Writing a blog is an outlet for me – it provides a way for me to get things off my chest, share experiences and sometimes have a rant about things that annoy me. I’m very lucky to have the support of my friends and family in writing this blog but every now and then I need to write something that I know might upset them. This is one of those blogs. To my family, my husband and one day my daughter I would ask you not read this one as I know it’s not a nice subject. I’m so nervous about publishing this but it’s an important subject.
So you need to stop. Here. Go on. Off you go. Please.
Ok. Have you gone?
Right. Onto the actual subject then.
Dear Dr Chuckles and Mr Ibiza
I’m 38 and I’ve not really had any relationships outside of the fantastic one I have with my husband and you two. You two who showed me everything a relationship shouldn’t be.
I recently found out a friend of mine was in a physically abusive relationship which has made me think about you two more than I’d like. Between you you’ve given me lifelong scars both physical and mental.
You, Dr Chuckles, prefered a more physical form of terror. You were subtle with it but still a truly awful person – you’d have your arm round me as we walked along and while that looked like a form of affection you’d have tight hold of my hair or shoulder to the point of pain. I knew this was a warning to keep my eyes down because if I looked at someone else I know there would be trouble later. I still can’t look at myself in the mirror without hearing your voice in my ear telling me I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m fat and I’m not worthy of anyones friendship or love. Nearly 20 years later I can still hear you although I’m lucky to have a husband who understands my insecurities and works to help me conquer them every day.
And as for you, Mr Ibiza, you made sure you told me on a regular basis that you found any kind of domestic abuse abhorrent but that didn’t stop you asking what I weighed each week. That didn’t stop you telling me I was the kind of person that people just didn’t fall in love with. That didn’t stop you being in control of every aspect of our relationship – from what I wore, to where I lived, to where we’d drink and what I’d drink. You took everything from me and you even took the opportunity to finish the relationship when you told me one day that you thought it was time you moved onto someone more in your league. I know now that you dragged me down, you made me sad and you stole every hope and dream I had for a while. It’s taken many years but I’m starting to believe in myself more now.
So finally to my friend who is in that abusive relationship – I know we’ve spoken lots about it and I know your situation is a lot more serious than mine was. I know you want to keep trying because you love him. I know you think he loves you and in some way he might do. I know you have thoughts about your own self worth and sometimes think you deserve it when he hurts you but you don’t. I’ve written this blog for you because I want you to know I understand in some small part what you are going through. I’ve written this because I want to try and get across how much you need to leave him and draw a line under this whole situation.
You don’t ever deserve to be hit. You don’t ever deserve to be afraid. You don’t ever deserve to be hurt physically or mentally.
I know you say you know where it went wrong and you can fix it but please let me promise you this – he will not change. He will hit you again. He will make you feel unworthy. He has power over you and he isn’t going to give that up any time soon. People like this thrive on the power they hold and he’s not going to relinquish it anytime for you. People who hit the men or women in their lives do not change.
He is unworthy of you and the scars he has already given you will last. This kind of abuse will scar you mentally for years to come and leave you in doubt of yourself. It’s taken me nearly 20 years to be able to offer one compliment about myself because I was told my Dr Chuckles and Mr Ibiza I wasn’t worthy of them. You need to leave before that damage becomes impossible to fix and has a last affect on you and any children you may have. If you can’t face the thought of trusting him with the family you want to have then you shouldn’t be there either.
To my friend I implore you to get out, stay out and start to move on. I stayed with Dr Chuckles and Mr Ibiza too long and caused nearly 2 decades of damage. Please don’t do the same.
And to people who know others are going through this struggle you have my sympathy – having been the one being in that abusive relationship I know how blinkered you can be. Having been the one watching it happen to others I know how frustrating it can be to watch someone who is stuck in an abusive cycle. Please bear with them. You can’t force someone to leave but you do need to be ready to get them out the very second they ask for it and, most importantly, not allow them to go back.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has told me that I don’t seem the type to let someone hurt me but I did. The truth is there isn’t a type and spotting someone who is in a mentally abusive relationship is even harder. Look out for changes in behaviour, character, dress, confidence and habits. Look out for your friends.
If you are a man or a women stuck in an abusive relationship please get help. You can contact Refuge in the UK for advice and assistance – https://www.refuge.org.uk/ . They are waiting to help you and there are people there who are practiced in getting men and women to safety.
You may not think you are strong enough but you are. You can get out. You can recover and you can escape – and when you think you can’t there is an entire army of survivors just waiting to support you.
You can do this. You can leave.
It might just save your life