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?