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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.

20140120-140649.jpg

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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Avocado by Anonymous

Contains some swearing. Due to the subject matter of posts on MSV, some contain strong language. This post details dialogue as it happened at the time.

Avocado

by Anonymous.

“What are you doing?”

I was holding an avocado, already halved, with the knife poised above the stone. Whack, slice, twist the stone out. Dispose of it.

“I’m taking the stone out”.

A dark and angry look over my partner’s face.

“ You’re not doing it the way I told you”.

“Okay, but this way works fine, too. See? It’s out now”.

I went to put the bits I didn’t need in the bin, and my partner stepped in front of me. “No, but this is just another example of how you don’t respect me. You don’t care what I say. You won’t take my advice, because you think I’m a fucking cunt, and you know best”.

I was shocked.

But not really, because every conversation we had was like this.

I felt like I was being backed into a corner, with the room getting smaller.

Every day there was less margin for error and everything I said could be misconstrued into some kind of slight against him.

“Well, you don’t know best. And YOU’RE the fucking cunt, not me.”

My partner pushed past me, knocking me sideways and into the washing machine. “Ow. Hey. HEY, look” There was no point in trying to tell him he was being rough, but before I could remember that, I’d started to tell him how he’d pushed past me really roughly “Oh, what now. Have I hurt you? Why don’t you call the police then, you stupid twat?”.

I let it all wash over me. That was it now, it was 8pm and the next six hours would be an assault on everything I’d ever done wrong towards him. He’d demand to sleep away from me that night, saying that I was my fault, I was too unreasonable and emotional. He’d shout, and when he woke our children up, it would be my fault again for not leaving him alone. Then the next day he’d go off to work. Ignore me all day. Stay late. When he got home, some time around 1am, he’d expect me to apologise for my awful behaviour. And I would. I always did.

Onions. I never diced or chopped onions in the correct way either. He’d tell friends a joke, about how in our first few days of living together, we’d had an almighty row about the best way to cut onions up. It wasn’t a row, because I didn’t get my side across. And onions weren’t the issue. I wasn’t doing anything to his standard. The day I moved in, I put the washing machine on the wrong setting, and with his entire family in the next room, he screamed at me, calling me a massive fuck up cunt. I’d been made to apologise to his family for his tone, it was my fault after all. Instead of being embarrassed or telling me it wasn’t my fault, they’d told me that was how he was and I’d better tread carefully.

I walked on eggshells, for years. It was never enough. Even if I sat totally still and said nothing, there was some part of me to be viciously attacked. Everything I did was wrong, and everything I did was disrespectful and everything I was, offended him. Stupid me, my fault again. Once, my partner’s sister said “Well you know he’s a bit verbally abusive, what did you expect?”.

What did I expect? I expected my partner’s family not to palm him off on me, because I was now a new outlet for his disgustingly crude screaming tirade’s. I expected them not to back off, sit back and let a out a big, 15 year waiting, sigh of relief that he had another scapegoat now and they didn’t have to ‘deal with it’.

“He’s your problem now”. No. You saw this coming. You are his family. You recognise this as abuse, him as an abuser. You could have stopped it, you could have said something, anything. When he was screaming at you, and punching doors, driving off drunk and blaming you, you could have called the Police. Instead, you sat on your hands and waited for his next partner to come along, someone weaker and more vunerable this time, someone who wouldn’t leave him like the last three.

I guess, temporarily, they all got what they wanted. His family are very angry with me. I know because they’ve told me. “He’s a broken man, you’re meant to love him despite his faults”. Actually, they’re angry because they have to deal with his ranting and paranoid behaviour now.

And. I. Do. Not. No more. Never again.

***

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature on our blog and make many small voices one LOUD voice. We will protect your anonymity at all times should you wish to remain anonymous, so please contact us for more details.

Domestice 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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Abuse doesn’t look like abuse

Abuse doesn’t look like abuse

by Velda (June 5th 2013)

There’s a very helpful article making its rounds, called Drowning Does Not Look like Drowning. I’ve never seen someone on the verge of drowning — or at least I don’t think I have! I searched for a video of what the article describes, and found this:

The video quality is a bit rough, and I can’t quite see what’s going on with the person in trouble here. The thing that startles me is how many people are so near him and don’t even notice!

