Allison's Domestic Abuse Story
A domestic abuse story spanning thirteen years of her abusive relationship written by Allison Porter:
I know when it began, only, I don’t know why. I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I can still see his face; see the anger and hatred etched upon it. It happened so fast. I never saw it coming. I learned a lot then. I learnt to notice the signs. I learnt to do as I was told. That was how I learned to walk on egg shells – it’s an art that must be mastered. Only I could never quite master it, not to his standards anyway.
The first time, the day the monster reared its ugly head, I thought it was happening to someone else, that I was on the outside looking in. I couldn’t believe that it was happening or perhaps I just didn’t want to believe. All I did was say “No” and for that I was to pay the price.
It was the day we moved in together, we’d gone for a drink to celebrate. When we got back to the flat his mood changed instantly. I don’t know why. He told me to pack my things and move back home, but that was something I just couldn’t do. You see I’d given up so much I couldn’t go back. Stubbornness and pride made me stay. CRACK – it hit me like a lightening bolt on the cheek. I was so stunned by the force of his fist that I was knocked off my feet. I lay on the floor speechless, holding my cheek, the pain burning into it. I was vaguely aware of him saying something. I watched him talking through clenched teeth, not hearing a word he was saying. I was still reeling from the punch. I watched him lunge towards me. There was nothing I could do – I was frozen to the spot. He grabbed me by the throat. Next I knew I was pinned against the wall, my feet dangling in mid air. Where he got the strength from I’ll never know. “CAN’T BREATHE” I remember thinking. I could feel the blood rushing to my head. In a will to survive I did the only thing I could think of – I used every last bit of energy I had and kneed him in the groin. BAD MOVE! He didn’t even flinch.
“If I say get over there then I mean get over there now” he snarled.
You may ask “Why didn’t you leave then?” I couldn’t leave. You see I had been married before. My husband hit me once and I did the sensible thing – I left. I moved back home to my folks. “All the more reason to leave now” I hear you say. No, can never leave – can’t do that. I’ll stay. I’ll make it work.I couldn’t move; my feet were still in mid air. I couldn’t speak; his hands were still around my throat. Next I knew I was hurled across the room and smashed against the wall. I lay crumpled in the corner gasping air. Afraid to move, afraid to speak I lay as still as could be. I heard him leave but I still lay there. I don’t know how long it was before I moved but it felt like hours. Only once he was gone did I allow myself to cry. I cried like I had never cried before. I shed tears of hurt, tears of humiliation, tears of pain, and tears of frustration. I replayed it over and over in my mind not wanting to believe what had just happened.
You may ask “Why didn’t you leave then?” I couldn’t leave. You see I had been married before. My husband hit me once and I did the sensible thing – I left. I moved back home to my folks. “All the more reason to leave now” I hear you say. No, can never leave – can’t do that. I’ll stay. I’ll make it work.
When I’d settled in back home with my folks I decided to have a night out – still sporting a black eye. I went to listen to a band play and there he was. He ended up going to the same party as me afterwards. He never left my side. I was flattered. Here was a man paying me attention. He seemed to hang on my every word. I explained about the black eye. He was horrified.
“No man will ever hit you again” he said “I won’t let that happen”.
I felt safe then.
I got home and thought that it would be the start of a casual relationship – nothing heavy, just two people enjoying each others company. How wrong I was. He had other ideas. He phoned constantly, even sent a taxi to pick me up and take me to a party after I’d already declined the invitation. It was easier to go along with it than put up with the speeches and lectures from my folks (they didn’t approve as I’d not long left my husband). Then came the day when my father sat me down and told me that he was no good. Said that He’d been in prison, had been in bother all his life. I didn’t want to hear it. You see to me he was someone who really cared, loved me and I thought that I needed him.
Next day he called, told me to pack my things. He’d found us a flat miles away. He wanted to be with me. So I did. I packed up as much as I could. I left a letter for my folks, didn’t tell them where I was going but asked them to be happy for me. Then I left. I was making my bed and I was going to lie in it. Only little did I know that the bed I had made was made of thorns.
It was a shared flat. We slept on a mattress on the floor. Hardly idyllic. We had very little money but we got by. This was to be my new life, my new story, my new domestic abuse story.
When he returned on that first night he was full of apologies. I believed that he genuinely was sorry and that this was a one off. This was never going to happen to me again. He told me that it was my entire fault, no wonder my first marriage had failed. I thought then that it was obviously my fault. I had brought it on myself. I hadn’t been able to make my marriage work so therefore I had faults. I decided there and then that I would change. I would make damn sure that this relationship would work. I wasn’t going to go through life being a failure.
I still slipped up now and then. I know because I had the bruises to prove it. He wanted us to start a family. He hid my contraceptive pills. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant. I felt joy and fear all in the same moment. I saw an end to the beatings but feared for my unborn child. I soon realised that the end I saw was nowhere in sight, it wasn’t even on the horizon. It was just a distant dream.
