“We were both physically attracted to each other from the very beginning. We weren’t friends before we dated, it was all very quick. We dated for eight weeks and would fight basically every weekend, but would have it resolved by the beginning of the week every time. I personally felt like it was love-bombing, how he would take away approval or affection but would give it back. Four weeks in I tried to leave, and he said ‘if you leave me, I will kill myself.’ I knew he had a toxic home life, an abusive father, and struggled with mental health. He had a previous suicide attempt, and tried to guilt me into staying two more times before our very complicated breakup. During the relationship, it felt like we were only together for validation, and we would both flirt with other people to make each other jealous. He wasn’t publicly out as bisexual during our relationship, but was out to me- and would flirt with other guys to make me jealous.”
“I dated a guy for eight months, and for the last three months of our relationship would take nude photos of me without my consent, which is basically sexual assault. To get them deleted, I had to involve my dad and would threaten to notify authorities. He started getting distant, more aggressive, and would only talk to me for sexual reasons. He’d only praise me if I did “things” for him. I really tried to stay amicable after the breakup, but I realized that he only loved me for what he wanted me to do to him, and I really just wanted validation. 2-3 months post-breakup, I really needed closure, so I went up to him in person. I said to his face, “I don’t respect you as a person.”
“He would change moods moment to moment. At first, he was so sweet, but would just turn pure evil at the drop of a hat. I held on for his sweet side. While on a trip and during our breakup, he raised his hand at me ready to hit. Thankfully before he made contact, it was lowered. Years later, I still have relationship fear and trust issues. He ended up repeatedly cheating on me out of fear I was doing the same. I’m terrified to get into another relationship even though it’s been almost ten years.”
Got into a relationship right before the pandemic hit and right after my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis. Suddenly minor inconveniences of his were my fault, and I couldn’t do anything right. His mood would change second-by-second, and I was honestly scared to say anything at all in fear I would just be labeled a “problem.” I felt degraded, upset, and like a failure while in the relationship- except for the days where he was the opposite. The days I would wake up to “good morning” texts, the FaceTime calls full of giggling, and the flirting, were the best days. Unfortunately, I can count on one hand how many times that happened. He even accused me of lying to him when I told him I couldn’t go out because I was spending time with my ailing grandfather. Towards the end, when I made myself as crystal clear as I could that I no longer wanted the relationship, he guilted me into staying another three months; until suddenly he cut contact completely. I was thankful he did that, as I was sick of his manipulation and games. I am so much happier without him.
Narratives from domesticshelters.org
I lived in a violent marriage for years. I was very naive at first and really didn’t know people like him existed. He would kick me, slap me, push me, trip me over, throw things at me, stand on my feet, yell abuse, call me names like ‘social cripple’, the list goes on and on, but he never punched me. In fact he would say to people that he couldn’t stand ‘wife bashers’. He would tell me that he didn’t want the children to play with so-and-so’s children because they were a bad influence. He tried to isolate us from all those who loved us and new people we met would go through character assassinations by him. Life was continuous hell, fear and horror and he always blamed the children or me for his violence. Things got a lot worse towards the end. He would threaten to run us all off the road in the car and kill us. The violence became a daily occurrence if not several episodes a day.
How I coped
Basically I coped by trying to keep him happy so he wouldnt do these things to us. I believed for a long time that it was my fault or the children’s. I cried a lot when he wasn’t home. I lost all my belief in myself. I was totally isolated and spoke to no one about what was happening. I don’t think I really did cope except to hide it from the world and from myself.
How the situation changed
When his violence became much worse and was being directed at the children I changed. I began to read about self esteem and positive affirmations. I contacted a friend I used to know who worked in a Woman’s Centre and speaking to her made me realise we were not alone. Finally I began to see the reality of what was happening. When we left I believed he was going to kill us.
What helped me
The Domestic Violence Center women have helped me so very much. The support and understanding and sharing of experiences. Counselling, and I have done some violence recovery and self confidence courses. When the Family Court recognised what hell we went through and ordered absolute no contact for him with my children, was a big turning point in my healing. Good friends and family have been wonderful as well.
What I would say to others
If I could come and help you leave I would but it is you who has to do it. Leaving permanently is the only thing that will change the situation. You can’t make him better no matter how much you love him. It is NOT your fault, it is his. You are a wonderful person and deserve so much better.
You are not alone, there are many people who know what you are going through. Reach out to people and contact support groups like those who own this website, they are the experts. Most of all believe in yourself and know you are strong.
