21st July 2021 at 10:12 pm #129096littledoveParticipant
So…I had a traumatic childhood in that I got horribly bullied from a very young age into adolescence.
It was mostly by boys, they called me horrible names, said I was ugly etc. I was petrified to walk anywhere for lunch at school because I’d be embarrassed with them shouting across the street at me. A few girls did it too. Of course these were the girls who felt insecure in themselves…
Finally when I was in my last years of school I stood up for myself and fought back at the bullies (not physically or horribly). They left me alone. Then the boys who had bullied me wanted to take me on dates!!
I of course turned them away.
I do not feel resentment towards any of them. They acted in a way they found acceptable at the time and I’m sure most of them feel guilty about it now as some of them are way too nice to me now.
My dad was diagnosed with a mental illness when I was only a pre schooler. It caused problems/arguing with my parents growing up. His illness was so complex, his loved ones did suffer around him.
Despite that I did grow up with two loving parents though. My dad tried to the best of his ability. But it did affect me.
Anyway, fast forward…when I left school I started getting loads of attention from guys. And I loved it. Because I was so used to being unaccepted. I felt attractive for the first time in my whole life. However, I went for the “bad boys”, the “players”, because the nice ones were too easy to get, it didn’t prove my worth enough. I wanted to reap the rewards of being the one to change one of these players. It never happened which damaged my self esteem further.
I then met my child’s dad. My abuser. He was charming, although again had the player label. He told me I made him wanna be a better person. I wanted to fix people. He knew I was too nice a person and empathetic and a people pleaser and had self esteem problems.
Anyway, obviously he started abusing me emotionally and psychologically and used gaslighting and coercion. All subtle at first and confusing as to what was going on.
I went to a counsellor because I felt my “anxiety” at the time was what was causing the problems.
It was my counsellor that told me I was in an abusive relationship. She asked if I wanted to be referred to Women’s aid. I said no at first, I was so confused.
I then did my research. And it was when during an argument he came through with a (insert object) in his hand in a threatening way that I called her and asked her to refer me. This was when I was pregnant.
I kept going back because I believed he would change. He begged and begged for more chances; that this time would be different, that it was his mental health, his childhood, his drinking problems, that he NEEDED me to fix him.
I went back, things would be amazing for a short while then it would end up worse and worse the more I went back.
I finally got the courage to leave before my baby was born. I didn’t want my little one coming into a life like that. I knew I had to protect my baby. I was so scared to bring up a baby all on my own. Knew I had to get a small flat for us to live in. But I knew it was the only way to give my child the best chance in life.
I left and never looked back. I saw Women’s Aid. I spoke to other professionals. And I haven’t seen him since. I phoned the police for his harassment.
He still attempted to contact me and pull me back in. But I stood my ground. He threatened me with so many things if I didn’t do as he said. I held my ground still. All for my baby.
I think if I didn’t have my baby I would probably still be with him. My baby gave me the ultimate strength to leave and realise what me and my child both deserved.
My kid is the happiest and brightest ever and is thriving. I’m sometimes so hard on myself but have to remember I made that possible.
Since all of this I have worked on my trauma and mental health through therapy. I’m getting there. I journal and meditate and practice mindfulness and read self help books. I am single and loving being on my own and having so much freedom. If the right person comes along one day then fair enough. But I will never settle for less than I deserve ever again.
I had dated a couple men but too many red flags and they were thrown out.
I have been practicing self love and focusing on my self worth. I love who I am. And know what I bring to the table to any man now.
I work for my child, I have a roof over our heads which I have decorated beautifully. And I’m going back to my studies to build us a prosperous life.
You can do it too! You are in the drivers seat of your life, this one life. Take back your power. Your whole life awaits you!! ❤️❤️
21st July 2021 at 11:06 pm #129102Wants To HelpParticipant
I remember you from last year when you were pregnant and seeking advice as you were determined you did not want to bring your baby in to an abusive relationship. It’s been so lovely to read your post and that you achieved what you wanted… and beyond. You are an inspiration to others and I’m so pleased that you are happy and in a great place, and that you and your precious baby are healthy and loving life.
I think as we move forward it is so important to look back and reflect on ourselves as to why we put up with certain behaviours. I too am a people pleaser, I want to fix things, make things right, want to help people. I mean, even my user name… when I joined this forum I couldn’t think of anything, and the first thing that came in to my head when I thought about why I was joining was because… I want to help!
So what have I learned on my recovery journey about myself as well as abuser behaviour, coercive control tactics and red flags?
I grew up in the era of Madonna, Madness and Bananarama! There was no relationship advice in schools whatsoever, domestic abuse was a taboo subject, and relationships were either good or bad. You married for ‘better or worse’ and it was expected by a certain age that everyone would have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Being a single person in your late teens or early 20’s was considered a loser, and empowered women seeking careers was not yet a ‘thing’.
