Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love The Way You Lie

So Tony has been charged and is to be remanded in custody until he appears before the magistrate on the Tuesday morning. This is a court that is set aside to deal specifically with domestic abuse cases.

The knowledge that Tony is in custody does give a little bit of comfort, I feel a little bit safer though I surprise myself at just how jumpy I am. How the smallest of noises or move of hand has me diving for cover.

When Tuesday morning arrives I’ve managed to drag myself up and out of bed and get dressed, which is harder a couple of days after than it was on the morning following the assault. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to attend court. I'm not needed and I’m hardly going to give moral support but I needed to go, I needed to see Tony face to face I needed to put his face, his demeanor into some kind of perspective. I could barely walk let alone drive, but I got to the nearest court. I was then told that it was in fact being heard in the next town. I had to get there before I lost my bottle.

I arrived at court, quickly phoned my mum to let her know where I was and what I was doing, both her and my dad offered insisted that they would come and support me. No, this I had to do alone.

I introduced myself to the CPS lawyer who had recognised my from the photographs she had on file. This was apparently one of the worst assaults she had ever dealt with. This isn’t to be the last time that I’m told that. We had a chat, she explained what it was that they were hoping for i.e. Tony to remain in custody; apparently he had refused any kind of representation. The arrogance - he clearly assumed he could do a better job that any lawyer.

I’m sat in court with a layperson who is there on behalf of the police, she was incredible that day, tissues at the ready, a steady hand just at the right moment.

I heard the clerk tell the magistrates which case was on next, it was mine, I heard his name, then I saw the door open at the back of the dock and in he strolled, all swagger. He sat shaking his head as the CPS read through some of my statement he even mouthed the word liar at me across the courtroom.

I shook, I had sweaty palms, my heart was racing, I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t hear a great deal above my own heartbeat ringing in my ears, BUT I never showed anything, not for a second, I sat as composed as I could, as hard faced and cold as possible until he left the court room then I collapsed. The police were amazing that day, their representative walked me to my to my car, having first took me for a coffee.

Despite the further physical torture I put myself through that day and every single day subsequent to that that he appeared in court I had no choice. It was the only way that I could pretend to him that I was no longer scared. If I could convince him that I wasn’t then maybe just maybe it would one day become true.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lady Sings The Blues

I took no pleasure strangely from knowing that Tony was in custody. I felt fractionally safer obviously but that was it. I'm sure prison isn't a particularly nice place, but it certainly isn't like the reality that suddenly began to unfold for me.

Amongst hospital visits and hanging around the police station on that Sunday I had to see my children. The strangest thing about the whole situation was that my then barely three year old asked straight away on seeing my bruises if her Dad had done it. Both my children wanted to care for me, to make me better and wanted to know why, how Daddy could do this to Mummy when he had told them that he loved Mummy. There simply are no explanations.

It took in total 3 hours just to give my statment and for the police to take the required photographs. By the time we eventually arrived back at my brothers it was gone 10 o'clock at night a whole twelve plus hours gone never to be recovered and all because of Tony.

I didn't want to but I wasn't allowed to go home, couldn't be left alone. I had to be woken every 3 - 4 hours to make sure there was no lasting damage! Clearly they are just referring to the physical effects.

The following day I thought I would take it easy, maybe have a bath try and soak away some of the aches and pains. Hopefully my Dad would come and get me so I could spend some time with my children. The police phoned, they needed yet more details and further photos. It had to be done straight away as they were running out of time in which to continue holding Tony without a charge. More photos were taken an additional statement was given.

I received a phone call later that evening. Tony had been charged. Police had apparently pushed for attempted murder, the CPS however had downgraded the charge to a s.47 assault and threats to kill.

Attempted Murder. Strong words, was it really that bad? Had he really intended to kill me. Then the reality of the assault hit home. Tony wanted to and had tried to kill me. With all the comings and goings and the practicalities that had to be taken care of I had pushed the memory of the assault from my mind and had even started making jokes about it.

I havent mentioned my Mum yet. As a Mother I cannot comprehend how I would begin to deal with either of my children standing in front of me in the state I was in. My Mum is my rock, ever the practical one, always the leveller and calmer. As she was caring for my children her face didn't react, her eyes did. I have never seen such sadness or despair in anyones eyes. I recalled all the lies that I had told to cover Tony's actions all the times I'd avoided seeing my Mum so I didnt have to lie, looking in her eyes I knew that I had to see it through to the bitter end as she wouldnt survive seeing me like this again.

