Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: To The Girl In The Abusive Relationship

Friday, 18 November 2016

To The Girl In The Abusive Relationship


To The Girl In The Abusive Relationship,

Look at you...there you are again, for the second time this month....sitting on the bathroom floor , sobbing, bruised and battered.

Blisters forming on the soles of your feet as you push them down onto the hard scratchy wooden floor in an attempt to keep your full body weight against the bathroom door...desperate to stop him from getting in.

For 15 minutes he's been pushing at it, shouting abuse at you from the other side, swearing, calling you every name under the sun, and telling you that he's going to kill you...that you've really done it this time...

Your feet are starting to bleed now, your strength is waning, and those familiar submissive thoughts are filling your mind again.... 

"Let's just get it over with....you can't escape so just let him in...let him do what he's going to do, and then it's done with for tonight....Just let it happen. You can't keep him out all night. Just get it over with..."

You start to plan out a strategy in your head. 

Will you fight back and try to defend yourself this time?  No...that just makes it last for longer.

Will you play dead and hope that he gets scared and stops beating you? 

Will you scream for help and hope it comes?

You could do that....you could scream....your best friend is asleep down the hall tonight, after an evening out she decided to crash here...she could help you this time. You could scream and wake her up, and then someone would know...and she would help you...you know she'd help you. 

But no...you decide that you can't do that...because what if he hurts her too? 

And imagine the shame you'd feel. Then she'd KNOW...she'd know that this is what happens to you when you go home from work every day...she'd know that you're just a hopeless pathetic victim...she'd know that your life is a mess.

An embarrassing, awful mess.

And you can't bare that thought, can you?

Sometimes you think that the embarrassment of letting people know what happens to you is worse than the abuse itself...because at least the abuse is private, at least nobody else has to know, it's easier that way...you can pretend it's not happening most of the time.

You'd rather keep on living in fear and not letting anybody know the truth, than to admit that it all went so wrong.

You've spent the last few years trying to make sure that nobody knows about it. That everyone thinks your life is full of fun and happiness. You've carried on for months planning your wedding, acting as though nothing was wrong, fooling everybody around you...even fooling yourself most of the time.

It's easy, isn't it? To make yourself believe that it's not really that bad. That it doesn't happen all that often. That maybe it was all in your head and just not as bad as you thought.

It's surprisingly easy.

You always thought that women in abusive relationships were a bit ridiculous for not getting help, for not just walking away...but here you are...so now you know. 

Now you know that it's not that simple.

That it's not just about the physical abuse, it's about the way they get into your head...what they can make you believe.

He tells you that it's all your fault...he does a great job of making you believe that, making you feel embarrassed because you know deep down it's all happening because of you....

Because you make him feel small, because you talk back too much, because you belittle him with your words....he tells you all the time that actually it's YOU who is abusive towards him because you argue with him, you make him angry, you hurt his feelings....YOU are cruel, YOU push him to act like this, ITS ALL YOUR FAULT.

He tells you that if you told anyone about it they would laugh at you, because they all know what you're like....they all know that you're argumentative and difficult, even your mum has joked with him that he deserves a medal for putting up with you...so nobody would really blame him for putting you in your place sometimes...

He tells you this all of the time, and eventually you started to believe him.

But then it happens again...each time a little bit worse than the last....each time seeming to start with less of a "reason"

It's not just happening when you argue anymore...it's happening when you spend too long talking to your sister at his birthday party instead of paying attention to him....it's happening when you don't get home from work fast enough...it's happening more and more.

You need to realise that it's never going to stop.

You can't keep making excuses for him....it doesn't matter WHY he beats you, it only matters that he does. 

Suddenly your feet give way and the door bursts open....He's in the bathroom with you now...he's not going for the punches this time, this time he means business...his hands are around your neck and he's spitting in your face as he starts to throttle you...

And all you can think about is your friend down the hall...hoping that if he kills you tonight, that she's not the one who finds you in the morning...that he doesn't hurt her too...as he's choking you, you're berating yourself for letting her spend the night at your flat...for putting her in a dangerous situation.

But he stops after a while, and walks out of the bathroom.

Leaving you there on the floor, gasping for breath.

You lay on the floor, no more tears....you don't feel anything at all....you're completely detached...as if you're somewhere else entirely.

You stand up calmly, wash the mascara off your face, brush your teeth and lay down next to him in bed.

You go to sleep and in the morning,  you make breakfast for him and your friend...you & he both pretend that nothing happened and you laugh and chat while you secretly hope that she didn't hear any commotion last night...so that you don't have to make up an excuse.

That night, you sit next to him on the sofa and order a take away...you spend the evening watching X Factor together. 

Just like any other couple on a Saturday night.

...until the next time.

I'd love to say that this was the last time it happened, that it made you realise how serious it was all getting, that you walked away and never looked back...but you didn't.

You stayed with him for another year after that.

