Ava's Domestic Violence Story
Ava describes very well in her domestic violence story how her dream man slowly wore her down with emotional and physical abuse, until the day she decided to educate herself on domestic violence:
I was 18 when we first met. He was nearly 10 years older and at first I didn't like him, but with I eventually agreed to go out with him. And quite typically, he was kind, attentive and friendly and I soon fell for him. I keep thinking if I just stopped and looked I would've seen the signs and could have ran away before it got to the point of being too scared to even leave the house. But of course, hind sight is a wonderful thing and all I saw was a good looking, sweet and loving man whom I was lucky to be dating.
Things moved pretty fast, I remember him telling me he loved me after a few weeks, he told me how wonderful and amazing I was. He used to pick me up in his car and drive me anywhere I wanted; if I called he'd always answer like he was so happy to talk to me.
I don't know exactly when it started going wrong, but it was soon into the relationship. He'd tell me that he didn't like me talking to other men and 'that's just how he is', he'd leer at other women in front of me and tell me how attractive they were and how women would ask him out all the time, if I got upset he'd shout at me and tell me I had to deal with it and if I ever did it to him, he'd leave me.
This soon progressed, his behaviour got more and more controlling and jealous, he wouldn't let me out the house unless he knew about it, and if I did leave he'd call me constantly asking me when I'd get home. I was allowed to wear clothes he didn't like, even when I wore a t-shirt and jeans he's tell me I looked tarty. (see Warning Signs)
He'd stop me getting any job unless it was with him, I wasn't allowed to talk to any man or even if I looked at one he'd scream at me until I walked with my head down. I wasn't allowed to see my family or friends without constant questions so in the end, I thought why bother? I couldn't even order food because he didn't trust me with the delivery man. (see Financial Abuse)
The domestic violence gets physical
I still remember the first time he hit me. I previously told him if he ever hit me I'd be gone. He must have waited until I was further under his control to lay his hands on me. We had been together a year when it happened, I was late getting home because the taxi was late, and I knew as soon as he told me to come outside and into his car there'd be trouble and further abuse. As soon as I got in, he grabbed me by the neck and screamed at me for being late, he then locked the car and drove like a luntic while grabbing me and choking me. I left him that night even though he cried and told me how sorry he was and that it would never ever happen again. I felt so sorry for him and forgave him.
This went on for years, he didn't usually have to hit me, he had enough control over me already, if I was talking all he had to do was give me a look and I knew I had to shut up. I was scared every morning of what he would do today, I had a panic attack when he was shouting at me one day because I was just too emotionally tired at being accused of lying and cheating I couldn't handle it anymore. I felt sick, I believed him when he told me if I just behaved, he wouldn't have to do this.
I thought if I showed him I could be trusted, and I loved him he'd get better, he'd love me enough to stop, he had to surely? But these things go in cycles, just as I thought he'd improved 'something' (my fault, naturally) would happen and I'd be at square one again. He never hit me too hard, it was usually push's, grabbing my arm, choking me or slapping me. Once the neighbours heard my screams and called the police while he was choking me, I remember not being able to breathe and thinking I might die. As soon as the doorbell rang, he stopped and suddenly looked clam and under control, he told me not to tell the police he hit me and I did as I was told. (see Physical Abuse)
Of course, no one knew about the abuse, he was so careful not to mark my face, and to everyone who knew him, he was the kindest, gentlest man. Only behind closed doors was he this monster who raged at me if I my eyes have even looked at another man's. The worst part was he'd trick me into believing he'd really changed, of course he's play the 'I'm so sorry' card many times, and I felt so guilty and loved him so much I instantly forgave him, but it was how he'd tell me I could dress how I please, and I thought he'd really change this time, there was hope, and suddenly he'd tell me how tarty and horrible I looked and I wasn't to dress like this anymore.
There were times when I wanted to die just to get away, I felt confused, angry, hurt and emotionally exhausted, all from the man claiming to love me.
I was scared for my life and believed him when he told me he'd kill me if I ever left, but I also knew I couldn't live my life like this as I'd either kill myself, or he'd kill me. So I read. I educated myself on domestic violence and forced myself into believing it wasn't my fault, and he would never get better. I also kept a diary of every time he hit me, or verbally abused me so I couldn't tell myself it never happened or let him convince me it wasn't that bad. It took a further year to finally leave him.
Even though I stayed in this abusive relationship for years, and stayed with a man who treated me worse than anyone ever could, I am very proud of myself for finally leaving, no matter how long it took. Anyone going through this or have been through this knows that domestic violence wears you down, it kills your self-esteem and you literally feel you are trapped and that there's no way out.
Leaving Domestic Violence and Healing
After I left I knew I could never go back, because if I did I wouldn't be able to get out again. With the help of friends I stayed away from his pleas and begging and promising that this time would be different, it was hard, but nowhere near as hard as actually being with him. I got counselling and talked to the few friends I had left, who were supportive and by just letting it out and telling someone, I felt a weight had been lifted and I stopped minimizing the abuse.
To anyone still going through this, please leave and never look back.
He knows what he's doing, he doesn't 'lose control' he abuses you on purpose. Think about that, the man you love so much hurts you on purpose.
My advice is to educate yourself as much as you can on domestic violence, and read stories like mine. Only if you understand it, can you finally stop it.
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
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
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The long-awaited book from our very own Steve from the Hidden Hurt Message Forum as finally arrived!
THE JERK RADAR
Have you ever gone out with someone who seemed perfect at first, but ended
up being a nightmare? Do you find yourself falling in love but ending up feeling
disrespected and used? Would you like to make sure that something like that
never happens to you (or someone you care about) again? If so, this book is
written for you. There are lots of books about how to tell if you're in an
abusive relationship. This is book will keep you from getting into one in
the first place. Jerk Radar will help you see how a Jerk takes advantage of
common cultural expectations and romantic myths to blind you to his true intentions.
It will give you concrete ways to test out his intentions in the course of
a normal conversation. And the Jerk Radar Quiz provides an effective tool
to screen every partner for Jerky tendencies well before obviously selfish
behavior emerges. Full of true stories from abuse survivors, Jerk Radar pulls
no punches in exposing what Jerks do and why we fall for it. This is a useful,
down-to-earth, practical guide to avoiding a bad relationship instead of recovering
from one. Read it today - it just may change your life!
To order in the US: Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts
To order in the UK:Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts
Steve McCrea, MS, has worked for over 20 years with survivors
of domestic abuse and their children. He has participated in many local collaboartive
projects on domestic abuse, and has provided community trainings on working
effectively with domestic abuse survivors. He currently works as an advocate
for children in the foster care system. He has volunteered for the past 9
years as facilitator for an on-line abuse survivor community, whose members
contributed most of the stories in the book.
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