My Mum was also the person that cleaned the scene. She was the one that wiped her daughters blood off walls and doors and had to strip a bed that had gone from white to mainly red.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Morning After The Night Before..

After a fitful few hours sleep I had to get up and collect my two children from my parents, but how could I turn up looking like this. By half past eight the following morning my face has coloured up rather spectacularly. I had two hugely swollen eyes, one of which I could barely open, I had a lump on my forehead and another at the back of my head. The left hand side of my face had swollen to at least three times its normal size. My arms and legs were black and blue and my right knee was swollen and really painful and I had difficulty walking.

I managed to get myself together enough to dress etc. When I got down the stairs I found Tony sat on the couch with his head in hands. I do genuinely think that once confronted with his handy work he felt remorse. Not however remorse for me but for himself, for what was still to come. He knew that there was no cover story in the world to hide his actions this time.

He apologised told me that he wished he was dead, he wanted to kill himself. I calmly said "don’t let me stop you". I had my chance now, I had things I wanted to stay and I knew that while he was in this state I could say it ALL without repercussions. My little speech went something like this...

"Look at me look at my face remembered every detail of it. Everything that has ever gone wrong in your life is here in technicolour for the world to see. You’ve taken it all out on me. Remember my face because you wont ever see it again. Oh well actually you will, in court. Now get your stuff and get out of my house"

I then left to collect my children. I realised though that there was no way I could go to my parents I couldn’t risk the children seeing the state of me. I'd go to my brothers. He was in bed. He woke to me stooped over him swollen and so badly bruised it’s a wondered he recognised me. All he could say was "SHIT". As only a brother can he took me downstairs put the kettle on and said "come on you need a fag" Only because of the swelling I couldn’t. My top lip was so severely swollen it touched the end of my nose.
My brother then started to deal with the practicalities. He phoned the parents and explained to my dad that there had been incident, and to come round.

I have only ever seen my dad cry once, at my grandfathers funeral and it’s not something that I dealt with well. He arrived at my brother’s house took one look at me and burst into hysterical sobs and took himself into another room. Once composed he simply said "enoughs enough we're going to the police this time, get your coat".

The police took a brief overview and insisted I attend hospital, they would send an officer to me there to take further details. The hospital staff were amazing. They gave me the once over and the took me to a side ward. At this point my dad and brother were asked to leave. I put on a spinal board in a neck brace. They were seriously concerned about my neck in particular because of the force of the blows to my head.

Up until this point my brother had taken great pleasure in taking the mickey out of my new appearance, referring to me as John Merrick (Elephant Man), yes the swelling and lumps and bumps were that bad. When he was allowed to re-enter the room I could hear the nurse explaining that it wasn’t as bad as it looked but they had to be careful, again my brother saw his opportunity for mirth. He however didn’t think it was funny this time. He collapsed all 6'3" of him in a shaking sobbing wreck at the side of me.

I ended up having x-rays, tetanus and hepatitis vaccines, a neck brace and head injury care instructions. I spent the following 5 hours in the police station waiting and giving my statement. My brother stayed the whole time even when he wasn’t allowed in the same room.

The true realisation that it was not just me that was affected suddenly hit home. My dad and brother were broken men, granted only momentarily, but they were. I had yet to see my mum and children.

While I was sat giving my statement my brother had been sat at points in the main reception of the station. While sat chatting but generally minding his own business, he heard a voice that triggered recognition. It was Tony. Tony was turning himself in. I was made aware of this because the officer I was with was notified of Tony’s attendance. Oh My God, my brother. My brother will kill him. Upon seeing my response, my officer radio for support. By this time my brother had coaxed Tony outside and was just working out how to deal with him when 6 officers came racing around the corner grabbed Tony, cuffed him and marched him away.

I would kill for my brother and clearly this is reciprocated, but you know what, Tony isn’t worth it. No-one that can do this is worth a decent loving human being lowering themselves.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Day The World Stood Still ~ Part 2

Having barricaded the door the house seemed quiet. I decided that Tony had had enough, he must have thought that he had made his point sufficiently well. I was being spared any further attack. I climbed into bed, totally exhausted. The adrenaline was starting to wear off.

As I lay in bed just on the edge of sleep, I heard someone climbing the stairs. I felt sick to the pit of stomach; my heart was racing and the sound of the beat echoing in my ears. As the panic grew my breath somehow escaped me. I have never known anticipation or fear like it.

