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 lethal weapon 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 from 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, but 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 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 down 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 weapon. 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 more dangerous version. I was terrified of that idea.
You watched programmes on TV every day about how to adapt them and 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 out and tell the police I was wrong and had lied I didn’t feel I had a 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, and 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 if 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 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 Clare’s 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.
Thanks for sharing your story it makes me feel that im not alone i suffered dv 16 to 32 years before i got the right help im now a survivour of almost 2years life feels great i was physciaclly mentally abused & corcive were used for so long… it took.. a servere mental breakdown to give me a wake up call to get help theres loads of support out there which i now know i am now doing domestic abuse courses to learn as much as i can to start a career in near future supporting others
Supporting others sounds lovely well done for taking that step but be kind to yourself too xx
I was in a relationship that was abusive, but always just words and actions, never being allowed to listen to my own music, or have my friends over, let alone visit them, I was supervised on my computer to see what i was up too etc he would call me names, know it all c#@&, fat Bitch, lazy so and so, get right in my face a scream at me. And then one night we’d gone out on the town (drinking) and a club, he cracked it because I talked to a nice guy at the bar while getting our drinks (did not flirt just normal conversation) He went home but I decided to stay out because i knew people there and was having a nice night catching up. He rang and msged constantly, I ignored them and then just turned my phone off. Came home in the early hours of the morning to him sitting on the front porch yelling abuse at me (nothing new there) I turned to walk away from the house and he attacked me, in the end had me on the ground strangling me……….next door heard me screaming for help and called the police. And that was the last time I saw him as the police took him away for the night, I ended it then and there!!! he was not coming back into my life. I packed he’s things and arranged with the police a time for them to acompany him to get he’s things without me home. Thank you for sharing your story, we don’t realise just how much of ourselves we lose in a relationship like that until your out the other side and can look back and think how did i let it go on for so long. Sorry bit of a long winded comment, just wanted to share my story.
O Jen, I’m so sorry you’ve been through this. You’re such an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your story!
Thanks for sharing your story Jen. I always think it’s so brave of anyone who has the courage to share their story. And your’s shows that abuse doesn’t always involve a physical side. Sometimes the mental abuse is worse in my opinion. I’m glad you found courage to leave that relationship x