Now that you’ve seen what drowning looks like, do you know what abuse looks like? From Helpguide.org. People who are being abused may:

  •     Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  •     Go along with everything their partner says and does
  •     Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  •     Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  •     Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
  •     Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  •     Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  •     Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
  •     [my addition] Get “sick” a lot
  •     Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  •     Rarely go out in public without their partner
  •     Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
  •     Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  •     Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  •     Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

Of course that’s not to say everyone doing any of these things is being abused, but many of these are at least a good sign they are in distress of some kind and need help. Start by just being their friend — even if they seem distant. Even if you don’t know them that well. The people they know well probably haven’t noticed, or may be too close to the abuser to believe there’s an issue. You can also hook them up with some resources. Just don’t judge or blame them for getting into or being stuck in a relationship like that. Believe it or not, it’s not as easy as it looks :-p

“One of the obstacles to recognizing chronic mistreatment in relationships is that most abusive men simply don’t seem like abusers. They have many good qualities, including times of kindness, warmth, and humor, especially in the early period of a relationship. An abuser’s friends may think the world of him. He may have a successful work life and have no problems with drugs or alcohol. He may simply not fit anyone’s image of a cruel or intimidating person. So when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.

The symptoms of abuse are there, and the woman usually sees them: the escalating frequency of put-downs. Early generosity turning more and more to selfishness. Verbal explosions when he is irritated or when he doesn’t get his way. Her grievances constantly turned around on her, so that everything is her own fault. His growing attitude that he knows what is good for her better than she does. And, in many relationships, a mounting sense of fear or intimidation. But the woman also sees that her partner is a human being who can be caring and affectionate at times, and she loves him. She wants to figure out why he gets so upset, so that she can help him break his pattern of ups and downs. She gets drawn into the complexities of his inner world, trying to uncover clues, moving pieces around in an attempt to solve an elaborate puzzle.” from Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

I write this because I see the signs in people I know and care about. Maybe even in you.

First published on Single Mormon Mommy on June 5th 2013

***

Verbal and Emotional abuse are forms of abuse that can cause untold damage to a person emotionally and psychologically. Domestic abuse does not just involve physical abuse, it can manifest in many forms. Often a physically abusive relationships will have been emotionally abusive for many years before anything physical happened. Emotional and verbal abuse often never turns into physical abuse.

Abuse damages in whatever form it takes 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.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature on our blog and make many small voices one LOUD voice. We will protect your anonymity at all times should you wish to remain anonymous, so please contact us for more details.

Many Small Voices To Make One Big Voice Speaking Out Against Domestic Abuse.

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Emotional Abuse: Not as Obvious as You’d Think

Emotional Abuse: Not as Obvious as You’d Think

by Single Mother Ahoy (March 19th 2013)

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written a series of posts about my experience with S’s birth and first few weeks of life.

Many people have commented about my ex’s behaviour. There were some clear signs that he was an abusive person, attempting to intimidate and control me. But while I was writing these posts, I also noticed some smaller, more subtle points, that many of us would not automatically think of as abusive or controlling. I thought it might be useful to collect all of these into a post, so as to illustrate the point that domestic and emotional abuse are not as obvious as one might think…

