I would like to talk to you about what could be going on in the mind of a domestic abuse victim. What they are thinking, believing and what they deal with day after day. Domestic abuse victims do not get to have a break, their abuser is with them in person or in their mind from the time they wake up, during the day and even in their dreams. They cannot just get up and leave – it's not that easy!

Please read the following story, complied from the experiences that have been shared with us, to help understand some of the things a domestic abuse victim could be going through.  

Let’s start at the beginning…

The beginning was nice, love in the air, smiles and walks in the park and kind words. I felt like a princess in my favourite fairy tale, swept off my feet by my very own prince charming. He told me how much he loved me, how he wanted to protect me and I fell head over heels with love.

I answered all his texts, calls and done everything he wanted me to because he wanted to protect me. He told me that my friends were not good for me because they would drag me down the wrong path and I believed him. Why shouldn’t I?

I would say to myself that he told me what to wear and how to do my make-up because he loved me. He got angry when I spoke to any other men and accused me of cheating because he was jealous. He would check my phone, my Facebook, emails and told me I was his property – I belonged to him.

Then one day he came home from work, I was making dinner – but it was not what he asked me to do. And then it happened.  Before I knew what was going on my cheek was red, his hand print burning on my skin and my lip swelling.  I started crying asking him why he would do that.  He said he was sorry, he didn’t mean it, he just lost control.  He promised he would make it up to me and that he would never do it again.  We ordered some take out, sat down and watched TV.  The next day he got me flowers.  It was proof that he loved me and he promised never to do it again.

I forgave him, because I loved him.  I never told my friends because they wouldn’t understand.  They don’t know him the way I do.  They don’t understand that he had a bad day and I felt like it was my fault - he did tell me what he wanted for dinner and I didn’t listen.  I convinced myself that it was my fault and all I need to do is exactly as he asks.  That makes him happy and if he is happy I will be happy too.

I spent my days cleaning, washing, cooking and making sure everything was in order.  I made sure I only wore clothes he had approved and wore my make up just the way he liked it.  I tried all I could to make sure everything was right.  But it was never enough.  The slaps, kicks and pulling hair kept coming.  I became an expert in hiding my bruises with make up so work colleagues couldn’t see.  If they don’t see it, they won’t ask me about it.

When I got pregnant he accused me of cheating and said that the baby was not his.  He hit me so hard I fell over and I begged him to stop - trying to protect the life inside me.  My growing belly didn’t stop him and it became more difficult to come up with reasons why I had so many bruises.  My midwife tried talking to me but he was there with me the whole time.  He came with me to every appointment, every scan and never left the room.  When our son was born I knew there and then I had to protect him.

At first the situation calmed down and my fairy tale prince charming returned to me.  I was so happy, as I had my prince charming back and now I had my son.  Everything was going to be okay. But I was so wrong…

I was told by my abuser that I was the worst mother.  Everything I did was wrong and he said he would take my son away from me.  I was not allowed to breastfeed because he decided it was not good for the baby.  I had to lie to medical professionals that it was my choice.  But I knew that if I don’t do as he asked, I would be punished.  He didn’t care where the baby was when he punched me.  He didn’t care that our son was crying in my arms when he slapped me.  He didn’t care that his screaming and shouting was scaring our son, he would tell me it was my fault.

Slowly I started to realised that this would never change.  That my prince charming doesn’t exist, it was just a mask and a trap to lure me in.  I started looking for a way out.  I couldn’t tell my friends and family the truth, they would judge me. They would ask me questions like “why didn’t you leave before?” or “why did you stay?” or “why did you have a baby with him?”.  They would never understand that the hope my prince charming would return was stronger that any rational thinking.  All I wanted was a family, to be happy to make him happy.

I felt trapped, buried deep in abyss with no way out.  I wished that my friends would just understand what I was thinking, to understand that I had no choice but to stay in order to protect me and my son.   I was screaming in my mind at the doctors to ask me if I was okay and to ask my abuser to leave the room so I could talk to them.  But nobody did, nobody was able to read my mind.  They all saw how nice and caring he was when they were around.  He was good at that.  He was able to be the nicest person you have ever met when there were people around us.

They would never believe me if I told them how he truly is. I convinced myself that this is my life now.  But then one day, he came home and I saw the look in his eyes. I knew what was going to happen.  It didn’t matter that everything was done exactly as he asked.  I knew that he would find something.  I was right, I even don’t remember what it was, but as I felt the familiar pain in my face something deep inside me told me to take my son and run.

I waited for him to go into the living room to sit on the sofa and pass out drunk.  I sneaked into my son’s room, picked him up and ran out.  I went to my neighbour house, knocked on their door and burst out crying.

They did not ask me anything, they just took me in, locked the door and phoned the police.  We waited for police to arrive me still holding my son in my arms and I told them everything.

 Do you know what happed next?

Nobody judged me, nobody said it was my fault they believed me! It was the first time in very long time I cried but not because I was scared - but because I was free...

 

If you are concerned about anything that you have read about in this story and think that you might be in an abusive or controlling relationship, or think that someone you know is experiencing this and you want to know how to help them, then please do reach out to us and let one of our practitioners talk things through with you to see how we can help.

There are a range of ways you can make contact - either by our online "Get Help" form, our online chat, call Compass on 0330 333 7 4440 or call us directly on 01206 500585 option 2 during normal working hours.  We're always here to help.