“I was in an abusive relationship”

**Trigger: abusive relationship**

 

This is a really difficult piece to write. I haven’t said these words out loud and it’s only recently that I’ve come to the point that I think about my situation as a teenager let alone share them with people. Having been completely inspired and empowered by the brutal honesty and courage that has been displayed by those who have shared there stories for the Liberate Yourself website I feel able to share mine. In fact it’s more than that; I almost feel a duty to share my story. It isn’t as harrowing or upsetting as some that have been submitted but it is something that had a devastating effect on me and is likely to have impacted/be impacting on many others. So its time that I step up to the plate, stop repressing my issues, take that leap of faith and share my words. In a hope that, like the stories that have gone before, others will realise that they are not alone, it is ok and that there will always be people around you to talk to, and who can stop you drowning when you think you may go under.

From the age of 14-19 I was in an abusive relationship. At the time I didn’t know this and for about 3 years after I didn’t realise. I repressed those years and even now can recall very little. I pretend they didn’t happen, it’s not talked about, there are no photos, and I cut everyone out of my life from that period or who were connected with me then. I hated myself for who I was, what I put up with, who he made me become. I lost my personality and I lost my childhood. I never learnt what it meant to be me or who I was. I wasn’t given that chance.

He wasn’t abusive in the way that you picture an abusive partner. He didn’t hit me on a regular basis; I only recall one time that he actually did. Most of the time is was mind games and threats. He used to punch things close to my head on a regular basis; walls, windows, mirrors and lock me in rooms. He used fear and guilt to dominate everything I did. I lived constantly in a state of heightened anxiety because nothing I ever did was right, everything was wrong. If I rang him I was pestering him, if I didn’t I was ignoring him. He used to drive erratically playing chicken with walls and other cars; the game was to see when I would panic. If I panicked I was insulting him, in his mind to die in that way, next to him would be a privilege, so I was insulting him by being scared. In the end I started to wish he would fuck up, turn the wheel that split second too late and it would be over. He enjoyed the fear he created in me, he also enjoyed the control he had over me. Everything was done to make me scared. In my 5 years of going out with him I never once did anything right.

Whilst dating him I hated myself. I blamed myself for always being stupid and getting everything wrong, it wasn’t his fault it was mine. My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I was never good enough and that was my fault; I was too fat, too clumsy, and too stupid. I removed myself from family and friends; it wasn’t worth the arguments, the screaming and the fear to spend time with them and not him. They gave up on me; I lost my support network and arguably my only escape. I don’t blame them; I would have done the same. I was a lost cause, unable to nurture my relationships and I was a horrible person to be around. I was constantly miserable. Miserable when I was with him, miserable when I wasn’t.

Our sex life wasn’t healthy, I realise that now, but at the time I thought it was normal. I wasn’t allowed to touch myself, there was no foreplay, sex was about making him cum and that’s about it. He often made me do things I didn’t want to and the majority of time it was easier to say yes then to say no and have it happen anyway. He wanted sex all the time, which although it wasn’t healthy or enjoyable gave me an escape. When we were fucking he wasn’t shouting or messing with me he was preoccupied and it gave me time to disappear inside my head, I don’t really know what I was thinking about but I know I wasn’t there in the room with him and everything was calm.

The more I think about my relationship the more I remember about it and I don’t need to regale you with every little story of the power he had over me. But I will tell you that I got out. When I moved to Uni and gained some distance, perspective and strength I was able to remove myself from the situation and that’s when the hard work began. I have had to relearn everything, and even now I have no idea who I am and whether I do things because it is what I think people want me to do rather than what I actually want. I don’t know whether I am actually being me or whether I am just attempting to play the role to please those around me. I’m getting there slowly and surely but it’s been a while and it is still taking time and taking a toll.

I hope my story has enabled others who may be in similar situations to recognise it or start the long journey to safety and happiness. For those whose friends maybe in this situation remember to stick with them. I needed to get out on my own and do it on my own but it would have been so much easier if I knew when I did that there wouldn’t be judgement at the end but someone waiting with open arms saying ‘we always knew you could do it, welcome back’.


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