Tony started banging on the bedroom door, I asked him to leave me alone, to go away. I could sense his determination to get into the room. He slammed the door each time the furniture I'd stacked moved a little further away creating a slightly larger gap. I'd never known him be so persistent before.

He got in. I was desperately trying to get up and out of the room, trying to pass so I could run away. I saw something in his eyes that I have never seen before. I'd known this guy for four years and in that moment I genuinely did not recognise him. I couldn't get past him. He caught me and grabbed me and threw me onto the bed.

Tony then pinned me to the bed. He sat astride me, pinning my legs with his legs and feet, he held one arm down with his hand and his other arm was across the top of my chest to prevent me sitting up. He was on top, he had complete control.

Tony then began demanding that I say "sorry", he made the same demand 6 maybe 7 times. To this day I don't believe that I had or have anything to apologise for. Each AND every time I refused I was punched with incredible force to the left hand side of my face. Tony punched me so hard that in the process he managed to break three teeth.
How I managed to stay awake I just don’t know, I do know that I have never felt pain like it despite having given birth twice. Once Tony realised that I simply wasn’t going to comply with his request for an apology he changed tack.

He told me repeatedly that he was going to kill me, that he was capable, that he hated me, that my children hated me, that he could do the time, all twenty years and that it would be worth it. I have never ever heard some speak with such venom in their voice, in fact he no longer sounded like Tony it was like he had been taken over (I most certainly am not making excuses here just trying to explain the change).  This is when Tony tried to gouge out my eyes. While saying that my children hated me and that I didn’t ever deserve to see them again he jammed his index fingers into the corners of each eye and tried to pop my eye balls out. I was really starting to get desperate I needed to try at least try and get him off me. I had tried wriggling and thrashing all to no avail. I lashed out and grabbed at the side of his mouth pulling on the corner of his mouth, if I can just distract him enough. Well I succeeded momentarily, he flinched, forgot about my eyes, instead he bit my finger.

I had clearly incensed him further. All I could think about was my two beautiful babies, who I would never see again. Who would explain this to them and how.

Tony was screaming at me threatening to kill me over and over. He was grabbing at me trying to pin me to the bed and when I wouldn’t keep still he punched and slapped me across the face. Worst was still to come.

Tony grabbed me by the throat with two hands and squeezed, it hurt, I panicked, I couldn't breathe properly. It was getting harder and harder to breath. I felt faint. No no  I can’t pass out not now. I found just enough strength to shake myself just enough to put Tony off balance. He had to let go.

I now started screaming and shouting as loud as I could for anyone that might hear. I then remembered that Tony’s children were in the room next to us. I screamed his eldest childs name over and over please come and help me. Tony grabbed my pillow I could see it coming out of the corner of my eye I screamed one more time louder this time as the pillow landed on my face.

Tony’s eldest child had saved me. He had begged his dad to get off me and leave me alone and eventually he did. Just as I was about to lose consciousness for the last time.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Day The World Stood Still ~ Part 1

Tony instantly assumed that I was attacking his youngest, which wasn't the case I was merely trying to give him the whole picture to enable him to see that he had accused and punished the wrong child.

The discussion quickly became very heated. I know that look in his eye and his stance. I was determined that I wasn't going to show any fear. I stood my ground, I didn't or so I thought, antagonise, but I did continue in trying to make my point. Tony went outside to smoke, while I washed some pots. I don't remember exactly what was said but something he said put me on notice, I knew what was coming. I closed and locked the back door leaving him outside. This now did antagonise. He was furious. I went to bed. The stones and goodness knows what else started to hit my bedroom window. This was part or his standard armory. I could hear him shouting, he was becoming more and more agitated.
I went to the window, he demanded that I wake his children he didn’t want them in the house with me. I refused and said he should leave them be they were asleep why should they be disturbed. He wouldn't let it lie, so eventually I woke them, told they had to get dressed as their dad wanted them out of the house.

