Decisions are not as easy as we can sometimes think. Hypothetically, we can look at situations and feel like we would make the right decision. But when it comes down to being fully immersed in certain predicaments, our minds do not always allow us to do the right things.
Domestic abuse is one of those positions. You may look at people who go through it and think, why would you not just leave them? Why put up with all the abusive behaviour? But is not as simple as that by any means.
Usually this is when our hearts take over our minds. When love can play a negative role and cloud our sense of true judgement. As well as this, the horrendous amount of fear of not knowing how you are going to be treated on a daily basis. Trying to keep as safe as possible, which sometimes means staying in the monotonous cycle of abuse, or so it seems at the time.
I feel like openly talking about abuse within relationships is incredibly important, knowing the truth of what some people go through every single day, but still being able to wear a masked smile and pretending that you are ok. I feel now, after a very long time, feel slightly more at ease speaking about the situation I went through.
It took me eighteen months before I finally told anyone. I had isolated myself from friends, family, new relationships to keep someone else happy.
It’s haunting, it plagues your dreams and your reality. You do not have a choice on any emotion, not until you are told how to feel by the abuser. It’s all very subtle, that’s what people have to understand. It is not an immediate punch, or negative comment. Abusers are very clever, they slowly slither into your lives, learning all of your patterns. All of your insecurities. Gaining your trust until you feel like they love you more than anyone ever has.
Your mind is constantly working, you hear them come into the house and you are filled with terror and anxiety. Have I done anything ‘wrong’? Have I spoken to anyone I ‘shouldn’t have’? Is the house tidy enough? The reason of panic behind this, is that they won’t get back and give you a little talking to if they’re not happy about a situation. It will be a push, a slap, a hard punch. Verbal abuse in which they will tell you “you’re lucky to even have me because you’re so fucking ugly and fat”
By this point you would think, i’m better than this, I need to leave. Which is where the complication of the mind and heart arrives. Because typically after being abused, they will snap out of it and turn into someone completely different. “The perfect partner” They will say how sorry they are, they will never put a hand on you again, that you’re the best thing that has ever happened to them, without you they will kill themselves. The guilt and terror convinces you to stay. Things may be alright for a day or two and then the cycle will continue.
It took me eighteen months to finally tell anyone what I had been through. By this point I had isolated myself from my friends, family, and new relationships. I wondered if anyone would believe me. After I felt like I hadn’t been allowed to speak to people closest to me, why would they want anything to do with me? Luckily, everyone who cared about me supported me to an extent unimaginable. It shocked me when the police informed me that 1 in 4 deaths stem from abusive relationships. Which is they they take it so seriously.
Leaving it all behind, was actually one of the hardest things I had to do. After I called the police, It was strange, I was so in love with him that I felt terrible, I wanted to take it all back. I wanted one last goodbye, one last way of making it better. I wanted to know why he did it. Why me, when I had always been there for him. Sadly something that you do not find out until you learn the traits of a typical abuser. It took all my strength, and strength from loved ones around me to go through with it all. I know in my heart now it was the right thing to do, if not the cycle would have never been broken.
Of course it is easy to look back and have regrets, how could I have been so stupid to let it go on for so long? Sometimes even now I will have dreams about him, some of the good times, and some of the worst times. Certain songs will come on and my heart will tinge at the thought of how much love I had. It takes a lot of hard times to get through to the good. But my life has improved for the best. Being able to see who I want to, when I want to. Not living in constant fear of being beaten or verbally abused.
I have come out of it a stronger person, and knowing what is right and wrong. Thanks to women’s groups, a counselling course called the freedom programme, and being lucky enough to have the support around me. I feel like life can only now go onwards and upwards.
This is probably one of the most heartbreaking, but truthful short films I have seen about domestic abuse. Not for the faint hearted, but it depicts the signs and emotional and physical turmoil to be caused by a partner. ( I say parter as it can happen between men to women, women to men or same sex abuse) It is definitely worth a watch.