My abusive relationship

In order for you to get a handle on my family’s life after leaving an abusive household, I need to tell you a little about the 4 years I spent with an abusive man. Like any regular relationship, it began positively, otherwise it would never have continued past the so-called honeymoon period. It always frustrates me immensely when people question how I could possibly fall in love with a man “like that,” when a bit of sound judgment would tell them that how an abusive man first appears, is nothing like who they actually turn out to be. In the beginning, he was incredibly appealing, enticing me with charm, confidence, gentleness and attentiveness. I found these attributes extremely powerful, and even though he developed a million more unpleasant ones as the relationship progressed, he never completely lost his appeal. As peculiar (or familiar) as that might sound to some-scattered between his unpleasantries, was just the right amount of charm and good-naturedness to keep me trapped.

Right from day one, I knew the relationship with my abusive partner was different to other relationships I had been in, but initially, I couldn’t really pinpoint why. Emotions seemed incredibly intense and the relationship progressed more quickly than anything I had experienced previously. He was very keen to spend time with me and stay in contact regularly throughout the day and it wasn’t long before his belongings started to encroach on my territory. After about 4 weeks, he told me he loved me. Not long after that, he said he wanted to marry me. At 3 months he’d officially moved in and with that, came the banishment of any trace of my previous partner’s existence in the property. Some might agree that that was a reasonable expectation however, the removal of all land and seascape photographs taken on holidays I shared with my ex-partner, seemed a little extreme to me, even at that early stage. Despite all of this, I managed to misinterpreted these red flags as signs of his devotion and deep affection towards me. In hindsight, it was probably the beginning of his attempts to gain and maintain control.

My abusive ex was incredibly sensitive about my past relationships. He would become visibly upset if I was to mention any previous partner in any context. I never deliberately did this, however, at one point I was having to deal with paperwork from a house sale with an ex-partner. He became distraught at the idea that I used to own the property that we now lived in with another man. He demanded that I should have no direct contact with my ex-partner and that any correspondence had to be sent via a solicitor. This felt like an over-reaction to me, but I accepted it. Not long after, he insisted that I deleted all male contacts from my phone and asked me to deactivate any social media accounts. I agreed, as I couldn’t cope with the uproar and in the beginning, I wanted to do anything to appease him.

When I became pregnant the posessiveness became unbearable. He became constantly suspicious of my every move, questioning me, following me, checking receipts and car parking tickets. At every given opportunity he would check through my phone, not only reading my messages, but also looking through emails and  internet history. Heavily pregnant, he would keep me up late, night after night, throwing angry accusations at me, calling me vile names, damaging my belongings and threatening me with violence. I would cry hysterically out of fear and frustration. His allegations were always completely unfounded, unfair and insulting. Knowing what I know now, it is likely that he was making accusations to isolate me, I would try to avoid repeats of his rage by making sure I didn’t give him any reason to suspect. It also turns out he was the cheat, in typical sociopath style, he just assumed that everybody must be at it.

Not long after my son was born, the threats of violence soon deteriorated into actual violence. Pushing, shoving, blocking me from leaving or entering rooms, squeezing my hand in an attempt to break it, pinning me to the bed, pulling me around by my hair, squeezing my throat and also head-butting me. The bouts of physical violence were few and infrequent in my relationship (not to minimise it) however, the anxiety of anticipating violence was continuous. As well as violence towards myself, my abusive partner frequently issued threats to harm himself. The times he did this often coincided with my attempts to end the relationship, or times when I wouldn’t do as he had asked.

Despite the agony I have just described, I think its important to emphasise that my abusive relationship was never black and white. Throughout the 4 years, no matter how bad the abuse became, there were still good bits-days where we just had a conventional existence and enjoyed being together as a family. We had ordinary conversations, we cuddled up on the sofa, we went out and socialised with family and friends, we laughed together, we missed each other and we exchanged I love yous. The emotional confusion was, and still is, indescribable and it is something that you can never comprehend  unless you have loved an abuser.



6 thoughts on “My abusive relationship

  1. So well put. I encourage you to keep posting, so that others may understand just how complex the situation can become. Even though my experience is forty years ago, so much of what you describe is so terribly familiar. I had a sudden flashback to always knowing when my partner had a new girlfriend on the side, because he would accuse me of infidelity. And just the other day, I was discussing with someone that feeling of dread that overcomes you, when even though the situation has not become violent, the anticipation that it will is almost harder to bear. My personality was split in two – the person I was when he was around, and that which surfaced when I was away from him and relaxed. Not constantly questioning myself and my actions. Good luck in the future. It took me two violent relationships and a lot of distance to break the mould.


    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts with me. Hearing other people’s stories and knowing that there are other people who have felt the complex emotions I have (and am still experiencing) is helping me to heal. Trying to write my thoughts and feelings down is hard but it is also helping to make sense of everything that has happened. Thank you also for the positive ending to your story, I’m glad you are now in a happier place and hopefully in a relationship that brings you a lot of joy. That is the thing I am working the hardest towards, learning and understanding what happened, so I can protect myself and my children from being part of another destructive relationship. Best wishes to you. X


  2. You are all very brave to write about your experiences. I am a domestic violence counselor in the US and I would encourage you to reach out to a DV agency for some extra support. The support is crucial whether you are in the relationship or 40 years removed from it. You deserve it. I wish you all the best in your journeys


    1. Thank you so much for reading Vicki, yours and others input is so important to me. I have had some support from a councillor here in the U.K., but due to our NHS making cuts (as per usual) they have stopped the home visit service to DV victims which is a massive shame. I am currently on a waiting list for some further support.

      Thank you also for your well wishes, x


  3. I am in the process of leaving my abusive partner. I hate him and I love him – he is the best and worst thing to happen to me – it is so confusing. He is currently incarcerated and now would be the time for me to safely exit the situation. However, I find myself putting money on his books, answering his calls from jail, and scheduling visits to the jail he requests of me. I do not know how to break free, and to be honest there are days (like you described) where I don’t know if I want to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for messaging me, I’m sorry it has taken me a year to respond! I decided that I wanted to step away from writing for a while and focus on my children and not let what happened to me define my future. I hope you have found peace, and I hope you have managed to get some help and support to do what you need to do for yourself and your family. I understand your pain and how hard a decision it is to leave an abusive partner. There will come a point where you will have the strength to and the longer you stay away, the more you will appreciate how much better life can be, and should be. Life is too short and too valuable for unhappiness. Surround yourself with people who always bring you joy, who always have your best interests at heart and who enable you to be the very best person you can be.

      Liked by 1 person

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