Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

My Experience of Emotional Abuse

Okay so here goes my attempt to explain me… good luck grasping it!! ha ha This is my first post and I dont really expect it to make much sense as I will get the hang of this as I go along so bare with me!! I'll apologise now if this turns into a 10 page essay!

So I’m going to remain as SW (Silent Whisper) for now as I feel safer without putting my name out there for now I hope thats okay!

My case is emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, I’m sure a lot reading here know exactly what I mean. Sometimes I sit and think really am I just over reacting, I mean yeh he was mean but come on, he’s a man, aren’t they all like that… whoops… first mistake!! Don’t undermine what happened or else I start to sound like him!

So I was with my ex for 6 years in total, and really I should have known from the start. I should explain a bit about my background so that you know where I’m coming from. I was/am (getting there) a very strong, opinionated, confident, independent girl (maybe one of the reasons why he did what he did to break me down) and I would never have let anyone walk over me. In fact in the past if I decided I didn’t like someone anymore or they did something wrong (like really wrong not just a little spat) it would be over, just like that, no turning back, no regrets. So to this day I still cant figure out how he lasted for 6years and what the h*ll I as thinking!!

It was not ‘normal’ from the get go,… from the start he was quite stand offish, which was weird to me cos I hadnt had that before, and I guess maybe to me it seemed like a challenge and me being stubborn I was determined to win. It became clear quite quickly that he had never actually been in a relationship before, like a proper relationship, he had been with folks for maybe a few weeks, maybe a month or so but nothing serious or with any ‘feelings’. (I’m in my mid 30′s now so you can kind of work out our ages, he was a few yrs older than me, sorry I’m trying to be anonyous still at this point as I still have fear of him reading this or seeing it).

So it started out dead romantic actually even with his determination to ‘not get involved’ as he put it. We would chat for hours right thru the night, he would text or call every morning to say good morning and throughout the day he would check in, everything seemed okay and when he had his ‘I dont know about this’ moments I talked him into sticking it out and that it would work out okay. My biggest mistake ever in my life!!

It started out with small things like he would go into a bad mood and as he said ‘the dark clouds would come in’ and he wouldn’t be overly mean at this point but he would just say it was over and he didnt want to be with me etc etc so I would go out with the girls and by the end of the night he would be all apologetic and we would be back together (at this point we never split for more than a few hrs). He would then ‘make it up to me’ by taking me shopping or taking me out etc… another big mistake because any ‘normal’ treat would become a bribe tool.

So anyways moving on… about 6 months into the relationship I knew that he was a little strange, he was very anti social, he wanted nothing to do with my family and he certainly didnt want me near his (I didnt meet them until we were together maybe nearly 2 years) and I wasnt at his house at all for the first year we were together. Anyways back to the story, I had friends coming to stay from abroad, a girl I worked with years before and hadnt seen in years, I was so excited and he was coming with me to pick them up and we were heading out for dinner and drinks etc. But he did his usual of saying he wasnt coming about 30 mins before Im due to go collect them. He was so mean, he didnt care, they werent anything to him, why would he give a sh*t about how I felt, I arranged for them to come over so it was my problem not his etc etc, you know the usual!!

So anyways I collect them, they are disappointed hes not there and can see clearly that Im upset that hes not. So I just get on with it. We go see local sights and local cities, the night of me showing them round my local city my folks are having a party at their house for them, the ex is bringing food and drinks and everything is fine. About 30 mins before he is due to arrive (he lived about an hr and half from me) he calls saying he hadnt left yet and didnt intend to leave at all and wasnt coming. So I’m on the phone the whole night whilst my family entertains my guests crying and begging him to come and offering the world for him to come (as I had gotten used to doing). He never showed. So I left them back to their hotel and arrived home and got a phone call, it was him, he as outside my house. He was sorry he couldnt come to the party cos he couldnt ‘handle it’ and could he come in and he would come on our day out tomorrow. So he did, and we had an amazing day, that night he told me he loved me, and all my anger and hatred for what he had done disappeared. Little did I know that was just the start.