The youngest child was faffing about putting his shoes on, it took what felt like an eternity. All the while all I can think about is which door do I send them out through. Is Tony at the front or the back? I saw him at the front so I hurried the children through the house and to the back door. I thought Tony was still at the front. I was wrong.
As I opened the door, he flung it back against the kitchen wall and ran through it grabbing me and picking me up, he then threw me from the kitchen across the dining room. I slide across the far side of the table and into the sideboard severely banging the back of my head. I was out cold. I came to to see Tony standing over me with a flip-flop in his hand. He then started battering me about the head and face with his flip-flop.
The next thing I remember was being sat on the couch in the main living room. Two years on I have no idea how I got there. Tony wasn't in the room. As I tried to get up he appeared and again started kicking and punching me. I think I must have passed out again, next I knew half an hour had passed and Tony was again nowhere to be seen.
I managed to get upstairs and get my phone bag and keys and even to get back downstairs and out of the house. All the while I was looking over my shoulder, stopping in my tracks as I heard a noise was it him was he following me. My own heart beat echoing in my ears. I was out of the house, I'd got away.

He grabbed me, he was there right behind me. He threw me over his shoulder and carried me screaming, I've never screamed so loud or so long in my life. I was determined to wake the neighbours, someone had to hear and phone the police, please.

He carried me back into my home and threw me across my lounge against the far wall. He then grabbed me and pulled me up and threw punch after punch after punch each and every one landed and injuring.

After each bout it was almost as he took a break, to re-group. Or maybe each time I could take no more and passed out his conscience got the better of him. Whichever, I came to and again found myself alone. This time I ran to my bedroom and barricaded the door with every piece of furniture that I could move.

Momentarily I felt safe. He wouldn't be able to open a door that had two chests of drawers a large leather chair and a wash basket behind it, would he?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

And So, The End of Days..

Tony hadn’t been back in Spain very long when he phoned to say that the people he had been staying with had had enough they had thrown him and his children out. Would I help him?

I couldn't say no I felt sorry for his kids, they had been passed from pillar to post for years and had witnessed their own mother and various subsequent girlfriends of their father abused. At this point I had received in the post his new bank card. Tony asked if I would book them flights home. I did what I could and managed to organise them flights home within 24 hours which bearing in mind it was the beginning of July is no mean feat.
I had said that I wouldn't pick them up from the airport, I didn’t want anything to do with them, but I would meet him to hand over various things that belonged to him, his bank card being one.

I'm sure you can see were this is leading, I gave in and gave them a lift back. I didn't though at this point have any more to do with them.

Over the next day or so the phone calls and text messages started. I ignored them so Tony changed his tack. He needed various pieces of paperwork that he had left at my house to enable to get housing etc. I met him a few days later and handed them over. He wanted to see the children.

I cautiously agreed but arranged to meet somewhere public. The children were so excited to see their dad. They had the hugest smiles, my eldest burst into floods of tears. I couldn't live with guilt I couldn't be responsible for preventing them having a relationship.

It turned out the accommodation that Tony had secured for him and his other children was in a homeless hostel. I think they stayed once maybe twice. They were spending most of their days at mine with our children. Tony had been looking for more permanent housing and had been successful. All the paperwork was signed he had the keys, he was just organising furniture, that would only take a week at most.

I suggested that they stay with me for the week. It meant that all the kids had time together and he had time with our children, also it gave me a bit of down time even if all I did was do the shopping in piece.

Saturday I was due to go out, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Tony suggested that we had an hour out to talk. Discuss how things were going to work between us going forward. Seemed reasonable, even sensible. Not long before we were due to go there was a small altercation between his two children. Tony as always attacked the elder with no knowledge of the actual event. I made this my business, I don’t know why. Seeing his eldest child in floods of tears certainly had something to do with it.

We had a pretty decent night in all fairness, there were no cross words, we chatted to others and generally had a laugh.

When we got home I decided that it was a good time to ask him why he had sprung to the defense of his younger child who was clearly in the wrong.

That’s when it began. Over three hours of the most excruciatingly painful and without doubt the most frightening night of my life, and what I believed at the time was to be the last night of my life.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The High Price of Freedom