So by my late teens my parent’s friends always enquired whether I was ‘courting’ anyone. So I felt it was ‘expected’ that I’d have a boyfriend by a certain age. I did have a few. Then I met a guy who was quite a bit older than me who was in a band and I really fancied him. He treated me like s**t, but I thought the more I put in to the relationship the more he might put back in himself. He was also a bit of a ‘catch’ (or so I thought as loads of girls fancied him and he’d chosen to be with me.) I continued with that relationship for some years because I wasn’t confident enough to be alone. He didn’t have much money so I gave him some, his flat was dirty and scruffy so I decorated it and bought furniture. When I gave him money to go and buy credits for the gas and electric meters he’d go out on a drinking spree and spend it, but it was better to be with him than no one. And that is how my relationships continued. I was too afraid to be on my own, so as soon as one relationship ended I’d rebound in to another, and then another. Some were good and healthy and just ran their course, some were doomed from the start because we never had enough in common to go much further than a few months. I felt that to be single was a failing, to be single meant I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t attractive enough. I only felt I had worth if someone wanted me. I did not want to live on my own and only have a social life with friends. I wanted a social life with a special ‘someone’. I wanted to be part of a ‘couple’. Didn’t everyone? My friends were getting married, I wasn’t. So I ‘settled’ for someone – my abuser. The relationship even started wrong. The signs were there from the start, but it was better than being alone – he was actually another re-bound boyfriend because the one I really liked had just dumped me. But, the shallow thing was, no matter how wrong he was, he was actually gorgeous and I had known him before and fancied him for a while. Plus, he had issues from his past and his childhood, which explained a lot of his jealousy and anger, and I wanted to help him through those. We split up several times, and I’d be relieved, but then I’d hear from his friends (what I now know are the flying monkeys) that he’d been on dates with someone else (the triangulation) and that things were going well, so if I didn’t act soon if I wanted him back then it might be too late – he’d have moved on. And here is where I had him back because I was jealous he’d found someone else. What if she had this ‘great man’ and I’d actually made a mistake in letting him go? What if life without him was actually worse and I’d gone and lost him because I thought the grass was greener? What if I didn’t meet anyone else and perhaps he was the best thing I’d get? I didn’t want to be alone. He was better than being alone. So I went all out to win him back, and I got him. And within a very short time I was pregnant. I didn’t really know the signs of psychological and emotional abuse, I just thought we weren’t really compatible, but so what? And this is what I brought a child in to. And his jealousy, and control, and anger, and ultimately – violence, got worse.
So now I have learned a lot about myself, my neediness, my insecurities, and I am aware of the reasons that I accepted behaviours I wasn’t happy with. It was because I didn’t want to be alone.
Fast forward to the present, and I love being alone. I won’t settle for someone. I know what I’m looking for but I can’t find it. In the past I had the attitude “I don’t know what I’m looking for, I’ll know when I find it.” I’ve now got boundaries. I’ve now got ‘none negotiable’ traits when it comes to dating. Being alone is perfectly fine and acceptable. Young people need to know that. You are ‘enough’ by yourself. Don’t let anyone else define your self worth.
22nd July 2021 at 2:05 pm #129121soxyParticipant
Thank you both for sharing your stories here. It is so encouraging to hear the positive steps you have each made and how you are progressing. I love the positivity about being single, I needed to read these and be reminded that it is ok. I have definitely felt a shift since doing things to take back my power, I’m getting there 🙂 – thanks for sharing xx
22nd July 2021 at 2:54 pm #129125HeadspinParticipant
Littledove and wantstohelp thank you for giving me hope. Reading your stories, there does seem to be a pattern. I was also bullied at school because I was tiny, “posh” and wore glasses, no boys were interested in me at all. By the time I was in my late teens I had grown out of my gawky stage but was (with hindsight) completely traumatised by the bullying . I was painfully shy, so when I started work as a teen, I was ripe for abuse.
My boss, a huge married hulk of a man, in his late 30s sexually abused me for a long time. I couldn’t say no to him, back in the 70s, the threat of a bad reference or the sack was a disaster. He held all the cards and I couldn’t tell my parents because I thought they would blame me and so I just put up with it. I was so desperate to be “normal”, have a boyfriend and have fun. I was so relieved when I left that job and my abuser.
Every boyfriend I had thereafter abused me emotionally and sexually, I thought there was something desperately wrong with me. I’ve been threatened with a knife, humiliated and degraded, punched, thrown onto the ground. Screamed at. It was always so shocking, as my parents were just so nice and I felt so safe and loved by them. I didn’t what to do, I couldn’t understand why I was unable to navigate adult life. So by the time, my husband to be came along, I thought, finally, I’ve come home, I felt loved and safe. Fast forward years and years and I am completely and utterly sickened by the abuse I’ve received from him. It is only here on this forum and through counselling that I’ve learned that I’m not to blame, abusers are attracted to empaths. Your survival and happiness gives me enormous hope and courage. Thank you.
23rd July 2021 at 8:45 pm #129195nbumblebeeParticipant
I love reading these stories gives me some hope some strength Thank you for sharing x
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