You lay on that bathroom floor many more times, received many more death threats, and many more attacks.

But you did get your happy ending...you got out eventually, and now you're in a much better place...with a kind man and 3 beautiful children...but I don't know if you ever really broke free from his grasp.

Because you're still scared to talk about it...you still find it so embarrassing...you still feel as though maybe he was right, maybe it was all your own fault...so best not to mention it. Best to just keep quiet.

And the crazy thing is, that even now...as you sit here and write about your experience with him, he's still sitting there on your Facebook friends list....as though nothing ever happened, as though everything that happened was normal, as though he's just another ex...someone that you're friends with.

You saw him pop up on your timeline tonight, sharing holiday photos with his current girlfriend...and when you saw his name your stomach flipped like it always does... you found yourself looking into his girlfriend's eyes on those pictures, trying to see some sort of sign, wondering if she's in the same situation that you were....wondering if she needs help too.

And you feel as though perhaps it's your fault if she does, because you never did anything about it....you never made him take any responsibility for it, you just pretended it never happened.

 I don't know what you can do about helping her now...

But what you can do to help YOU is realise that you're not in his grasp any more, and that you can talk about what happened without feeling ashamed....

And that actually...No, it wasn't your fault.

It was not my fault.

With Love From,

Future You
x

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19 comments:

  1. I'm sorry that you had to go through that and you are totally right none of it was your fault. Although I suffered very little actual physical abuse I was mentally abused for over 10 years, nobody knew as I never told and I made my life look perfect to the outside world. Even typing now that it happened seems alien but like you I got my happy ending and I fight hard every day to heal. Thanks for sharing x

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  2. This was so powerful, emotive, and so, so brave. I'm sorry for anyone who has gone through this-I have been through serious emotional abuse-nowhere near as physical as this, but the scars from constant belittled self worth, fear, and constant control of my every action, run deep, and I'm not sure will ever heal. I still have nightmares, and I still feel the shame that I let it go on for so long. I too sometimes see the pictures on my Facebook feed, and feel for the new girlfriend. Nobody has the right to do that to anybody else, to ruin their life like that, and we shouldn't be ashamed that it happened-they prey on the kind and the vulnerable and take advantage of our good nature. This is a brilliant letter to anyone going through this at the moment, and I hope you're proud of yourself for getting out. xx

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  3. Wow! Sending love and hugs! This was such an emotional read. So powerful!
    You are amazing! It was not your fault! x

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  4. Oh gosh honey, you've had me gripped until the end, curling my toes as I was reading. I knew there was a happy ending, and you so so deserve to be happy. I know we've only met a couple of times, but you're definitely a beautiful person inside and out! Get rid of that monster on Facebook, he has no right to still upset you when you are now in your 'happy ever after.' It might sound really selfish to just preserve yourself, but you don't need the reminders of that toxic relationship popping up in your timeline, you don't need to worry about the current girlfriend. You have to look after yourself, preserve your self and focus on your beautiful family. xxxx

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  5. It wasn't your fault. It was never your fault.
    I'm glad that in your stronger moments you can see that now.
    *hugs*
    xx

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  6. Such a brave post. Thank you so much for sharing. Everyone deserves to be happy, so glad you found your happy ending xx #sundaybest

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  7. Oh Hayley, this is so powerful, and I am so so sorry that you had to go through this. It most definitely wasn't your fault, and I am so glad that you have found your happy ending. Sending lots of love and hugs your way xxx

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  8. Really powerfully written. A really strong message #sundaybest

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  9. I read this post before. SO moving! I am not surprised it's still hard to talk about it now. This kind of things mark you forever! #SundayBest

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  10. wow- what a powerful read.

    #sundaybest

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  11. I have a friend who keeps returning to a abusive boyfriend, its tricky for her as he is the father of her children. Personally I dont know what I would have done in your situation. Hopefully you sharing will make other women feel strong enough to leave. #sundaybest

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  12. Wow. So moving. I'm so glad your in a much better place now, you deserve to be happy.

    #SundayBest

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  13. Very emotional post, I was hooked the whole way through. I'm sorry you had to go through that, unfortunately it seems that so many women in that situation can't find a way out. Well done for writing about your experience, and I hope that it helps someone else. #SundayBest

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  14. Such an emotional post, you're very brave for sharing #SundayBest x

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  15. Wow. Very powerful. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Very emotional.
    #SundayBest

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  16. This was a heartbreaking read. I'm so sorry that you have had to go through that. You're right though, it was not your fault. Sending so much love to you

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  17. very good read, emotional but good! It's nice to thing somebody in this situation may read this and wont feel so alone and may get help.
    #SundayBest

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  18. Wow, so powerful. I feel sick to my stomach. I hope he's rotting in Hell somewhere #SundayBest

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  19. Oh Hayley :'( This made my heart race, I hate that you had to live through this x

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