TRIGGER WARNING: Please note this post contains adult subjects around the subject of domestic abuse, rape and other similar subjects. If you are under 16 please speak to a parent or guardian before reading this for them to deem if it is suitable. If you have experiences with these things this post may be difficult for you to read please bear this in mind. My story as a domestic abuse survivor is one of many coercive control stories and may be different to others you know of in real life or domestic abuse in the soaps.
Meeting my abuser
When we met I told you everything about my past. I wanted to be honest so I shared my history of being in an abusive relationship where I was controlled and hurt both physically and emotionally. I was already a domestic abuse survivor, I thought you were different.
I wanted it to be an honest relationship with you so I was pleased you understood and told me lots about you too. As we grew together I thought you were the one. I thought we had no secrets because that is how it had started. I thought we were made for each other. I read coercive control stories and thought I was not in that position, those things happened to someone else.
You told me lies. I didn’t realise it at the time but from the very beginning, you lied to me about things I never imagined anyone could lie about. You made me feel sorry for you for losing a baby, it was a lie. You even told me the date the baby died and for years I made allowances for you on this day. When I discovered it was a lie I felt like a fool.
You told me that you had been in trouble with the police. I was pleased because you trusted me enough to tell me. Little did I realise that in the future I would discover it was a lie. You were never arrested for possessing a gun so why did you lie about that?
Life in an abusive relationship
It was like a dripping tap, you slowly made me feel worthless and that I was the reason you felt down. I didn’t do anything wrong. The only way to stop you being nasty to me was to do as I was told. That isn’t a relationship but it felt normal because it had happened so slowly. Little did I realise as a domestic abuse survivor it was happening again.
If you upset me you always said you were sorry and it wouldn’t happen again. I believed you. It was a lie, the biggest lie I have ever been told is that you wouldn’t do it again. What you really meant was that you would hide it better next time.
I thought I was happy. Surely in all relationships, there is some give and some take, this seemed like it should be normal. It wasn’t normal, you were slowly poisoning my mind against my family and friends.
You told me that if I loved you that I would put you first. I believed you and I thought you loved me too. I did everything you asked because I wanted us to be happy.
What intimacy we had changed. If I didn’t want to sleep with you I was forced to, you sulked and would be nasty to me until I had to give in. I knew from experience that if I continued to say no and went to bed you would do what you wanted to me anyway so it was easier to just to give in.
We may have been in a relationship but that is rape. Bullying someone to sleep with you is rape just as much as forcing yourself on someone is.
This became normal. My life became different, gradually I had become subservient to you. I was scared of my own shadow because whatever I did was wrong. If I made a drink I did it wrong.
My self-esteem and confidence had been knocked so much that I didn’t really know who I was anymore. You put every part of me down both my appearance and personality. I had slowly become what you wanted me to and I hadn’t realised it. I would apologise every time you were moody with me because I knew it would be something I had done in your eyes.
You only physically pushed me once so I shouldn’t have been scared of you but I was. I was scared because right from the start you had told me regularly that you had hit someone. Maybe it was a car park argument or in a shop. It was always when I wasn’t there but you told me about it and I believed you.
Inside I guess I believed that if you had been arrested for possession of a gun then you were capable of these things. Why would you lie. I thought we had an honest relationship. We didn’t. I now believe he never hit anyone and the marks on his hands were done on walls to scare me but I guess I will never know.
You had an air rifle. You told me that someone could easily be killed with one if you “knew what you were doing”. I hated it in the house but I had no choice. I didn’t admit it but I was scared. Then you decided you wanted a shotgun. I was terrified of that idea.
You watched gun programmes on TV every day, I knew how dangerous they are. You told me it would be ok. I felt I had no choice. When your application for a license was refused I was so relieved. Then I found the reason was that I had called the police previously due to you pushing me and threatening me. On that occasion, I fled and called 999.
That was on record and they refused your license due to that. You blamed me. I was scared, I knew what happened when I did something wrong in your eyes. When you told me I had to sort it and tell the police I was wrong and had lied I didn’t feel I had the choice. They believed me, you could reapply a few months later and it would be likely to be approved. You asked me to tell them that as a previous domestic abuse survivor I was anxious and had gotten carried away with my imagination!
I knew I had to get out of this. I realised that I was worth more than this. No one should feel scared, bullied or intimidated. I was worried though I didn’t know how things would be without him, he had made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right. Like all coercive control stories, this is how he kept me with him.
The magazines all share stories of victims of domestic abuse covered in bruises or who have been killed. This wasn’t as bad, was it even abuse? I knew it was and I knew I had to leave. The reality was that you were financially abusing me, sexually abusing me and emotionally abusing me. The physical abuse was so minimal as you had me in a place you didn’t need to use that as I was so scared of you.
Leaving my abuser to become a domestic abuse survivor
I did leave, it was hard, he made life difficult afterwards, he was trying to get control of me back. No way was I going to let that happen. I had escaped, I deserved better than this in life.
This was years ago now. I am in a happy relationship and know my worth. I have had counselling and I have had a lot of support. Now I have rebuilt my life and got my friends and family back who had been pushed away because of his control. The abuse is finally over, once and for all.
I wanted to share my story to show that he only pushed me once but I was still scared and he did that to me. I survived, not all victims of domestic abuse die, and not all are covered in bruises. Read coercive control stories and see if you are a victim of this, or someone you know is.
Some may be your friend, your next-door neighbour or a relative. Domestic abuse is more common than you realise. It happens often behind closed doors.
Help me share that it isn’t all bruises and murders, help me show even just one person they are not alone and can get out of this.
Helping others become domestic abuse survivors
If you want to share my story please do. If you need help then please seek it because everyone has a right to feel safe every day.
Women’s Aid is amazing for help and support along with advice. Their website is here and has a button on to get off it instantly if you need to.
Local areas often have support available too your family doctor can usually put you in touch with local support. As a domestic abuse victim, you need help but also as a domestic abuse survivor too.
Speak to the police about Clares Law and find out if you are dating someone with a conviction etc.
Be strong, be you, be safe.
Love Jen x
Please feel free to share this experience as coercive control stories can end with survival and I would love more people to see that.
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