in the car FOR YOU to pick you up, in the RAIN and I turn up to find you flirting with some random guy you’ve never met before?? Look at you! You must think I’m stupid! Look at you crying now! You didn’t think that then though did you? Oh no. You didn’t give a shit about how it made ME feel then did you? How YOU hurt ME! How selfish and childish are you? Stop fucking crying for fucks sake! You see? If other people could see how fucking miserable you are with me, after all I do for you and you’re always so fucking miserable, I should be crying! I’m more upset than you are! You don’t give a shit about me, I might as well be dead.”

On and on and on. The same questions, over and over. The anger increasing, the insults getting nastier. The build up to the inevitable explosion. Me, frantically trying to explain my way out of it, hope that this time he will hear sense and NOT explode. I genuinely believed that one day he would just stop, look at me and say…

“Oh yes, I can see it so clearly now, I misunderstood, I’m so sorry.”

However stupid, naive and misguided that is, I did. So I explained and explained with hope and fear driving me forward. Until the day I realised how utterly pointless it all was. That no amount of explaining will make any difference. In fact, it makes it worse.

So, one day I made a decision. I stopped explaining. It wasn’t easy because he’d push and push. He really didn’t like it. I was effectively stopping the dialogue so there was nothing for him to twist. Nothing to feed his paranoia and anger on. I would answer as simply as I could and, where possible, walk away.

“So you think that’s alright, do you?”

“Yes.”

“Really? REALLY? Given that you’re the person you are, and what others say about you. Not ME, the others… You think, you actually think you’re right about that?”

“Yes.”

Please don’t misunderstand. It doesn’t make anything better. But there’s something empowering about not having to explain my actions. Choosing not to explain my actions. And I know it annoys him. Because he needs that talk, that nonsensical, twisting, crazy dialogue to wind himself up into a fury, because without that his excuses to abuse are even more lame and pointless. He can’t blame me for being rude, or difficult, if I don’t explain, disagree or engage… He’s got nothing to kick off about. Not that he had anything to kick off about in the first place… But he’d find something in those words… Bent into something ugly and unrecognisable if you stood it next to the truth.

And he will find something anyway. Oh, he doesn’t need my input to release a torrent of abuse onto me. But I’ve saved a crap load of energy that I’d previously have wasted on him by not explaining. I’ve saved energy that I can now use to shield myself from it when it does come. Because it will. It is only ever a matter of time.

Explaining. You shouldn’t have to keep explaining yourself. You are an adult. You are capable of making decisions on your own, whether someone else likes it or not. You can deal with the negative impact and the positive impact of your decisions without the unsolicited ‘help’ of anyone else. If someone is making you explain your every action, think very carefully about why. It is a form of control, designed to make you doubt yourself.

And doubt yourself you will if you allow it to continue.

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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.

Posted in posts by you

The Circle Of Violence by @janettaras

I met Marie one day sitting in the communal kitchen as I was unpacking the groceries. Her bottom lip was split right down the middle, blood starting to dry in between the two sides. She was missing her two front teeth. Her left eye was swollen shut and her arm was in a cast. I didn’t say hello to Marie, I don’t introduce myself, or stare. I didn’t try to fill the silence…I just unpacked the groceries.

Her little girl came into the kitchen and broke our silence. She was crying, she didn’t feel very well. She wanted to go home, to her bed, to her daddy. Marie began to cry as well as she softly told her daughter that they could not go and see her daddy. They needed to stay here, where they were safe.

I would like to share Marie’s story with you. It is a story about the vicious circle of conjugal violence, a story that can happen to anyone, or anyone capable of falling in love.

When Marie was 20 she met the man of her dreams. She was in university studying English and philosophy. Gregg was in her class. He was good looking, educated and from a good family. They spent every waking minute together until they finished university and then quickly got married. Those first 3 years together were the best of her life. She remembers all the romantic gestures, thoughtful gifts, tender kisses, meaningful gazes. Gregg made Marie feel like a princess, like she was someone special.

This stage of the ‘circle of violence’ is commonly known as the Honeymoon stage. It is the first curve in the circle of violence and it can last months or years. It is a wonderful, fantasy like time when both parties feel like they are on top of the world, where anything is possible. All New Love is wonderfully addicting, intoxicating…… and ultimately unsustainable.

