Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse


I was with my partner for a long time, and we had children together.

He became mentally ill a few years ago, with a couple of major breakdowns and admissions to hospital. Off work for a long time, he said that he felt powerless and angry a lot of the time. Gradually his behaviour changed torwards me. He would say that the only area of his life he could control was sex, which he forced me in to.

He was withdrawn and angry and i dreaded it happening all the time - I started having panic attacks and couldn't sleep. I had anxiety and depression.

I made the decision to leave as i was becoming ill and my children were suffering. For a long time i didn't believe that it was his fault, i felt i just wasn't managing it properly. He said that it wouldn't happen if i didn't take him for granted.

Our families reacted with such surprise and disappointment. When I told my mother what had been happening, she suggested that men can feel quite entitled, that's how it is, it's different for women. His family felt that i wasn't giving him enough of a chance. I kept quiet about what had gone on with most people as the only ones i told reacted with such disbelief. I must have got it wrong.

Now, he's still unwell, there is no support, he's still such a big part of my life because i don't know how to manage this at all. I try to support him because he's often suicidal and I fear being blamed. I fear being responsible.


We do NOT give permission for posts published as personal experiences to be reproduced, translated or otherwise published elsewhere. We will not contact people who submit their personal experiences on behalf of journalists, bloggers or other third sector organisations. These testimonies remain the intellectual copyright of their authors and must be treated with the ethical guidelines used by academics for research involving human subjects. Our full guidelines can be read here.

Comments are currently closed.

4 thoughts on “Leaving

  • Jean Hatchet says:

    What a sad story. Though he’s obviously suffering – you must look after yourself and your children as priority now. He has abused you. You were not and are not responsible for that. He had no right to take out his illness on you. My very best wishes to you.

  • Rusty Cage says:

    My heart goes out to you. No one should have to suffer in any relationship for any reason. You needed to get out of that environment for your own sake and that of your children.

    Staying with him and suffering abuse will not help him or make him better. No only that but it was affecting your mental health too so you were both suffering. Now you’ve both got distance you can concentrate on yourself getting better. If you still feel you want to support him, you can do so with a distance that should mean you don’t get personally affected/ill/abused.

    I’m sorry you family/in-laws are so dismissive. Hopefully in time they will see you did the right thing. Hopefully in time you ex can tell them as much.

    You are brave and you did the right thing. I wish you a safe and peaceful future.

    • D says:

      Thank you for the replies to this. I’ve found it so difficult to even begin to describe what has happened and is still happening, and by writing it here, in a place where it seems so straight forward that the blame and the abuse is wrong and to be challenged – i want to start believing that i can change it and that it isn’t my fault, i didn’t do anything to cause this. It gives me strength to have someone reply and say that same, thank you.

  • Anon in sisterhood says:

    I spent 3 years in a relationship with a man who suffered from depression as a result of abuse as a child and the suicide of a girlfriend in his early 20s.
    He was emotionally abusive, controlling, jealous, coerced me into sex, and generally punished me for his illness.

    I came home on a number of occasions to find him unresponsive because he had taken too many sleeping pills (not enough to commit suicide, but enough to send me into a panic), or to find the sheets under his arms tacky with the drying blood (not enough to commit suicide, but enough).

    I was not responsible for him. I was not responsible for his illness. And I was not responsible for his wellness. He was hurting me. He was destroying me. And I left. Eventually.

    I was lucky. There was no one to tell me I was doing it wrong, no one to tell me that I should stay for his sake. No children to tie me to him. I could just walk away.

    I am so sorry that you are not getting the support you deserve. You are doing the right thing. You are not responsible. It is not your fault.
    You cannot stay with him for your sake. You need separation for your sake. Your life and health and happiness is just as important as his.