emotional abuse

  • The night before I went into labour, I was told “you’re being a dick again.” There was no further explanation of exactly what I had done that was so wrong; was it the falling asleep? The not eating dinner? The being ill? Whenever I was accused of being a dick, there was never any concrete explanation, this is what you did, this is how you avoid this happening again. There was no way to avoid it happening; it was not under my control.
  • When my contractions stopped at the hospital, the inference was that I had deliberately stopped them, to be difficult. I was an inconvenience, as was the baby being born; he’d had to get a baby sitter, and needed to get back home. He rarely left his home when he wasn’t at work, because there he is the king of his castle, sitting about in his pants and having his children (and partner) tend to his every whim. Outside of the house, he was out of his comfort zone, and in the hospital people might notice what he was doing, so he was on his best behaviour; this was difficult for him. He wanted to go home as soon as he could, so I needed to get on and give birth.
  • During the birth, I felt a lot of pressure not to make a fuss, not to make any noise, not to be the centre of attention and be a drama queen. Throughout my pregnancy I had been accused of over-reacting, attention seeking and being difficult. If I did that while I was in labour, he might up and leave and I’d have to go through this without him. Similarly with pain relief, it was made clear to me that I should go as far as I could without any drugs. I didn’t want drugs any way, but my changing my mind would not have gone down well. Afterwards he bragged to people that I had gotten to 10cm dilated without pain relief, as if this was somehow his achievement.
  • When I asked him not to rub my back while was in labour, the response “why am I not allowed to touch you?!” made it sound as if I should be allowing him to touch me wherever, and however he wanted. This was a general theme of our relationship, that didn’t stop while I was in labour, or after the birth. I was grabbed, squeezed, pushed and punched (hard) whenever he felt like it. My body was not my own, and it was not for me to say where or when he could touch it.
  • After the event, he told me that when I had a big contraction and the monitor lost S’s heartbeat, the midwife had not been in the room (other people tell me she was there). He had saved the day by pressing the button to call her, having seen that something was not right with me (the midwife pressed the call button to get assistance). He also told me my body had squeezed my baby so hard I had stopped her heartbeat (actually I just had a big contraction, and the monitor couldn’t pick up a heartbeat through the muscle of my uterus contracting) – this was playing on my insecurities about being a mother, being capable of looking after a child. I had often worried that I was simply “not built” to be a mother, and he played on this a lot.
  • Throughout my labour, he was on the phone: to his mother, his babysitter, his sister, his friends, his boss. He was on Facebook and texting people. Before he had even cut the umbilical cord, he was on the phone to his mother rather than comforting me; I was not important.
  • After the birth, he told me that when S’s head had first come out, the cord was around her neck and I had almost strangled her at that point by continuing to push. Nobody else recalls this; it was not in my notes, I do not recall the midwife asking me not to push so that she could untangle it. As far as I recall, once S’s head was out, her body was so small it just followed without any more contractions or pushing. Still, I was made to believe I had yet again almost killed my child before she was even born; I was that much of a bad mother.
  • My being kept in hospital for so long was a major inconvenience. More than once I was told he was wasting his 2 weeks’ paternity leave. On the days he didn’t visit us, it was because his house had fallen into such a state while he’d spent “every waking minute” (from -12-4) in the hospital with me, instead of doing the housework (or rather, making his kids do it). It was my fault his house was a mess; his assumption had always been that I would have the baby, come home, and spend my days in his house being a good housewife. What he’d actually been doing, is going home and sleeping with his ex.
  • When S was in NICU, it was no big deal. At least one of his other children had suffered with jaundice when they were born; yet again I was making mountains out of molehills, and attention seeking by crying.