My journey to hell and back began twelve years ago. I met him when he moved in next door to me. We became friends and later he moved in with me and we became an item. He had me hook, line and sinker, a real charmer. He was a rebel, and life became fast and exciting. Parties, dancing, drinking and then more drinking. I didn’t see it coming. We went out with some of his mates and he had been drinking all day, and then his old girlfriend arrived. I was upset because he sat on her knee and kissed her, so I went to sit in the car. He came bellowing over, so I locked the door. He put his fist through the passenger window then dragged me through it. After receiving a punch in the head, one of his friends drove me home. At home I tended to my sore head, scrapes and bruises, but what hurt most was that it happened at all. The next day when he arrived at the flat he was full of remorse – things would be different, he wouldn’t drink and he would never hurt me again. I believed him; things did improve for a while. Soon I discovered I was pregnant, he seemed over the moon with the news. A few months later he came home drunk, and after arguing he punched me in the stomach. I ended up in hospital with a ruptured cyst on my ovary. The baby was all right. Returning home I gave him an ultimatum – his mates or me. He chose me. However after our baby was born the drinking continued, and the abuse continued. I stayed, as I could not see a way out. Brief times when he was sober, things seemed pleasant. My way of life became moving from one house to another with him, as people became aware of my situation (the domestic abuse), although I had learnt to hide the bruises and he was good at not leaving them where they could be seen. Over the years I took out several Intervention Orders on him, which I then dropped when he made his promises and sometimes, even, threats against me. On our child’s birthday he received a jail sentence of several months for drunk driving and assault on a police officer. I still didn’t leave. During his time in jail I visited often – he made more promises: no more drinking, no more abuse. When he left jail, things were great for a while, and I hoped that his time in jail had changed him. I got pregnant again, this time with twins. When I was pregnant we moved again, this time to be closer to his family, as I was going to need help and support with twins on the way. This was a move I should never have made. His father also had a drinking problem; they were a bad influence on each other. During my pregnancy he abused me again and again. Another time I pulled a kitchen knife on him and he laughed, as he knew I would not use it, then he spat in my face. There were times when he was at the hotel with his parents, I would pray that someone would knock on my door and tell me he was dead, rather than face him coming home. I was trapped; the only people I knew were his family. I had no way out. Once our new babies were born, things remained the same. I looked after the children; he went to the hotel or to smoke dope with a mate. Life was tough and often there was no money for food. I stopped eating so what we had would go further. As long as he had his beer he didn’t care. He would complain when the babies cried and tell me to shut them up or else.Every day I lived in fear, never knowing what his mood would be. One day I left him to care for the twins, so I could collect our eldest child from daycare. I returned home to find one of the twins was cold and shaking, I was horrified. It turned out they had a dirty nappy and he had put them in the bath with a cold shower running, in the middle of winter. A few weeks later when collecting one of the twins from her cot I found she had a blanket over her, and a shirt was wrapped around her head and shoved in her mouth. Quickly I removed it and she gasped for breath. I was shocked and angry. How could he do this to his own child? I confronted him and rang his parents for help. When his parents arrived, his father was drunk, saying `it’s alright son, I know she’s bullshitting’. He swung a few punches at me, then left to go to his parents for the night. I was distraught, frightened, and knew I had to protect my children. I found the phone book and looked under ‘Domestic Violence’ in the front. I got several phone numbers; I started with the first. The first few refuges I rang were full and asked if I could wait. Finally I rang a Salvation Army refuge, and an elderly man answered; I don’t know how he understood me through my many sons as I tried to tell my story. He said `not now, tell me when you get here, do you need help, how soon can you get here?’ my reply was` we are on our way.’ I grabbed my box of photo albums, a garbage bag of clothes for the children and myself, and took my dog, which had been a loyal friend for many years, and we left. Driving early that morning, I was a little scared of the future, but not like I had been every day for the last five years. The eggshells I had been treading on were gone, my children could cry and I didn’t have to shush them. I was determined to turn my life around. I spent a week at that refuge before moving interstate. I changed my name, and began to rebuild my life. A few months later, I moved into a housing commission house, got part time work, and had started making friends for the first time since leaving school. Life was great. Fourteen months later, after I trusted the wrong person, he contacted me. He pleaded with me to believe that he had changed, he had been to counseling, anger management etc. etc. He was really convincing – the old charm was back. I agreed to give it a trial, but said that things would have to go slowly. He could not live with me. And no more alcohol. He saw us once a month to begin with as he lived a long way away. Soon he moved to the town where I was living. One weekend when he was staying with us, he started drinking. We argued and I asked him to leave, but he refused. I went to phone the police. He hit the phone out of my hands and pushed me to my knees. He put one hand around my throat and squeezed. I was able to break away and I ran out the front door. He caught up to me in the neighbour’s garden, pushed me to the ground and started punching and kicking me. I thought he was going to kill me. A female voice called out that she had called the police and he fled. I believe if it wasn’t for the intervention of a stranger, I’d not be here today!