Happy days, Tony’s finally gone I'm free to do as I want with whom I want and when I want.
Things were definitely looking up. I started to see friends again and had quite a few nights out and nights when friends came over. I met someone, it wasn't serious and was never going to be but he flattered me and made me laugh and to be perfectly honest thats all that he did but it was all I wanted. Regardless it had the desired effect and helped to nudge my self-confidence back in the right direction.
Tony started skype-ing our children occasionally. I had to suffer all the “how could you do this to us to me, I love you all” over again and again. I continued to stand firm though.
Tony had become a little more persistent and almost desperate in his pleas. Around this time I had arranged a night out with a gentlemen friend. That afternoon I was with a close friend and we joked that knowing my luck Tony would turn up just as my friend came to pick me up. I swear you couldn't write it. Within a matter of minutes of my friend leaving, Tony appeared at my living room window. Well to say I was shocked and terrified would be an understatement.
I left him to have five minutes with our kids, more really because I couldn't breathe and didn't know how I was supposed to react. I walked to the corner and phoned my friend, who came straight back to console me. I finally found the courage to face him. So I came home, to a barrage of abuse, I was rude; he had come all this way to see me how dare I walk out without even saying hello. He was getting more and more agitated, while was having a groundhog day moment. I'd been here before so many times. I had clearly become so relaxed in the three months he'd been gone that I had as good as forgotten how things had previously been.
That afternoon turned into a nightmare. Tony tried to kidnap our children. Fortunately any semblance of intelligence left both my friend and myself and we pursued him and cut him up with the car as I snatched one child my friend grabbed the other. Tony started shouting and swearing and making threats to my friend, who clung to my youngest child in the hope that he would realise that his child was terrified and stop. He didn’t.
We finally got away with the children who ultimately spent the night at my parents as they were too scared to come home.
I cancelled my night out, I couldn’t face it. I spent the rest of the evening in fear. I was receiving text messages every 30 seconds. They started abusive but quickly became apologetic and groveling. Would I please meet him at the pub just to talk? He missed me, he loved me bla bla bla.
I gave in and I met him. I actually ended up feeling quite sorry for him. Manipulation strikes again. Despite the unhealthy nature of our relationship he was still the father of my children and for their sake I had to be the bigger person. So I agreed that during his five day visit he could spend some time with the children. He did, he also hung around me and very quickly reverted to type. Two days into his visit, I refused to have anything to do with him. This was never received well.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For...

So I've already admitted to my cowardice haven't I, ending the relationship while hiding behind my brother. Like I said it worked, I got away with my girls and in one piece.

As Tony had other children that were with us at the time the relationship ended, I agreed that he could stay in my house for a couple of weeks to enable him time to find somewhere else. I had places to go they didnt. I thought at the time I was being reasonable and trying to be amicable.

I'm at my brothers and the texts started continually. He loved me, he missed me, how could I break up this happy loving family. Telling me what song was on the radio and how it reminded him of me. Suddenly all the little jobs in the house started to be done. He even ordered tonnes of sand, soil etc for the garden. Huge magnanimus gestures, he would have a vasectomy, ridiculous things that he clearly thought would sway me and have me begging him to take me back.

Needless to say it didn't work. I dont know were I managed to find the strength but I did and I stood by decision. My friends would ring and say "You home then?" and they were shocked when I said no. I remember one girl saying "wow you're serious this time aren't you".

Tony was dragging his feet and making excuse after excuse why he couldn't move out. I finally lost my temper and said he had until the weekend, which actually gave him 48hours to vacate. Oddly he agreed. Told me he was going to Spain. He'd be gone by the following teatime. Fantastic.

 I came home to find that he had sold just about everything that wasn't nailed down. Cd's, dvd's, games consoles and much much more. None of which were his. Its just stuff, it can be replaced. At least he's gone. I changed the locks though just to be sure that if he did show up he couldn't get in.

It was all going the way I wanted. Not only had I successfully ended the relationship he was actually going to live in another country, can things get any better. No they just got a whole heap worse.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Love Me To Death

Not long after the start of my relationship with Tony I knew what was going on. Not the whole horrid sordid picture but I was aware that this wasn't a normal relationship. I have since seen the light. I was actually horrified when I did significant reading around the subject of domestic abuse just how much of our relationship / Tonys behaviour were traits of domestic abuse.

One area that I still have a pretty major issue in acknowledging, or giving its real label, is rape. I know it’s a very strong word and even more emotive. This is something that has taken a very long time for me accept. When is it rape?

Well according to all the experts that I have read or spoken to significantly more than most of us realise.

The number of times I said no. Initially while he wasn’t happy, he would accept that no meant no. That didn’t last very long. He was incredibly persistent. What I should also probably mention is that at this time Tony had a pretty serious cocaine addiction. He claimed it was purely recreational but well we'll agree to disagree.