  • He refused to ever change S’s nappy or clothes; she often cried when she was disturbed like this, and he didn’t want her to associate him with crying. Instead, he stood over me and watched my every move, tutting that I was so awkward, telling me I’d done this wrong, or I should have used that. The nappy was too loose or too tight, didn’t I have one in a size that would fit her tiny frame? I should have put a different babygro on her, didn’t I have a cardigan that would fit her? I was wrapping her all wrong in the blanket; I should wrap her in two blankets so that she didn’t get cold; I was using two blankets overnight, wasn’t I? The concept of babies overheating and dying from SIDS clearly did not occur to him, and I was too scared not to do as I was told, so S was bundled up in so many layers and blankets you could barely tell there was a baby in there – until one day a nurse came to take her temperature and told me to remove a couple of layers. Obviously, the next time he came in, I was told off for that too. He knew more than the hospital staff; he had 6 kids and they were all fine. Put another blanket on her.
  • Every time I wanted something from town, or from my house – nappies, clean clothes, baby wipes, cotton wool, toiletries – I was an inconvenience. I should have packed my hospital bag better, shouldn’t I (S was born 5 weeks early; the week before I’d gone into hospital I’d shown him, this is where I will keep my hospital bag, in case you ever need to know. He had laughed at me for having even started packing a bag yet).
  • For the last few days we were in hospital, I was so down and miserable at being stuck there. My misery and exhaustion could not compete with his though; he was having to visit me in hospital every day. “how do you think it makes me feel, having to leave you both here every day?” What he didn’t add was “… so that I can go home and sleep with my ex…” which is what I later found out he had been up to.
  • I was repeatedly told, throughout my pregnancy, and while we were trying to establish breastfeeding, that I wouldn’t be able to hack it. I had always said that I didn’t want to use formula, and intended to breastfeed for as long as I needed to. He used to tweak or bite my nipples often, and when I complained that he was hurting me, his response was “you’re far too sensitive, you’ll never be able to breastfeed.” When I started breastfeeding, he said I’d probably hack it for a couple of weeks, a month tops. I was incapable, see. Not cut out to be a mother, not a good mother, not fit to be a mother. Those words were never said at the time; they didn’t need to be, because every single part of my being a mother was undermined at every available opportunity. (incidentally, S is now 11 months old, and I am still breastfeeding her. So in your face, stupid ex.)
  • He never once organised for someone to pick his kids up from school for him. This is an often-used passive-aggressive way of asserting control and making me feel guilty. His kids and lack of childcare were used on a regular basis throughout our relationship – inference being that if I were a good girlfriend/mother of his child,  I would be in his house, looking after his kids 24/7 so that he could go out and do as he pleased, whenever he pleased. The last-minute texts in front of me to get someone to pick the kids up from school were designed to make me feel guilty, like a burden: you see, now I’m having to bother other people to do your job because you won’t just get up off your arse and come home. He usually tried to get me to make the requests on his behalf – I was, after all, the reason he wasn’t able to pick his children up from school himself, so I should organise the childcare.
  • When we finally brought S home, I was obliged to dress her in the outfit he had bought, but the fact it was so big on her we had to roll the arms and legs right up, that was my fault. It was my fault S had been born early, my fault she was jaundiced, my fault she only weighed 5lb. Later on, when people commented that 5lb was a good weight for a baby who had been born 5 weeks early, he took all the credit, explaining that it was in his genes to have big babies, and he had looked after me so well (!) throughout my pregnancy, which was why S had been born so healthy. I’m not even joking; this was actually said.
  • As we left the ward and walked S to the car, I was repeatedly told I was holding her wrong, I looked really uncomfortable holding her, she looked awkward, I was about to drop her, I wasn’t supporting her head. When we got out of the car at my house, I wasn’t allowed to carry her into the house in case I dropped her. Yet again this was telling me: you’re no good at this, you are not meant to be a mother, you are awkward with your child, you cannot be trusted to look after your child.
  • I wasn’t allowed to spend my first night at home, even though realistically there was nothing wrong with the flat, and we would have been fine. The following night, when S and I did stay at home, my sister was drafted in to stay with us. The ex did not trust me to be alone with my own child.
  • The first time S slept more than a few hours, I was told, “she would have always slept through if you had let her.” Never mind the fact she would have slept through, and probably died or been brain-damaged because of her level of jaundice; never mind the fact the doctors told me I must not let her go more than three hours without feeding. I had been deliberately stopping her from sleeping through the night. I’m sure he would have an absolute field day with our current sleeping arrangement.

