M.P.'s Domestic Violence Story
It started with teen abuse when MP was only 17, but soon excalated to physical violence. Here MP tellse her domestic violence story from the flattering first few months to the eventual leaving fearing for her life:
I was 17 and had been going out with my boyfriend for about nine months. We were happy, stable and living together. We had been out for a night and were a bit drunk, I made a comment about his mum and he lashed out. I don't remember the contact but I woke up lying on the pavement. Two people walked past and he was saying that I was drunk and I was ok. I was slowly realising what had happened and was coming around so I got up, bruised and bleeding from where I fell, and half ran. He was straight after me, apologising, saying he didn't mean to and was angry with what I'd said. I was so confused and scared that I allowed him to take me home. That was the first time. A knock-out blow.
What I hope by writing this is that someone will read it, recognise it and get out.
The next few days he was amazing, so in love with me again that in my mind I believed him. He knew he was wrong, he had watched his father beat his mother, and he wasn't going to let it happen to him. I had always thought that if anyone had ever hit me I would leave them straightaway, but this didn't happen. I stayed, trusted him and allowed my fragile, teenage self-esteem to collapse.
The pattern started to repeat three months later and it would continue for four years. Every few months I could feel the build up start, tension would slowly increase. I earnt more than him and he would make me feel guilty about it, so Id pay for more bills. I started to see less of my friends and increasingly I would stay in so he knew where I was. As the time got nearer he would become louder, sometimes shouting in my face, and my life more and more twitchy. He would test the water and intimidate me by raising his hand and watching me flinch, other times he would smash things up and leave the mess for me to clear.
When it finally came it was short and brutal. He would slap me around the head, though not the face, punch my arms and body and rugby tackle me to the ground. On one occasion he put my head into the wooden door so hard it dented it. He would chase me through the one-bedroom flat and corner me, finally leaving me exhausted and broken on the floor. I can remember one time when he forced me to have sex after a beating, lying under him, bruised, crying and utterly desperate.
My weight plummeted and I only noticed when I went to give blood and they refused me, I was less than seven and a half stone. I had not spoken with anyone about what was happening. Whether my friends noticed or not (some had ideas and some didnt as I found out later) I felt like the most stupid bitch in the world. Although I knew his behaviour was wrong, I made excuses for him, was ashamed and hated myself for being so thick that I stayed and weak because I couldnt leave. Every time he said that it would never happen again, and every time I agreed to take him back, it made me more stupid. I vainly tried to believe that I could change him because he loved me. I also thought that because the beatings didnt happen week in, week out, it didnt feel like real abuse. In between the bad times there were good times as well and I clung to those.
Things began to come to a head. There was an incident in a pub when a friend wouldnt let me go back with him because of the way he treated her. I stayed with her but when I returned to my flat the next day he had destroyed so much it still scared me.
Then a time when I had to run from the flat. Some people saw the state I was in, bare-foot in October with no coat, and they called the police. They came but he wasnt at the flat although it was smashed up and a window put through. They asked me if I wanted to press charges but I refused, not wanting to ruin his life. They said that I would be put on the Domestic Violence Register but to this day I still dont know what that is. Shock and fear prevented me from taking much in or giving the police any help.
The last incident was very much in public and this is what finally broke the cycle. He head-butted me in the middle of a town shopping centre after I changed my mind about something trivial. I didnt notice the blood pouring out of my nose as I retreated to a closed shop doorway but he had, and followed me there. Then a man was standing shouting at him - What the f*** do you think your doing? - but I stood between them saying that it was just a nose bleed and I was ok. In front of this mans family, wife and two young girls, with a look of horror on their faces, I protected him, and then I ran. He followed part-way but probably thought better of it after a while, not sensible following a girl whos hysterical and bleeding.
I didnt call the police and cannot remember exactly what happened but when I looked at my face, covered in blood I knew it was the last time because it would only get worse. Still I didnt tell my family although a few friends knew and they let me stay whilst he would collect his things, so I didnt have to see him. He called and left messages constantly, writing notes and sending cards, begging and pleading me to have him back. I changed the lock and didnt reply to any of his messages or see him. Even during this time I tried to be good for him, still feeling guilt. After four years we had mutual friends, and I gave up seeing some so that he would have people to talk to. None of them knew the reason we had split up.
Im 25 now. Four more years have passed by and I have had other relationships, none violent. I know my perceptions and personality was shaped in an atmosphere of fear but dont know what effect this has on my life. I fluctuate between having confidence and feeling guilt, that I wasnt strong enough to make sure that this never happened to another woman by his hand. I last heard that he had a girlfriend, long term. I hope they are happy but I remember the anger in his face and dont know. They say that these men dont change.
Surviving the violence was easy, he didnt want to kill me, but surviving the self doubt and hatred during and after is hard.
Surviving the violence was easy, he didnt want to kill me, but surviving the self doubt and hatred during and after is hard. Self-esteem seems such a simple thing to possess, a belief in yourself, but you can only start to own this when the decision to leave is made. I am now determined not to be a bitter person and try not to think of my experience as bad. I cannot change the past and now that time passes I am more positive about myself. I know that it has affected my subsequent relationships but I will not be a doormat ever again. I am just about to start university in October and I still cant believe it.
Getting out of a domestic violence situation is the only way to live again and I would urge anyone to leave now. There are no excuses for abuse, it is NOT normal.
~ MP 16/02/2003
Return from M.P.'s Domestic Violence Story to Domestic Violence Stories
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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
In Love and in Danger is one of the only books available on dating violence and abusive relationships that addresses young adults directly. Includes facts about dating violence, tips for how to tell if your relationship is abusive, information on why dating abuse happens, and what you can do if you are being abused by (or are abusing) someone you love.
To order in the US: In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships
To order in the UK: In Love and in Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships
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