One big thing that he would use against me was sex. If I wanted to go shopping or go out for dinner he would say ‘what are you going to do for me if I did that’ and sex no longer was romantic or caring or something I looked forward to, it became a bribing tool. If I wanted something I had to do something for it. I mean dont get me wrong our sex was actually very good and usually I enjoyed it once I got into it but it got to a point towards the end where I had to have drink in to enjoy it because too many times it felt forced or unwanted. He never actually physically ‘forced’ me, I should clarify that but he always managed to get it by usually emotional bribery if that makes sense.

I’m a little heavier than average, I was never really big throughout school and Uni but Id put some weight on due to all of these experiences over the years. From the beginning he constantly told me he would love me more if I lost some weight (at that point I wasnt heavy) and that the only thing causing his bad moods was my weight etc etc. He would tell me that I was lucky to have him because no one else would want me, as my weight gained due to depression and eating for comfort etc he would get worse. He never respected me from the start, hated that I had a professional career, that I wanted to go on and study more, in fact when I enrolled at college to complete a further diploma he fell out with me and told me it was a waste of time and money and I was stupid and no diploma would make a difference.

Over the years I gradually realised that I had no friends anymore because I spent every minute I could with him or because I turned them down because he had totally killed any self confidence or even ability to actually socialise or feel comfortable around sociable situation. If someone asked me to do something Id say no in case he wanted to do something, ever hopeful that he would call or want to do something but he never did, which usually resulted in my sitting about pissed off. We would always arrange to see each other every weekend, for the first couple of yrs he would come up to mine and stay, then after that he refused to come to mine anymore, I always had to go to him every weekend. Many times I was on my way down maybe driven 45-50mins and he would call telling me to turn around that he didnt give a sh*t about me and didnt want to see me tonight. Or he would call in the afternoon saying I shouldnt bother thinking I’ll see him tonight because he couldnt be a**ed and couldnt be bothered talking to me or having to ‘deal with me’. This went on nearly every weekend throughout the years it was a struggle to just get on and constantly walking on egg shells by the time it got to Friday wondering if id see him or not.

About 4 years in we decided to start renovating the house. It was an old house and always sat like a complete pig sty it was disgusting, I’m asthmatic and it killed me staying at his, but he didnt care really, he just said well stay at home then. The thing was though, he would be so mean but then he would always make up for it, he would take me shopping or we would go for dinner or he would take me away for the weekend. And everything would be great maybe for a few days, a few weeks and once even for a few months. But it always started again or came back to the usual sh*t. Starting to sort the house led to getting engaged (another disaster). We had talked about it a bit because by this point I was in my early 30s and wanting children and was at a point where if we were going forward then lets do it otherwise lets go our separate ways (he was never going to let that happen though).

Before we got engaged we split for maybe 2 months. It was the worst 2 months of my life (well to that point of it anyways). Not because I missed him but because he made my life hell. The threats were horrendous, never anything physical but more mental/emotional. He was going to call the police and tell them all kinds of lies about me to try to ruin my reputation. He said he would go on facebook and bad mouth me to the world, he would come to my town and make sure that everyone knew ‘what I really was’ he would go to my folks house and torture them etc etc. Eventually it all just seemed easier to just go back to him than to keep living with the threats. He was so nice and made up for it for maybe a couple of weeks then back to the sh*t again!

Anyways, moving on, 5 years on and I’m thinking right either we are getting married and moving on or this is over, so I said that to him. So one morning hes in happy form, calls me, tells me to come and look at rings, we find the perfect ring an we order it. I feel amazing, I think finally things have changed, this might just work! Boy was I wrong! Within about 24hrs he was raging that Id ‘forced him to buy a ring’ and cost him a fortune and it was a complete waste of money and because we had to get it specially made he couldnt cancel it and this was all my fault that he would never go through with a wedding cos he couldnt cope with that kind of situation etc etc… I was devastated!!