The cocaine only sufficed to fuel any sexual desires that he had, and under its influence he refused to take no for an answer. Now strangely despite saying no I never actually got hit for doing so. However, he would just persist in pursuing his wants. He regularly forced himself on me, overpowering me.

I am to this day two years on still embarrassed and ashamed that I didn’t do more to stop him. The problem I had was fear pure unadulterated fear. I was waiting for the punch to land. While I didn’t cooperate nor did I fight.

He repulsed me. I hated him. It wasn't enough for me to just give in and let him have his way there were expectations on me to perform. Some of the things expected of me were outside my comfort zone which only succeeded in adding to the mental anguish, and giving him yet more control.

So was I, was I raped? I'm told so.......

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Kisses and Lies

I've told you about the physical abuse the beatings, well some of them I have yet to tell you bout the last one. What I havent really told you about is the mental abuse. I have to say this is what I am most ashamed of, what I personally find the most embarassing of all.
I always believed myself to be strong and independant and able to think for myself. Even now sat here thinking about it, Im not entirely sure when the mental side of the abuse began or more importantly when I actually started to buy into it.

Right from the outset of our relationship Tony was attentive. There was always a text, maybe just consisting of a few kisses. A phone call to ask how I was how was my day. When he considered that my exhusband was doing me wrong he fought my corner. I have to confess that having been single for a while it was quite nice to think that someone cared, that said I wasnt in love. Quite the opposite. My barriers were up I wasnt going to be hurt again.

My friend Andy who Ive mentioned had met Tony briefly on a couple of occasions, he didnt like him. Which was definately out of character. This concerned me, but clearly not enough.

The touching texts and calls continued, but the nature of them changed. They became questioning. Tony would interview me daily, re structuring his questions to try and draw a different version of my days events. This ultimately led to me doubting myself, I became unsure of my own movements and conversations. He hated me speaking to certain people particularly Andy. So I changed contact names in my phone and deleted texts and call logs. My phone NEVER left my pocket and I would hide it over night. Terrified that Tony would check it while I was asleep.

I slowly withdrew from friends and even family. I barely left the house unless it was to do something that we had discussed and I had for all intense and purpose his permission. It became a very lonely isolated existance.

Tony did nothing to help around the house or with his children, it was womens work he'd say always with a smile, just joking. Yet if someone did visit us, which wasnt often as noone wanted to cause problems for me, he would the perfect genial host. Which did nothing more than make me look like a liar. The one maybe two people who I had left and could confide in began looking at me in a strange manner, clearly questioning the legitimacy of the claims I had been making.

Slowly but surely he had me, and I had him and him alone. I had quickly learnt that to speak up to try and run would be far worse than simply staying.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tough Love

Over the course of our four year relationship there were many incidents. If I were to recount them all I'd be writing this blog forever more.

I'm sure that there are some people sat reading this thinking why did I not just leave. Well trust me I did try several times. In reality it isn’t as easy as it actually should be. Now remember that this is MY house and mine alone. I had not made the mistake of putting Tonys name on the title register. However, he was very happily ensconced in my home and had absolutely no intentions of leaving. When you consider that he had never owned his own home never even had his name on a rent book, and had never lived in an area as respectable as he now was, it’s not really surprising.

On one occasion feeling particularly brave I decided that I would tell Tony that it was over. We were stood in the kitchen. I explained that I was unhappy and that the relationship was no longer what I wanted. I remained constructive, ensured that I did not lay any blame for the situation with him. It made no difference. He grabbed me shook me slammed me into the kitchen wall. He then opened the back door and threw me outside into the garden. While he threw me he stood and kept his foot on mine, ripping off my toe nail. I fell backwards down three large stone steps banging my head quite badly in the process.

I decided that it was better and certainly safer to keep my mouth shut, put up and shut as they say.

Another occasion after Id tried to end the relationship he went uncharacteristically quiet, so I took the opportunity to go to bed. I made sure that both my daughters (yes I had another to him) were in bed with me thinking that they would somehow protect me. They didn’t. He came to bed muttering, the mutters soon escalated to shouts of abuse it culminated in me being punched in the face. How he actually hit me and neither of my children I have no idea, thankfully though it was me and not them.

Anything and everything became a weapon. His particular weapon of choice was the remote control, not surprising really as one hand was surgically attached to it. I long ago lost count of the number of times it was thrown at me. They hurt. He actually succeeded in breaking a rib once.

