Many of you are at various points on your journey to be free of domestic abuse. I wish, for those of you that have just begun, that I could get a huge great one of these….
and come back and bring you further on. We could go to the seaside.
But I can't. Anymore than I can put my foot on the pedal and go faster myself.
It is a very long, slow process and you can tell yourself "I'm fine. I'm better. It's all in the past. Yaaaay. Bring me a shit load of champagne and a thousand lovers." It just doesn't work that way.
You have to feel it all sadly. You have to crawl through the pain on your fingertips and toes and keep looking forward. Keep your head off the floor. You have to keep texting and tweeting and calling your sorrow and angst and sadly sometimes anger at those who love you most. And you hope they forgive you. They mostly do. Some of them bring you flowers. Some of them bring you advice. Some of them bring advice you aren't ready for. My advice? Take it all. It is the stuff of real love.
What you don't need to take is the following….
1. The criticism of you by the man who hurt you. His viewpoint no longer matters. He lies. He has always lied.
2. His aggression, problems, domestic needs. They are his. You owe him nothing.
3. Read numbers 1 & 2 again. Read them many times.
4. Your abuser's old tactics. I can only speak myself as someone whose abuser is no longer living with me. Those of you who are still living with your abuser - take advice from a domestic abuse helpline. Your safety is the most important thing. Take no risks with it.
If they aren't living with you and they abuse you. Call the police. Any physical attack - however slight. Stalking. Name calling. Vile texts. Rumours. Harassment. Threats. Any abuse you recognise in any way ….. Call the cops. They need to hear this. They need to hear it matters. They have a duty to stop your abuse. Make them. Call them.
But this blog is really about the following. What might come after you've reclaimed your life from them.
This really. This is what happens.
and you already know that they are sneaky fuckers. You have learned to cope with the tactics they've had. What you may not be ready for is new ones.
They will get some. They are by their very nature experts at coming up with ways to hurt you. Surprise and ingenuity are weapons they will find. In the months after you've freed yourself of them they may really step up the game.
Your new friends, life, job, home. All targets for them.
Most simply for them, the thing they can get at you with so easily if you have them. Your children.
Don't kid yourself they won't. Don't convince yourself they always have your children's interests first. They don't. You know this from your time together. Their control overrides EVERYTHING else. They will use your children. Be prepared. Prepare the children. Tell them in the gentlest way possible that their relationship with Daddy is now separate from the one they have with you. Don't use "Don't tell him this ….….". My advice is give them a line they can live with. "I will not discuss your daddy with you. Please show me some respect for my privacy and don't discuss me with your daddy."
The abuser probably won't respect that. Remember what you've learned about them They have no respect for you or your feelings. They will hurt you any way they can. They will ask your children about you. Your child may tell them. They are children. The abuser is clever to them and with them. Arm them as best you can. Don't blame them if they fall for his tactics. You once did and you weren't a child. The only one to blame for terrible behaviour here is the abuser.
I learned this last week. However much they SAY they have moved on to and that they are beyond needing to control you. They haven't. They may believe it themselves. You don't have to.
They will find any number of different ways to tell you the same things they always told you. You aren't good enough. You are stupid. You are to blame for everything. You will never amount to anything without them. You have ruined their life. And all those other toxic things that apply individually to each of our abusive relationships.
My advice. Be ready for the new stuff. Wait for it. Anticipate there will be some. It can really take you by surprise if you are at a new place in your life where you are sensible and grounded and around sensible, grounded people. You begin to once again expect the same of everyone. Don't. He isn't everyone else. He is still the snake who poisoned your ear. His tongue is still forked. His hooves are still cloven. He's still a well-baked bastard.
Always see him for what he is. Never let him evolve in any one else's mind but his.
but one day you will be. And so will I.
As a friend said to me recently. You have escaped him - he never will.
(N.B - I wrote this some months after leaving. I am now years free and happy and it did get easier. I even look back at this and shake my head a little at how little I knew when I wrote it. How much worse he would become. How difficult it would be. You will get there. Trust the women ahead of you down the path. They are still walking forwards.)