Dreams – daydreams, where life is perfect and just the way you want it to be. Where you can play happy families and there is no hurt and there is no pain. It’s warm and happy and comfortable. Then you snap out of it and you’re back in the real world. Oh how I love to dream. Can’t dream when he’s here though – that’s not allowed. Got to be on my toes, walking on those egg shells.
Now that I’m pregnant he’s found us a better flat, one that we don’t have to share with anyone else. We only have a mattress but at least we have a flat to put it in. We managed to furnish it. Friends and family helped out. Everyone has accepted my choices now. If only they knew what was going on. I can’t tell though, can’t imagine what he’d do to me if I did. Anyway there’s a baby on the way now, better for it to have both its parents. I’m going to turn this flat into a home. I’m not allowed to go out alone though. He wants to make sure I’m safe. He loves me so much; he doesn’t want anything to happen to me.
My sister and brother came to stay for a short while but they cut their stay short. He went on a rampage with a hammer; smashed holes in the fridge freezer then proceeded to smash holes in the wall around my head, laughing as he did so chanting “Eenie, meenie, miny, mo”. He stopped when he heard my sister’s hysterical screams – not because I had pleaded with him to stop but because he didn’t want them to see what he was really like. I did my best to sort the house. I don’t think my siblings will return in a hurry. Inside I’m crying; weeping for the loss of my family. Outside I must act as if he has done no wrong.
I can’t go out, not without him, but he can come and go as he pleases. He’s off out once more with one of his female friends. “But they are all just friends “he says and I have no right to complain about it. I must just accept it. He had so many female friends throughout our relationship that I lost count. If I say anything I know what will happen. I’ll pay dearly for it; for voicing my opinion, but the beatings don’t hurt anymore. I’m so used to it that I’ve learned to switch off, let it happen. The pain will come later.
He’s gone for a works night out. He’s only been working for a couple of weeks but I know he works hard and deserves a night out. Whilst he’s out I decide to make a pair of curtains for the baby’s room. It’s late. I’ve been sewing by hand for ages but I want to get these curtains finished. Just one hem to go. He’s home. I can hear his key in the lock. Damn, I’ve pricked my finger. Can’t concentrate. Hope he’s in a good mood.
“What the hell are you doing?” he yells.
“Making curtains for the baby’s room” I reply.
“Get to bed” He sneers.
“I’ll go in a minute, just want to finish this hem” I say
With that he ran across the room and smashed his foot into the fish tank – his fish tank (for nothing belongs to me). I sat there frozen to the spot, stunned. Water lapped at my feet as it gushed from the tank. Fish were flapping about on the carpet.
“Don’t just sit there!” he barks “Clean it up”
I do as I’m told. Frantically I run around trying to mop up water and save his precious fish.
“Oh, and by the way” he starts “The night out was supposed to be with partners but I went with a girl I really like from work rather than go with you”.
I cried then. What difference would a bit more water make. Who would notice? Who would care?
Days later we lay in bed. I couldn’t sleep. The baby was moving about too much. I was reading a book when suddenly he sat upright. I flinched. I could see the amusement in his eyes.
“Get to sleep” He said.
“I can’t sleep, I’m just going to read for a bit” I replied.
Next thing I knew I was laying on the floor. He’d tipped the bed over. I pushed it off me and got to my feet. Before I could say a word I was sent flying again, this time by the force of a slap. My face slammed against the radiator. I could feel my eye swell instantly. The look of horror on his face told me it was bad. I stumbled to the bathroom, left the door unlocked (He gets annoyed if I lock it). He came in behind me, tried to gather me in his arms, saying he was sorry – it’s just that I bring out the worst in him. My fault again!!!
I left then, but I was back within a few days. He kept phoning, saying how sorry he was, that he would change. I believed him.
This domestic abuse was to become a pattern in my life – him beating me up, me leaving, always to return believing that he would change, but in order for him to change I had to change. At least that’s what he led me to believe.
I carried on acting as if everything was normal, well as far as I was concerned this domestic abuse was normal. To the outside world I guess we were just a young couple starting out, who were in love. On the inside, I was a wreck. I had to plan every move, everything I did from the time I got up until I went to bed had to be thought out so as not to upset him. If I cooked the wrong food, if the baby cried, if the cleaning wasn’t done right, if I didn’t make the coffee quick enough, if I didn’t make love when he wanted, then I had to pay.
All I wanted was to be happy and for me to be happy then I had to make sure that he was.
Even after the birth of our first son I wasn’t allowed to rest. Now not only did I have to cater to his needs and demands but also to that of a newborn baby. I coped. I was proud of what I could achieve in one day. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, I did the washing and the ironing, I cooked every meal from scratch, and my son was clean, well fed and happy (although he was really clingy). I jumped up to make coffee on demand. I wanted to be perfect. The more perfect I was then the more he would love me and if he really loved me then the abuse would stop.
