Domestic abuse

As I stand hiding behind the door of my living room, I can hear the bangs, screams and shouts from my ex boyfriend. I am scared, embarrassed and wondering what the hell I have to do to get me out of this situation of domestic abuse. It seems to be never ending. He is trying to break into my apartment, to get to me. This is not the first time, I have had things thrown through my windows, holes kicked into my front door, the list is endless. How did I end up here, I ask myself?

How did I get into abusive relationship?

We had split up a while ago and it had always been a rocky relationship, my boyfriend was abusive and violent, especially after he had been drinking. I tell a lie when we started dating he was ok, sweetness and jokes, with some cheeky charm to boot. I mean, don’t get me wrong he was not the first, this was a little cycle that was emerging in my early twenties. It was one pointless loser after another. Even the pattern was the same, meet each other, he would be nice and woo me, then he would get jealous, stalk me and be abusive. I would go from feeing happy, to being terrified. I always blamed me for everything and so did he, so I was further down in the pits of despair than ever before. The self-loathing was growing and the belief I would feel for what he said I was, was only getting more intense.

He would fly off the handle if someone so much as looked at me, I would be to blame, obviously! It was how I was dressed, that I gave the person eye contact, that I replied when I was spoken to. Anything, literally anything and everything was his justification to be a horrible person and to abuse me. I just accepted this, I even believed some of what he said and did. Maybe this was why I believed him when he said he would kill me, so I stayed with him as I was scared. I guess I was also kind of brainwashed into holding onto the good times, because believe it or not there were actually some. People think that you begin a relationship with a psycho, they don’t realise that it isn’t and wasn’t always like that.

It started before him, but how?

Looking back I can see how this happened to me in a way. I am the kind of person who tries to see the best in people. I guess at the time I was also really down on myself too. I had no self-confidence, so when someone showed me some attention I was sucked into it all a lot faster than someone who believed in herself. I always hated how I looked, my figure, the fact I was taller than any of the other girls I knew and was bullied for this and many other parts of my appearance.

I always felt awkward and uncomfortable. I hid it well, behind make-up, fake smiles, bad jokes and mainly behind the guise of partying. Everyone thought I was so happy, and I mean all of the time. I never had a “down” day, like ever, not even throughout all of this. Which was basically a living nightmare, my furniture was dwindling, as it was being smashed up and I was as low as I thought I could go. I was too ashamed to tell people, because what hides this soft interior is a hard outside shell, well more of a wall actually. A huge wall that I have built up over time, each brick needed after another disappointing let-down. A huge barrier to try and stop anyone from getting in to hurt me further. For all I have this huge wall built up around me, I still get hurt.

Taking action

Things came to a head after a rather violent argument and I knew I had to leave, before it was too late. This was when we split up and I eventually told a very close friend about my abusive relationship. This friend had seen some of what had been going on, even though my now ex boyfriend tried to hide it all and was very good at acting like a saint in front of others. My friend was not surprised and very concerned and helpful, more than I had anticipated. I guess I expected to be blamed, after all everything was normally my fault.

I gradually told a couple of other people who were close to me, more for my safety than anything else, you know safety in numbers. Also because the ex had started to follow me and my every move. He worked as a door supervisor in various bars and clubs, so also had a lot of contacts who could pass on information. He also started to work at a bar at the end of my street, which made any movement hard for me. He would text and call me and know where I was and who I was with. Yet another way he was trying to control me, even when we were no longer together. People I had never met before knew me and his version of events, so I was confronted and called by strangers. This was pushing me deeper into the depths of despair. Then the nights came when he would simply stand outside of my house and throw stones, bricks, anything really at my windows. He would try and break into my home. I needed to escape, I needed a way out as the whole experience was taking its toll on me and my health. I was losing weight, couldn’t sleep and generally felt like crap.

This was when I guess my fight, or flight kicked in and I decided I had had enough of domestic abuse and to save myself I needed to leave. That is exactly what I did. I didn’t move house, I moved country, which might sound extreme. However I could see no way out and I knew in order to be loved and appreciated by anyone I had to learn how to love and appreciate myself. I guess this is the moral of my toxic relationship experiences: you can survive and you will. You can move on and feel better and you will. Most importantly, you can love yourself and through doing this you will live on to be a stronger, better version of you. The road might be rough, but the destination will be worth it.

Lynne is a UK expat living in The Netherlands who writes a blog Almost Midlife & Looking for a Crisis. After the death of a close friend, she realized it was time to follow her dreams and embrace her love for writing. Lynne writes very honestly about real-life topics.

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