So anyways 2 weeks later the ring is ready for collection. The 2 weeks had been hell, him having a go at me for forcing him to get a ring etc etc. He came in one morning threw a bag at me and said ‘theres your f**ken ring’ and stormed out. I cried my eyes out!!! I thought is this what my life has come to, is this it for me, but Id got myself into this mess and had to live with the consequences!! An hr later he texts saying his aunt is visiting his mum and I should put the ring on and come show them (bare in mind he hadnt even asked me yet etc). So I dutifully did as I was told (as I always did by this point) and they were all excited and happy, he didnt even come into the house, so there I was announcing our engagement (if you can call it that) to his family without him being there. I should say here that they all walked on egg shells around him and never said boo to him so obviously it wasnt just me he was mean to! So I go back to his and he comes up, all apologetic, lets go for lunch to celebrate and go tell your folks etc etc. At this point I remind him he hasnt actually even asked me and asked is this it, is this what Im telling my children of how I got engaged? Is this my story of engagement for the future? So he takes the ring simply say ‘will you marry me’ and puts the ring on my finger then says ‘right go get finished getting ready’. I’m stood there in a towel, how romantic eh!!??!! He promised we would go out for dinner and celebrate but it never happened, life just moved on, nothing changed except I had a ring on my finger.

So anyways once we were engaged the sh*t really hit the fan! He didnt want a wedding, he didnt want to get married, why did he ever propose, this was all my fault, I forced him into it, I’m forcing him to be mean etc etc. MY dog died one day and I was going to a wedding fayre near my town at a hotel I wanted for the wedding and I still think simply because my dog died he agreed to me booking a date with the hotel (he wasnt there). Soon as the hotel was booked it doubled, this was all my fault, I was making him feel awful. I certainly was not forcing him, I really do feel I need to clarify that. Though when I look back now, I do feel like I should have let it go sooner, or nevr got engaged, I do feel like it was all my fault.

So that went on for maybe 2 months once the hotel and church etc was booked. Eventually after weeks of him telling me he wouldnt show up and he didnt want to marry me etc etc I got a text one morning simply saying ‘you better cancel that wedding because this is melting my head and I wont be turning up’. I called my sister (my family knew nothing about how he was, they knew he was an ass cos he didnt want to see them and wouldnt come to anything with me so they just generally didnt like him but didnt realise how bad it really was) and told her about the text and how he was feeling about the wedding. She said to cancel everything, go down and tell him its all cancelled and I did it for him and ask him how we move forward. So I did, and he stood in his kitchen, looked at me like ice, and said ‘this is all your own fault, dont cry in front of me, you brought this on yourself, if you hadnt booked that stupid wedding none of this would be happening, I dont love you, I dont want to marry you and I made that perfectly clear’. I walked out of his house and I never went back (well once to collect some stuff about 2 months later).

After I walked out I endured months of torture, threats, abuse, it was horrible!! But I got to a point where I had to say to him you need to do anything at all that you feel you want to do because this time its over and there is no going back. I got to the realisation that he was never going to carry out any of his threats, he just knew the fear factor won be back before and so he was trying anything to get me back (although in saying that I still to this day fear him contacting me or threatening me). I still to this day dont really know why though because to me looking back now he hated me so much to do what he did to me!! I just dont get why he would want me back!! This is now May and just this Easter I got 1 text from him (it was 1 year to the day that I left him) saying that he was coming up to our annual family easter gathering and telling everyone that I was dirt and the ‘real truth’ about me, whatever that is. Yet again 1 year on he managed to instill absolute fear into me!! I’m with someone new now and he got so annoyed that it was annoying me, hes an amazing guys!

I mean this is obviously long story short and only a few examples. Off the top of my head I can name a few more, when we were engaged it was my parents anniversary, they have a place abroad and we were all heading out to celebrate. He didnt come (big surprise) and I have a big fear of flying. He told me that he hoped the plane crashed and we all died. When I was there he told me hated me, not to bother coming back and he hoped the plane crashed on the way back (bare in mind we were engaged and not broken up at this time). Every single Christmas and Birthday while with him was horrendous! He would make sure it was miserable, being in bad form, hating me, hating on my family, throwing threats and abuse. It was a horrendous 6 years!! I wanted to kill myself so many times, and to this day I’m convinced that if I wasnt so afraid of dying I probably would have done it on quite a few occasions!!

When we split I went to my doctor and he referred me to Womens Aid and offered me counselling. I didnt take it. I know silly me but at that point I still didnt feel like id been abused, even to this day I still dont, I still blame myself and think that it was just a bad relationship and that he was just mean now and then. But I know it wasnt normal. I know that spending every single day in life walking on egg shells and dreading to know if your man is in good or bad form today is not good!!