I was pregnant again three months after our son was born. I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated. Don’t get me wrong, I would love this child unconditionally but it was just another baby tying me to him. Life was hard as it was, how was I going to cope with another child?
The beatings didn’t stop, neither did the unreasonable requests nor did he stop going out with his female friends. But he loved me, said that he couldn’t live without me.
That was enough for me – I was needed. I had to stay, had to make it work, not just for us but for our children.
We moved next door to my mother before my second child was born. Hah – I was safe now. He won’t dare do anything with my mother living next door. WRONG!!! He seemed to see this as a dare, a thrill.
Our second son was born prematurely. Not surprising really. I was bringing this tiny, innocent scrap of life into a web of deceit and lies. But I was convinced that I would make it right, would turn this domestic abuse story into the perfect life.
When my second son was only a few months old things came to a head. He had been out drinking, came home and all hell broke loose. He was like something possessed, foaming at the mouth. My eldest was sleeping over at my dads, the baby asleep upstairs in his cot. I can’t even remember how it all started or what triggered it off, but I remember what happened. He put a hammer through the TV, smashed pictures, ornaments, anything that he could get his hands on. I shrank into the sofa, too scared to make a move in case I was next. Seizing this opportunity he calmly went into the kitchen and came back with the electric carving knife. He reached over me and plugged it in; all the while my heart was beating so hard that it hurt.
“Now,” he said “Let’s see”
He switched the knife on. Suddenly he was carving up the sofa around me. I was petrified, convinced that this was to be my last few moments on earth.
“And here’s where you sat” he said carving around my head.
He’d flipped, gone totally insane. I tried to make a dash for the stairs, I had to get my son and get out. He beat me to it. As he cradled our son I pleaded with him to let me have him. He wasn’t going to give him up. I had to get help, had to get out. I waited until He was in the other room and seized my chance. I ran in my bare feet not next door but streets away to his aunts’ house. You see if I went next door then he would be after me in no time. The police came but when they went to get my son he was calm and said that I was talking rubbish. Alright the house was smashed up but hey, that wasn’t him.
I took my kids and fled to a refuge. He was insane; I had to keep us safe. The refuge was grotty, mice infested and in the middle of nowhere. This seemed worse than what I had been living with. As soon as I could I moved back home. With the locks changed and an interdict preventing him from coming near me I felt safer.
For eight months I got on with my life, enjoyed my freedom. I thought I was happy but, I still loved him and all it took for me to take him back was for him to be nice to me, some of his sweet talking. I know it’s hard to understand – Why take an abuser back into your life?, especially one that you know so well. After being through the domestic abuse I’d been through there was a need to feel loved, a need to feel needed and he made me feel that way. Besides if he couldn’t have me then his life wasn’t worth living. So I went back to the life I knew so well (AGAIN!!!).
It wasn’t long before I was pregnant again. This time I was to have a daughter, what he wanted. He doted on our first son but couldn’t care less for the second because he’d wanted a daughter. At last I’d got something right.
“Let’s get married” He said
It wasn’t the first time he’d asked. We were due to get married before but I’d called it off. This time I agreed. At least he would stop trying to bully me into it. He would have everything he wanted, his life would be complete. So we got hitched. He owned me completely now.
A few years later we split up again. His choice this time. I was devastated. I’d been rejected. I wasn’t good enough. It didn’t last long though. He moved himself back in. But it wasn’t to be all flowers and romance. He just wanted to stay in the same house but put me through hell. I went through hell alright, but so did the kids. It was tearing us all apart. I decided then that for my kid’s sake it was best for me to leave. I couldn’t watch them go through the pain of us fighting all the time. People didn’t understand how I could walk out on my kids but I had to for their sakes. It ripped my heart out the day I left. I cried constantly. I hated visiting them because I knew that I wasn’t going to tuck them up at night, wouldn’t be there when they woke in the morning. I felt so bad that I even thought about suicide.
After visiting one day He asked me to come back. He’d gone through my bag and read a letter that I’d written to my eldest son. He often checked my bag. I don’t know if he wanted me back out of pity, out of love or simply because he was fed up of having to bear the responsibility of child rearing. I jumped at the chance. Things were fine for a short while. The fighting had stopped, there were no more beatings, but then the mental abuse returned. It just sort of crept up on me. I didn’t really notice to start with.
