Posted in posts by us

TedTalk by Dr Jennifer Harman on parental alienation.

An amazing TedTalk on how our societal expectations encourage and support parental alienation.

Advertisements
Posted in posts by you

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

He Wants To Clear His Name. 

IMG_3553.JPG

This is the story of a man who wants to clear his name.

A man who wants to prove to world he isn’t what his ex wife says he is.

You see, he lost him temper. A lot. Not with everyone. Mostly with the woman he claimed to love.

He shouted at her, he called her cruel names, he kept tabs on her, made sure she was ‘behaving’, he screamed in her face, threatened to get physical with her, told her she was ‘useless’, ‘stupid’, ‘a disgusting creature’, a ‘bitch’, a ‘nobber’, ‘a fucking useless waste of breath’.

He did this because, he said, she was ‘inadequate’, ‘difficult’, ‘stubborn’. He did it, he said, because ‘someone had to put her straight’, and because ‘she needed to know what was wrong with her’.

He justified his reasons, over and over again. And when she cried, when she broke, and she asked him to stop, he promised he would every time. Only he didn’t.

Eventually he didn’t even promise to stop. Eventually even the apologies stopped. It was, he said, all HER fault.

She took him to Relate Marriage Counselling, in a last ditch attempt to help him understand how much he was hurting her. The counsellor said, in the first ten minutes of the first session,

“What you have just described to me is a form of domestic abuse.”

Domestic Abuse. Verbal Abuse. Emotional Abuse.

He was abusing her.

Still, he didn’t stop. He still shouted, screamed and said horrible, horrible things to the woman he claimed he loved. He said the counsellor was “talking shit.”. He said that the woman that he claimed to love “wouldn’t know abuse if it jumped up and bit her on the arse.”. He said his sister went to Relate and said they were all “Crap.”, so nothing that was said counted for anything.

He abused her because she ‘deserved it’.

So, battered and bruised on the inside, the woman finally plucked up the courage, after years and years of being told she was too useless to do anything on her own, and she told him to leave.

He wants to clear his name. He cannot accept that he was abusive, he doesn’t want anyone to think he was, or could have been. He is enraged that she told others what he did to her. He says, “Anyone living with you would find out what I had to put up with.”. He says it is all her fault. She’s a “useless, stupid, selfish cow”, and it’s ALL her fault.

He wants to clear his name.

With his family, his friends, his children. So what does he do next?

Does he walk away with dignity? Does he say, “I’m sorry this didn’t work out. I’m sorry for my part to play in that.”. Does he respect that this is her decision? A decision that she, as an adult, can make, for whatever reasons she feels are valid, whether he agrees or not? Does he focus on the divorce NOT affecting their children too badly? Does he stop drinking excessively?

No.

He wants to clear his name.

So he wages war.

War against the woman he claimed he loved. The woman he claimed to have respected. He wages full on war.

He shouts, he gossips, spreads lies, shouts some more, he uses the children as weapons, he shouts “You’re a bad mother, I’m calling social services!” in front of their children. He keeps coming into the house where the woman and the children live, barging in saying “This is MY house.”, even though he can see the fear in his children’s eyes, the fear in his soon to be ex wife’s face.

He wants to clear his name.

He watches who she sees, who she talks to. He stalks her online activity. Even though they are separated she is his constantly on his mind. He gets drunk and behaves appallingly, frighteningly, threateningly. He destroys the marital bed because he’s convinced himself she is sleeping with other men in there. He rifles through her bedroom, through her personal and private belongings, looking for ‘evidence’ of her ‘seeing other men’, they are separated… and it is none of his business… but he doesn’t care. This is war.

He wants to clear his name.

He says, suddenly, she’s a bad mother. She was a good mother before, but now she has left him, she is a bad mother, selfish and thoughtless, neglecting HIS children. He encourages the children to play her up. To pry for him too. He rewards them for bad behaviour and for reporting things back to him. When she tries to discipline the children he runs to the kids’ rescue, and says that their mother is mad and crazy and, he will take care of them and protect them from ‘her’. He doesn’t support her, even when she is right. He wants them to live with him. They’re ‘his’ children and his ex is mental for leaving him. That’ll hurt her, he thinks, with no real regard for what the children need.

He wants to clear his name.

He fights over the money, using the children here too, by encouraging them to live with him so he’ll not have to ‘reward’ his ex with any of ‘his’ money. He fights and fights for more and more. He doesn’t pay any maintenance, he doesn’t want to have to give ‘her’ any money to help ‘her’ out. He says the kids probably won’t even see it, she’ll probably spend it ‘shagging around’. Even though this was never her nature for the previous 16 years.

He wants to clear his name.

He won’t pick the kids up, he doesn’t want to ‘babysit’ for her while she ‘goes out with men’. Later, he will pick the kids up, but only after shouting at her for 15 minutes. She finds a new home because she cannot live anymore with his constant intrusions, and she is fortunate enough, through this hell, to find a new loving and supportive partner. Now he can’t pick the kids up because he feels ‘uncomfortable’ at her house, he says she’s ‘shacked up’ with her new partner, so he keeps dropping the kids at the end of the long drive. She says the kids are too young to be left like that, and asks him to please drop them at the house. He says “no way”. So she puts her foot down this time and says that he needs to compromise with her, that he can’t keep behaving like this, she says, “When you’re ready to talk sensibly about the kids you can see them.”

He takes her to court.

He wants to clear his name.

The court says he should pick the kids up and drop them off properly. The courts don’t want to listen to the huge folder of ‘evidence’ he has brought along that ‘proves’ how terrible a person she is. They want him to move on and behave like a sensible parent, “Let it all go now, the past is gone.” the judge says. In court he says he has, he will, he sounds all very sensible and convincing. But he hasn’t. He can’t.

He wants to clear his name.

The story continues, in a never ending loop. Everything she does is, in his opinion, up for his scrutiny, to be judged, shouted about, gossiped about and condemned. On and on and on and she feels as though it will never end. She just wants him to go away. But,

He wants to clear his name.

He wants to prove to the world that his abuse was justified, that SHE is the problem, that HE is just fine.

But he’s not. If he was, he’d stop. But he can’t stop because he can’t live with the truth.

The truth is that HE ABUSED HER and in his constant and unrelenting attempt to clear his name, he proves and illustrates this time and time again.

He can never be free from what he has done. Not because she won’t move on and live her life. But because he won’t let her.

This is my story, and for the first time in a long time, I am owning it. I am that woman and I have lived and I am still living this hell.

I said at the beginning of our break up, and I still say the same,

I just wanted him to stop.

Do I hold much hope of him stopping? No, I don’t. If this last year is anything to go by, he isn’t stopping anytime soon – even though he a new girlfriend (I wish her the best of luck), even though there is nothing to fight for any more, even though the damage to the children needs repairing now, not perpetuating.

So i just keep breathing and living and being as happy as possible. I roll with the punches (for want of a better phrase).

I write here to, because it helps and, hopefully, it will help others going through similar too.

Love and light.

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 us

Abuse Escalating After the Breakup

20140404-214424.jpg

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.

Posted in posts by us

Abusive Behaviours and The Cycle of Abuse.

20140129-173803.jpg

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.

20140129-172545.jpg

***

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.