Things began to change when Marie got pregnant. Somehow an invisible shift happened between her and Gregg. They had recently bought a house together, Marie stopped working and money was tight. Gregg was working in an insurance firm and seemed stressed all the time. He would come home from work extremely tense and irritable. Marie never really knew what to expect each day at 5:00pm. Would he walk in the house and kiss her or ignore her? Surely Gregg was just going through a rough patch, he would pull out of it and get back to himself again, the man she knew and loved.

But when the baby was born, Gregg became even more agitated. He was constantly insulting Marie, telling her that she looked over-weight…..she needed to stop eating so much. He told her she was a crap mother…… the baby was always crying because she didn’t know what she was doing. He told her that her cooking was tasteless…. why couldn’t she follow a simple recipe? At the same time, he became more demanding of her, wanting her to be home every night, dissuading her from seeing her friends and family.

The second stage of the circle of violence is called ‘Tension Building’. This stage can take many forms but it always has similar traits: The abuser becomes finicky and picky about everything; the victim feels like she is walking on egg shells.

Marie started thinking about going back to work, to get her mind off her problems at home. She called her old boss and asked if there were any positions open. As luck would have it, there was a maternity cover coming up and it could be a possibility for her. She was excited and would tell Gregg that night and they could start making plans for their daughters care.

When he came home that evening at 5pm, Marie could see that he was not happy. He ignored her, sneered when she tried to speak. When she finally got the courage to tell him that she planned to go back to work…. This got his attention. Gregg looked her in the eye for the first time that day….and he spit in her face. He grabbed her and threw her against the wall. He asked her what was so hard about staying home and living the life of luxury while he worked so hard to keep food on the table. Why was nothing good enough for her? She was stupid, she was selfish, she was pathetic and ungrateful. And then, for the first time ever, after 5 years together, Gregg hit Marie, and kept on hitting her until she passed out, unconscious.

The third stage of violence is called ‘Explosion’. Unfortunately the tension stage always leads here. The explosion might be physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse. Each hurts in different ways, all leaving scars.

When Gregg called the ambulance, he was overtaken by remorse for what he had just done. He went to the hospital with Marie, holding her hand the whole time. When she awoke, his eyes were filled with tears and he pleaded with her to forgive him. He had no idea what came over him. If only she would have spoken to him before calling her boss, this would never have happened. He begged her not to leave him, he could be who he used to be, if only she could be more sympathetic. Marie loves Gregg and believed that he would change… If she just tried a bit harder.

To gain the trust back into the relationship the abuser generally goes back into the honeymoon phase offering gifts, promising to change, blaming the other person and finding ways to coerce the other person to stay in the relationship.

When I met Marie in the kitchen that day, it was not the first time I had seen her in the safe house, but it was the first time we spoke. We spoke about how difficult life can be, about what makes us want to change, and how important change can be…….. Then after a few weeks, when her wounds were healing and her strength returned, Marie and her daughter finally left the safe house….. and went home to Gregg.

I volunteered at a crisis centre in Montreal, Quebec.  This is where I met many women like Marie.   

Please do anything that you can to stop the violence. 

Thank you for reading,

JT (Janet Tarasofsky)

Originally posted by @janettaras on 7th January 2013. Find the original site for this powerful post here.

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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.

Posted in posts by you

Opening Up And Finding My Voice… At Last. By @MutteringMummy

Opening Up

Opening Up And Finding My Voice… At last.

By

@MutteringMummy

What would you do if the person you loved hit you?
What would you do if the person you loved verbally abused you on a daily basis?
What would you do if the person you loved dictated who you could speak to and where you worked?
What would you do if the person you loved made you dinner and then smashed the plate over your head because you didn’t eat it quick enough?
What would you do if the person you loved dragged you through the house by the hair because they didn’t want you sitting on the back doorstep?
What would you do if the person you loved smashed your phone so you couldn’t phone for help when they locked you in the house?
What would you do if the person you loved told you it would be your fault if they had to find another partner and abused them because you had split up with them?
What would you do if the person you loved wouldn’t listen when you told them no when they initiated sex with you?

I always said that I would leave anyone who abused me. I would leave them the very first time that they did it and I would never go back. I was wrong.

It took me 2 years and a lot of heartache to get out of that relationship but I DID IT!! It took a long time for me to trust anyone else not to hurt me. I feel very lucky and honoured that I can now call the one I trusted my husband.

Thanks for reading xx

First publish here on 4th August 2013 by @MutteringMummy

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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.