Years later things got really out of control. Having reconciled our relationship after another six month break and having plodded along for a couple of years things came to a head. He tried to strangle me. I honestly thought my life was over. He did a real good job on me that time. We’d been to my brother’s wedding and when we’d gone to bed that night he’d attacked me. I remember his hands around my throat, gripping tighter and tighter. I could feel myself slipping away. I tried in vain to fight back, all I could think about were my kids, I couldn’t leave them. I knew he was going to kill me. I don’t know whether he had come to his senses or if the thought of prison made him snap out of it but the next thing I remember was hearing a low wailing sound that seemed to drone on and on. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from – then I realised – It was me. I was huddled in the corner rocking back and forth. He screamed at me to stop because it was freaking him out. The force of what he had done to me had burst blood vessels in my eyes. I knew then that if I didn’t get away from him for good then my kids would end up without a mother. I had decided that enough was enough, told him the next day that it was over. He agreed but then later decided that not only would he get a place of his own, have his own life but that he would still come back and forth as it pleased him and still have a marriage. When I refused, my life became hell. He dictated when and where I would sleep, refused to give me any money, tipped me out of bed when I was asleep and started knocking me about again. He would move things around, switch the heating on when I thought I’d put it off. I thought I was going insane.
My mother decided that enough was enough. She went to the police. I was put in touch with the Domestic Abuse Liaison Officer – I never knew such help existed. He in turn introduced me to my Domestic Abuse Outreach Worker. With their help and understanding I came to realise that the life I had thought of as normal was far from it. I came to realise that I was the victim of domestic abuse – had been for thirteen years. It was because of them that I found the courage to get the police involved when he had me by the throat a week or so later. Thank God I did. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder. This was reduced days later to assault to injury and breach of the peace.
Physically and mentally I was a wreck. The kids weren’t doing too well either. They had witnessed so much, but, worse than that they had to give statements to the police about their father, a man whom they both loved and respected. Their innocent lives had been shattered and all because I had thought it best to put up and shut up for so long. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I had done the best thing for all of us. The kids were more relaxed and more settled. They could be kids and not get shouted at for doing so. We were all free.
This new found freedom didn’t stop the feelings of guilt, fear, regret, anger – not just at him but also at me for having put us all through so much for so long.
I had to rebuild our lives. From somewhere I found strength. I still lived in fear of him but I knew that we had to start to live, had to undo all the damage that had been done. And we did. We made it.
The case came to court. It was put off the first time. The second time I felt so ill the day before – I knew that I would have to see him. That was what I was dreading more than anything. I didn’t know how I would feel. Then it happened – I saw him, right there in the court. I was shaking like a leaf, but inside I was saying “You’re so pathetic, you can’t touch me anymore. No matter what you do or what you did I came through it and I can get through anything now.”
Sadly the case was put off yet again due to a witness not turning up but I know that when it does happen, no matter what the outcome, just the fact that it’s come to this stage means that I’ve been believed and he’ll have to live with himself for the rest of his life. I on the other hand have a life. I moved on. I pulled myself together, started dating again – no-one special just having fun. I am a different person now, I have a life and I am in control. I look forward to my future and am thankful that I have one. I met a wonderful man two years on. We took things slow, dated for almost a year and a half before we took the huge step forward and got engaged. He dotes on my kids and me and would give me the world if I let him. I’m making the final step in my recovery from the nightmare that was my world, I’m moving 600 miles to be with him and make a fresh start for my family. My domestic abuse story has ended. My life has just begun.
© Allison Porter, 2006
Return from Allison's Domestic Abuse Story to Domestic Violence Stories
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
When Dad Hurts Mom. This is a must-read for any woman with children still in or finally out of an abusive marriage. He covers the myriad of ways in which children witnessing domestic violence are affected, the prejudice in the legal establishments and the patriartic world has made the life of female and child victims of abuse difficult. And then he gives you tips on how to conquer this situation and help heal our kids from the trauma of witnessing abuse:
To order in the US: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
To order in the UK: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
Lundy Bancroft has written what is probably the most comprehensive and readable book on domestic violence, the beliefs of the abuser and the dynamics of abuse. This truly is a MUST READ for anyone seriously trying to understand domestic abuse and how to cope with an abusive relationship:
To order in the US: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
To order in the UK: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
Many people suffer verbal and emotional abuse in secret for years, not really understanding what is happening or why they feel so rotten. Nor do they realize how easily such seemingly mild forms of abuse can be the precursor to physical violence. This book by Patricia Evans helps the victim understand how to recognize abuse, validates the victim's perception of what is happening and offers solid suggestions as to what to do to control abuse and to protect oneself :
To order in the US: The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond
To order in the UK: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition
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Amy Norman tells how after five years of unspeakable torment, she packed up her children and escaped a life of violence, drugs and daily beatings. She tried to leave numerous times but kept on returning after her boyfriend threatened to kill her, her children and her parents. Her searingly honest account of a deeply emotional and trying time gives a terrifying insight into why so many women find it hard to leave violent relationships. This book will leave you speechless at the depths of one woman's courage and triumph over trauma.
To order in the US: Living with the Devil
To order in the UK: Living with the Devil
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