I used to tell my midwife all the time: “I wish he’d just hit me, and then I’d know. Everything he did could have been taken another way; I might have been over-reacting; perhaps he’d just had a hard day. Perhaps I really was expecting too much, and not being supportive enough of his situation (a common complaint from him).

Throughout our relationship, before and during my pregnancy, he would move suddenly as if to hit me, and often came at me with a knife in the same way – but he never actually made contact. When I complained I didn’t like him doing it, I was told I was over-sensitive, couldn’t take a joke.

He knew that if he actually hit or cut me, I would know for sure that he was in the wrong, and that would give me what I needed to leave. So instead he made me permanently scared that he was going to hit me.

back shot of man
Flexing his muscles for a photo; a regular occurrence.

There were regular displays of his strength: he would hold me down, hug me a little too tight, perform pull-ups and lift weights in front of me. There were stories of having been set upon by two or three men, but having managed to fight them all off. A story of winning a fight against a couple of men who later notoriously kicked a young lad to death and went to prison. There was the time I woke in the middle of the night to find myself in a headlock because he was “dreaming he was being attacked.” And, of course, there were all the times he hit his children, or told me about having had to hit them. The fact he didn’t worry about his front door having no lock, because nobody would ever dare to come into his house. Stories of the times he’d woken up to find he was physically fighting with his wife (note: he was fighting with her, not beating the shit out of her). He told me about other times, when he’d had his wife by her neck against the wall, even when she was pregnant. I was terrified. She had deliberately antagonised him into doing it though; I would be ok if I didn’t deliberately antagonise him.

After I’d stopped seeing him, been to counselling, and felt stronger, I gave him a chance nobody thought I should give. I gave him the name and number of a lady who works for Splitz, and runs extended, long-term counselling sessions for perpetrators of domestic abuse. I told him that if he would sign up for the counselling, I would begin talking about his having regular access to S. He avoided the subject for a couple of weeks, before saying to me one day (while he was recording the conversation without my knowledge), “you make out like I hit you or something.” Because he hadn’t hit me, he’d done nothing wrong. I was doing my usual trick of over-reacting, making mountains out of molehills, lying.

Many women who are in horrible, abusive and controlling relationships will not have black eyes and bruises. They may never be physically attacked. That doesn’t mean they’re not living in hell. My ex didn’t need to hit me to keep me in my place; he had broken me mentally over a long period when I was very vulnerable. I did as I was told. What he hates about me now, is not that I have taken his daughter away from him; his actions have proved many times over just how little he cares for her. What bothers him is that he can no longer control me. I escaped, and he hates it.

First published on Single Mother Ahoy on March 19th, 2013

***

Abuse damages in whatever form it takes 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.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature on our blog and make many small voices one LOUD voice. We will protect your anonymity at all times should you wish to remain anonymous, so please contact us for more details.

Many Small Voices To Make One Big Voice Speaking Out Against Domestic Abuse.

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The Effects Of Abuse Don’t End When The Abuse Does

The Effects Of Abuse Don’t End When The Abuse Does

By Anonymous

Your Words… My Words…

I breathed a sigh of relief when you left. When I told you I would no longer tolerate your verbal and emotional abuse.

I felt free.

It was a tough decision to make, and it took me a very long time to muster the courage, but as soon as I did I immediately felt a freedom that I had not felt for a long time.

A weight lifted.

There has been one unexpected hiccough though.

You’re still here. In my head.

Your voice still haunts me in my weakest moments. When I feel unsure of myself and my abilities, or I’m tired, emotional or hormonal, your voice returns.

It tells me all that you used to tell me.

It tells me that I am not good enough, that I’m a fake and everyone will soon find that out. It tells me that I am stupid, incapable, useless, ugly, pathetic, childish, needy and ridiculous.

The more tired, stressed or unsure I become, the louder it shouts.

The louder it shouts, the more tired, stressed and unsure I become.

I try to ignore it but it persists, louder and louder. Until all I can hear inside my head, screaming and drowning everything else out, is your voice, your words.

The words that broke me.
The words that stole my soul and destroyed my self esteem.
The words you used to control me, to belittle me, to hold me back from living my fullest life.
The words that stole away my happiness and killed the joy in my heart.

Your words. In my head.

And most terrifying thing of all, the thing that was the least expected, the thing that ensures that I cannot break free yet is that…

Your words are now in my voice.

I have internalised your criticisms and made them my own.

Your words have become my words. Your voice has become my voice.

This is the damage that you did.

And each time I hear them in the confines of my own head, even though you are no longer here, I have to repair my damaged heart and soul.

Time and time again.

This is the legacy that you have left behind.

Thanks for reading.

* * *

Verbal and Emotional abuse are forms of abuse that can cause untold damage to a person emotionally and psychologically. Domestic abuse does not just involve physical abuse, it can manifest in many forms. Often a physically abusive relationships will have been emotionally abusive for many years before anything physical happened. Emotional and verbal abuse often never turns into physical abuse.

Abuse damages in whatever form it takes 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.

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature on our blog and make many small voices one LOUD voice. We will protect your anonymity at all times should you wish to remain anonymous, so please contact us for more details.

Many Small Voices To Make One Big Voice Speaking Out Against Domestic Abuse.