The physical abuse is hard to deal with and it can and does cause serious injury, but the number of times that I wished he would just hit me and have it done with. Instead in its place was the mental torture. The long drawn out silences, when I'd sit analysing everything I'd said and done trying to work out what had offended so that I could apologise and make good.

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Things We Do For Love..

Not long after the broken nose, couple of months. There ensued yet another heated discussion, if my life depended upon it I would not be able to tell you for what reason or why. I do, bizarrely though, remember that it was August.

I had managed to get away for long enough to collect a few belongings bag them and deposit the bags next to the front door. While I was getting my 4 month old daughters formula etc Tony caught me. Still blazing. I tried to explain that I was going to go for a few days needed some space to think. I had no idea where I was going. I could in all honesty have gone to my parents and or my brothers, but, that would involve answering far to many questions.  I'd go to a friends. A male friends. Well his mothers actually.
I was caught trying to make the phone call to Andy. My phone was ripped from my hand thrown to the floor and stamped on. Perfect I now had no way of contacting anyone. The phone was least of my concerns. Tony had now grabbed me and carried me through my house and thrown me through the front door so I landed flat on my back outside on the drive. My daughters buggy followed me out and in quick succession my daughter sat in her car seat. Yes he threw our daughter out of the house onto the drive.

While he was sat smugly inside my locked house, I managed to collect together the pieces of my phone, grab my daughter and our bags and get to a safe distance. While I was rebuilding my phone the police arrived. Andy had phoned them. They made sure I was ok and organised a taxi for me to get to my friends.

Tony got to stay in MY house while my daughter and I had to make alternative arrangements.

By the time I arrived at Andys house I was in pain, the adrenaline had clearly worn off. When we looked I was covered in bruises. Hand prints on my arms and legs. Marks from punches.

I didnt give a statement. Didnt press charges. After all bruises or none, who would believe me?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sweet Little Lies

This is the point in my life were I become the world’s biggest liar. Clearly not my proudest moment.
Bearing in mind I have a three week old bundle of joy, who is my parents first grandchild, visits from Mum and Dad were very frequent.
The broken nose incident took place on a Saturday night, now Sunday always follows Saturday and that meant that we were due a visit. By lunchtime I was sporting two quite incredible black eyes. Which under any other circumstance would have been comedic. Not to mention the hugest of noses.
As soon as mum walked in the questions began. So did the lies. The most extravagant tales any one could muster. On this particular occasion I had had my first glass of wine in nine months, had slipped coming down the stairs and bounced my face off each and every spindle from the top all the way to the bottom. Which with the benefit of hindsight is almost impossible.
Tony was never more apologetic. He couldn’t believe he could have done this to me, the love of his life. He couldn’t live without me, but, would understand if I wanted him to leave. In fact he packed a bag and offered to leave said he couldn’t live with guilt. It was a one off, never would he do it again, never had he done it before. Only he had, several times, to every girlfriend he had ever had.
That crucial piece of information I didn’t discover until quite some time later. I didn’t forgive him, to say I had would be yet another lie, but I did put it behind me. Believed it was just a one off, gave him the benefit of the doubt. Funny how the previous incidents had already been erased from memory, because this wasn’t the first time was it?
The mental abuse had started to have its desired effect by now though. No one would believe me. My friends aren’t really my friends. My family, well, they just think I'm a burden, but they're stuck with me. I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Or at least that is what Tony had successfully got me to believe.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Day by Day, Little by Little..

There were several more incidents throughout the pregnancy. One night we'd gone out, a bit of down time in our local. It started out well, chatting, laughing just a normal couple. It very quickly deteriorated to the point I was embarassed I had to leave. The raised voices were attracting far too much attention.
When we got outside I sat on the wall outside the pub, the coping stone was loose, so I moved along. Tony wasn’t going to let it go, whatever it was that he had taken issue with. He lifted the loose coping stone and threatened to smash it over my head.
The strange thing about this particular incident was that I actually wanted him to carry out his threat. I would then have proof that he was doing these things to me. Up to that point I had no evidence. I remember willing him to do it. I’m not religious but I prayed he would do it.
Tony had become quite contrived in his ways and his methods of abuse. He would actively encourage, almost force me to see friends and family. Only when I did he would constantly phone and text wanting to know where I was and how long I'd be. He would even turn up at friends’ houses, he was just passing, checking that I was in fact where I claimed to be.
He took to taking my car, despite having no driving licence, just to ensure that I couldn't leave the house. He always knew where I was. He checked my phone constantly. If he came across a number he didn’t know he'd ring it to see who it belonged to. God help me should a man have answered.
I survived the pregnancy and my beautiful little girl had arrived. A little bit of joy finally. Well no not really. Two maybe three weeks after she was born, Tony was in a bad mood. United had probably lost or something equally as tragic. Anyway I bore the brunt of his disquiet. I was holding my daughter in my arms gently rocking her to sleep. Tony walked through the living room to the dining room and with no warning punched me square on the nose, knocking me out. I'm still cradling my daughter when I regain consciousness on the floor. My nose was broken, and my daughter thankfully unharmed but her crystal white babygrow was now scarlet.
But it was all fine........ Tony was sorry.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Reality Bites

