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 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 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 know she'd help you. 

But 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 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 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 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's happening when you spend too long talking to your sister at his birthday party instead of paying attention to's happening when you don't get home from work fast's happening more and more.

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

You can't keep making excuses for 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 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 don't feel anything at're completely 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 & he both pretend that nothing happened and you laugh and chat while you secretly hope that she didn't hear any commotion last that you don't have to make up an excuse.

That night, you sit next to him on the sofa and order a take 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 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 still find it so still feel as though maybe he was right, maybe it was all your own best not to mention it. Best to just keep quiet.

And the crazy thing is, that even you sit here and write about your experience with him, he's still sitting there on your Facebook friends 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 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

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