My concern now, and I suppose part of why I’m starting this blog to vent and get my bad feelings out in regards to my ex… I’m with someone now who is amazing, in fact he is someone that I was with about 9 years ago for just over a year but we split when he joined the army and was deployed. At that time we were young and didnt want a long distance romance. Hes still in the army and on deployment now I miss him like crazy but love him too much to let that get between us again. But my concern is that I can see me putting my ex onto him, no matter how much I try not to. I find it hard to trust him, I often dont believe what he says, I find myself checking what hes doing, waiting by my phone, my life revolving around hearing from him. I can see myself snipping at him, constantly nagging. And thats not like me at all!!!! I was never like that before the ex! Thankfully he knows everything and he is being super patient and totally understands why I do things but I’m so scared that eventually he is going to think enough is enough and leave me and I really dont want that to happen because of my legacy of my past. This applies to the sex part of my issue too!! When C mentions it being you know horny or romantic or jokingly my automatic reaction is ‘what does he want’ ‘what do I have to do’ etc… we just booked a holiday and my normal reaction for a split second was ‘I wonder what this will cost me’ I dont want to be thinking like that cos C isnt like that at all!!

How do you not put past experiences onto new relationships and my future!! C and I have only been back together a couple of months but we both know we want to spend the rest of our lives together. I so badly dont want to mess that up!


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 “My Experience of Emotional Abuse

  • Nat says:

    Well done for escaping your abuser! I think some counselling would help (and possibly some CBT if you think it will work) to get over your experience.
    It is a good way to dump all your pain without doing it to someone you don’t want to hurt.

    You have done the hardest thing and freed yourself. It is very hard to trust again, even with a loving supportive partner, but base your opinions on his actions and it will get easier over time.

    • SW says:

      Thank you for you reply, I did start counselling but stopped myself, not a good idea I know. But I kept telling myself I as fine and eventually I just moved on and didnt think about it, but that was because I wasnt getting into any relationships. It only seems to have surfaced now that I am with someone again. I know you’re right I need to do something now to get it out of my head before I end up driving C away as well!

      Thank you for you support!

  • Sophia says:

    When I was dumped – very unpleasantly – by my ex of 12 years, I set myself the task of going through our relationship, not trying to assign blame but to understand the dynamic. At the start I decided I would allow myself a month per year of the relationship, ie that I wouldn’t expect to be able to move on for a year.
    You can’t do anything about what that bastard did, but you can think about how he tried to ruin your life (and failed !), and consider how you have grown and changed.
    You bravely got out, and you are able to see how it’s still affecting you, (which is sadly difficult), so maybe just giving yourself space to process it thoroughly would help.
    For me it was about telling the story over and over, to myself and friends, until I felt I understood it and had it contained in the past.
    Good luck! Sounds like you have a great future ahead of you.


    • SW says:

      Thanks for replying, I think my struggle is that I thought that I had given myself time, it was nearly a year before C and I got together and I thought that I had moved on and life was better and I had changed everything in my life and was ready. I mean dont get me wrong I know I am ready because I wouldnt change anything about being with C now. I just wish I didnt always have to over analyse everything. I know he is being patient but the odd time he does get upset which is understandable because theres only so much someone can take. It doesnt happen all the time but when I get down the road of questioning things I cant seem to snap myself out of it.

      I think one of the problems may be that I havent really told anyone at all about it properly. I mean my family dont really want to know not because they are bad people just because well it a) annoys them and b) I dont want them to know that side of me really, I prefer to leave it that they know he was an a**hole and they know he’s out of my life now. My ‘friends’ (losest sense of the word) basically took the attitude that they couldnt see bruises and I was staying with him so it couldnt really be all that bad and I was exaggerating so I just stopped talking to them about it at the time. And now that I’m out they have the attitude of ‘get over it’ or else that I stayed for long enough so couldnt have been that bad. So I stopped talking to any of them about it, or about anything at all, figured this is when you find out who your real friends are!

      Thank you for you words of support, I appreciate them greatly! This is all really the first time Ive spoken out about it. Ive set up a website, forum, twitter and facebook to try to give me an outlet whilst also supporting others. So fingers crossed it is helping and the more I talk to others the less Im worrying about what C is doing or constantly waiting by the phone.

      Thanks for the luck! Fingers crossed I know at least Im moving in the right direction!! 🙂 The futures bright!