Six months in, I’ve bought the husband out of the matrimonial home and moved back. The new guy came too. Then I find out I’m pregnant. This is hard for me because while the biological clock had begun ticking rather loudly, the father, well not really my choice of life partner or father. We’ll call him Tony.
Pregnancy is really when the real fun began (I’ve subsequently discovered that this is in fact quite common).
At the time I thought those nine months were the worst of my life. Within weeks of discovering the impending bundle of joy, my life was plunged into darkness. A life that I had heard of but never would I put up with that, never would I allow someone to treat me like that. Well I did, for four long years.
Any excuse to pick fault, to cause an argument Tony would find it. At first I just put it down to us both being tired, stressed worried about the baby. I wasn’t any of those things. So what was it? I knew by now that Tony had a temper, haven’t we all if someone or something presses the right buttons?
I was two months pregnant, we had a huge row. The reason I don’t know. On that day in September in the back garden of my house Tony took a broom and chased me trying and succeeding in beating me with it. The whole time telling me that he would beat the baby out of me, if it killed him.  This was the first of many physical assaults, the last and most recent ending very very nearly in me losing my life. It’s not just the physical abuse. The real killer, and yes it is a killer, a slow silent and seeming love, that controls and manipulates and traps you and holds you prisoner. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Early Days

I find myself newly single after my husband of a long time decides that marriage is no longer for him (I don't look old enough). It's all fine. I move out of the matrimonial home and throw myself into my career. A career that in all honestly sapped the will to live out of me. The job paid well though and it afforded me a very good life, even on my own.
I discovered that after nearly half my life as part of a couple, actually I liked, loved being single, I was good at it. Whats the first thing you do as a newly single thirty - something? You buy a ridiculous sports car. Secondly, you party..... HARD.
My then friends weren't quite as pleased with my new found single status and became obsessed with finding me a date. I ignored them and laughed at them for as long as I could, then I gave in, what harm could one date do..... really?
He was a friend of a friend. Safe. We exchanged a few texts and agreed to meet. It was a normal first date. We went to the local pub and had a pleasant night. He was good company, chatty, engaging and charming. Two people from clearly different backgrounds and very different upbringings, two lives lived most definitely on opposite sides of the tracks.
We dated. This will and does sound ridiculous to the point that I'm more than a little bit embarrassed telling you, when I consider myself to be of reasonable intelligence. Anyway he had moved into my temporary rented home without me really noticing. When I did I chose not to question it, I knew even then instinctively it just wasn't a good idea.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Tale of Two Lives..

So it’s been two years, give or take, since I made my bid for freedom. That makes me sound far more courageous than I actually am. Truth be known had my big little brother not been there at the time my life would not be what it is today, assuming I would actually have survived...
I’d had enough, enough of the beatings, the control, of basically living in fear. I feared not only for me and my safety but for my two little girls.
For months, well honestly probably more years I’d been looking for ways out. I’d tried to get away, though I probably wasn’t as committed as I could have been. Something had changed this night, what I have no idea, but, there had been a definite shift. I was going to end it and regain my self- respect, my dignity and my freedom. 
I marched into the living room bold and brazen (my brother was sat on the sofa) and told my abusive partner of 4 years that it was over. Then promptly left the room leaving my big little brother to deal with fallout (like I said nowhere near as courageous as I’d have you believe), while took myself off to bed.
The following morning, with the help of the brother, I packed enough clothes and toys to see us through and left.
Was it really going to be SO easy to walk away, was he going to let me go after all this time and all those threats of unspeakable cruelties to not only me but my friends and family? Of course not.
So despite it having been two years, give or take, am I yet really free and more importantly will I ever be?