The Fresh Start
Just over a year after beginning the job that soon turned into a nightmare, I got a new job. We moved to another city, in a nice area with a newly furnished apartment. Things were looking up for us both in terms of work, and I thought this would help.
I was working in retail, in a totally female environment, which meant that he couldn't question me about any guys that I worked with. I guess he didn't like losing this power he had over me, as the control and paranoia started to creep into other aspects of my life. Every morning he'd speak to me like a child, telling me to be careful crossing roads, and to text him to let him know I got to work. If I forgot I'd have several missed calls and messages asking where I was. He tried to pass this off as being the caring boyfriend, it wasn't that at all.
Over the few months that followed he became more distant. Showing less affection than the little he was showing previously. This I did pick up on, as throughout the relationship he still tried to maintain that his behaviour was because he cared.
I started to become more aware of what was going on around me instead of shrinking inside my box. He took his phone everywhere, even to the bathroom, he had secret late night phone calls, he went out late to work dressed like he was going out and claimed he had his work boots and change of clothes in the car.
I noticed the change in behaviour about 6 weeks before I decided to do something. For months I'd been made to feel like I was the one doing something wrong, I felt like I was going crazy, what was I doing wrong? Was I imagining things, creating things in my own mind, completely overreacting?
One night while he was 'at work' I logged into his Facebook and emails (sounds crazy but at this point I was desperate). I found nothing on Facebook, but his email account showed an exchange of messages between him and a girl from work, a hotel booking for the weekend of my birthday (he'd already made his excuses) and an enquiry to an escort agency. This was all I needed. Something switched in my head, I was in survival mode and saw this as my chance to escape. Within the next few minutes that followed I had already decided what I needed to do. I saved all the evidence I needed and erased any history of me being there. I contacted a friend, told her everything I knew and my plan, as soon as he went away for a few days she was there for me.
Whilst he was away I planned when and how to leave. I had backup plans in case things got messy. I had people close by to call in an emergency. Now my whole life was consumed by my escape and the thought of the life that followed. When I think back now, the period of 2 weeks from the time I decided to leave, to the moment I left, are a bit of a blur. In front of him I was functioning the same way as I always was, doing as I was told, going to work, coming home, telling him where I was, cooking his meals. Inside I was angry, scared, but at the same time excited to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't think about what would happen afterwards, I just thought about that day.
On the morning of July 4th 2013, I was awake at 5am, waiting for him to go to work. As I heard the door slam I expected myself to jump out of bed. Instead I lay there for a few minutes, listened to his footsteps as he walked past the front of our ground floor apartment. Even the little things made the hatred I had for him flow fiercely through me. I got up. My autopilot switched and I set a course to pack up and leave.
In the following 2 hours I had packed up all our belongings, hauled a load into a skip, had the locks changed and left his belongings in a neat pile in the spare room, and left a note on the front door telling him to contact the landlord. I did this on my own, in complete silence, again not thinking about the long term, just about that day and never being in that environment again.
My dad picked me up and packed everything I owned into the car, ready to take me home. I felt empowered, excited, and and thoroughly relieved. This was the end.
- If anyone reading this has any similar experience, direct or indirect, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Particularly how this kind of abuse looks from the outside, can you tell what is happening? How can you tell? Have you ever told anyone to leave? I plan to continue this blog in stages of the relationship and recovery and welcome opinions -