I used to wonder if I would ever have a life. In fact I wondered this every day for the five long, lonely years that I lived in a domestic abusive relationship. In the end I didn't care because I was so numb, but here I am now and I want to share with you a snippet of my story.
If you are wondering why someone didn't intervene, let me tell you that there are were no scars; there were no bruises, in fact there was no obvious physical evidence that anything was wrong. The scars and bruising were real though... in my mind. I wasn't hit or kicked, in fact sometimes I wish I had been as that would have brought some sort of end to the crazy mindset the man I thought loved me persuaded me to believe about myself.
When we first got together things were normal. Well, I think they were but as I look back I am no longer sure what normal was in that relationship. To excuse his behaviour, I convinced myself that he was just showing an over-protective love as opposed to obsession and control.
I fell for his easy charm and within a few months became pregnant with my first child, and things changed a lot from there. The episodes of abuse, which had been infrequent at first, became monthly events. To begin with they would consist of interrogating me in the middle of the night, not letting me sleep and making me sleep on the floor despite being pregnant. Other behaviours involved locking me in the house and throwing things at me. I had no control over any money and as a consequence the debts mounted. I didn't have my family close by as they live on the other side of the country- I felt alone and trapped. Life progressed in this way until eventually I wasn't allowed to go out to work. By this time I had two children and felt isolated and unsure. What could I do? I had no money, few friends, no independence and low self-esteem despite having a university diploma.
I felt I had to do something so I created a business working from home because surely he couldn't argue with that? Or could he?
As I look back, I realise that if it wasn't for some business friends I made at that time I wouldn't have found the confidence to change this downward cycle which imprisoned me. As the debts mounted he agreed that I could get a part time, temporary job for the Christmas season. I became friends with the Manager at my new place of employment. There was something about this man which made me feel able to trust him with what was happening in my life. As I opened up to him, he was concerned to hear of events that were happening in my life and tried to convince me that these were not normal in a relationship.
Thankfully my new friend decided to help me and he became my hero who I could talk to before going back home where I had to act like nothing was wrong. I decided that, with my two children, I was going to leave the husband who was abusing me and move back to my family on the other side of the country. My friend decided he was going to give up his job and move with me and the children. I may have made this sound easy but I can assure you this was very challenging both emotionally and practically. We did it though, and that friend is now my husband and we have both my children and a baby of our own living all under one roof. I couldn't be happier.
The scars of domestic abuse are often hidden from view but as my confidence and happiness have soared, I have realised that there is help out there and there is a way back to freedom.
I am releasing a novel this year based on the less well-known aspects of domestic abuse. I want to help other women to believe in themselves and find a way out if they feel trapped as I did. I want to help them to take that first step to freedom. I have learnt that the hardest part is not with the breaking up, it's the life after - the weeks, the months, the years of healing from the hurt and emotional trauma from the abuse.
I know that many will relate with the story I tell through my book, "Isolation Junction" and I hope in this way to raise awareness of this silent but deadly and insidious behaviour which ruins the lives of so many.