Domestic Violence

Domestic violence.  The words evoke a range of responses and perceptions.  Some may be a result of the media, widespread myths or personal experiences.

Personally, my idea of domestic violence was of a man who hit his wife on a regular basis.  I expect that many have this view.

I wasn’t in that type of relationship.  My ex-husband had never hit me.

Yet, I did at times wonder if he was being abusive.  Such as when he would stand in a doorway and refuse to let me leave the room while shouting at me.  Other times, he would use his physical size to intimidate me or punch a wall close to me.

Whenever I threatened to call the police, he would tell me that they would do nothing as he hadn’t laid a finger on me and never would.  My ex-husband worked for the police.  I believed him.  But I shouldn’t have.  It was finally the police that made me see that I was a victim of domestic violence and that I had been for years.

These are the signs of domestic violence according to Women’s Aid:

  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse:  shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening
  • Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
  • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.
  • Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.
  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
  • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.
  • Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
  • Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.
  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again

My ex-husband didn’t do all of these but, without going into specific details, he did more than half of them.

I expect some people would wonder why I stayed married for so long, so I will try to explain.

Firstly, because there was no physical violence, I believed him when he said that it wasn’t domestic violence and it wasn’t that bad.  After all, everyone has their ups and downs in a marriage.

Secondly as part of this, I was in denial.  I wanted to believe that it wasn’t that bad.  Or that it was the drink.  Or his abusive childhood.  Or the range of reasons that he gave me.  It is sometimes easier to be in denial than to face reality.

Thirdly, I believe that I am a positive person and I always try to see the best of every situation.  Unfortunately, even after I realised that things were not ‘normal’, my positivity gave me hope that he could be ‘cured’.  I persuaded him to talk to several people – friends and professionals – about his issues in the hope that once these were dealt with, he would be ‘better’.

Fourthly, a lot of the abuse was emotional and psychological, and he would threaten suicide, walk out for hours, say that he would fight me for custody, tell me sob stories and generally use a range of tactics to make me stay.

Fifthly, I loved him.  And I believed that when you love someone, you try to help them and to give them another chance.

Finally, it wasn’t all bad.  He wasn’t abusive every day or every week.  It was like living with a Jekyll and Hyde character.  He could be very loving – saying kind words or buying me little gifts.  But you never knew whether it would be Jekyll or Hyde that walked through the door each day.  And you never knew what would change him from one to the other, so there was a lot of eggshell walking.

Even after we split up, he still had a hold on me.  I offered to give him money for a deposit on a flat – which he took but lost when he was evicted from there after getting drunk.  I drove him to the doctors and support workers to get him help.  I organised places for him to stay and the contact between him and our children.

I remember talking to one of the domestic abuse support team and telling her that I was going to speak to our local contact centre to arrange supervised access for him to see our younger three children.  She told me that he was still emotionally controlling me, even though he had left.  She firmly stated that if he wanted to see his children, then he should be the one to organise it.  After all, I was trying to take care of six children, the family finances and returning back to work.  So, I never made that phone call.  And guess what?  Neither did he.

It is hard to see that it is happening when you are in that situation.  Fortunately, I am now out of the relationship and free to make my own decisions without being lied to, abused or manipulated.

I am now free and happy.

For further information and support on domestic violence:

Woman’s Aid

Counselling Directory

Mami 2 Five



28 Comments on Domestic Violence

  1. Anna Fraser
    October 19, 2015 at 9:16 am (3 years ago)

    Good for you. I am very happy to hear that you are happy.
    I can totally see why you stayed as long as you did, and actually, this is a credit to you and your perseverance with your marriage. But, it was clearly an unhealthy relationship for both of you. He was emotionally manipulating you, and in trying to help him and your family, you were – in a way- enabling that behaviour. I too have been in an unhealthy relationship so I do quite understand. Doesn’t t feel nice to figure it out, act on it and get out the other side though? Great post, and wishing al the happiness for the future.
    lots of love
    Anna x
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  2. Anna C.
    October 18, 2015 at 10:01 pm (3 years ago)

    I was a victim of domestic violence by my father as a daughter which ended up being in abusive relationships through my teens…
    I’m now happily married with a man that loves me and I love him too but the scars will never go away…
    Anna C. recently posted…Cozy Autumn | OutfitMy Profile

  3. Charlotte Braithwaite
    October 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm (3 years ago)

    What an experience 🙁
    So sorry you went through this hun. Amazing post and so glad you have made others aware.
    Charlotte x
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  4. Sandra
    October 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Well done on writing such a brave post and for leaving. You have my upmost respect and I appaud you xxx
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  5. Rachel
    October 17, 2015 at 12:49 am (3 years ago)

    i am sure you will help lots of women and men out there who are suffering in silence and may change things after reading your post. You are such a strong women to get through what you did and look after your family at the same time.
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  6. Helen | Wonderfully Average
    October 16, 2015 at 9:27 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been through this. This must have been very difficult to write. But this post may just help someone else escape an abusive relationship, and that’s somethng you should feel very proud of xx
    Helen | Wonderfully Average recently posted…Nailed it.My Profile

  7. Cliona
    October 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm (3 years ago)

    This is a great post and you obviously went through a lot and came out strong the other side. I think it’s so important to highlight the different forms abuse can take – none of the things you talk about should be part of a healthy relationship yet it’s easy to let the little things slide and think it’s ok, especially if you’re made to feel at fault.
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  8. Erin @Yorkshiretots
    October 16, 2015 at 5:27 pm (3 years ago)

    What an honest, important post. I know you were not alone when you thought that as long as you weren’t being physically harmed you weren’t in an abusive relationship. I recently read a study of teenagers attitudes towards control in relationships and it made me really sad. Thank you for sharing your experience – it may be just what someone needs to seek help for change.
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  9. Zoe Alicia
    October 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm (3 years ago)

    Very brave blog post on a subject most of us would much rather avoid. You are an inspiration x
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  10. Random Musings
    October 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so sorry to hear you went through this, and so glad you got out of it when you did! I think when you are on the outside, its easy to see abuse and tell people to leave, but when you are in it, its not always so easy.
    I think many people think only of being hit as abuse, but that list you shared shows its so much more than that. I do think though that sometimes people withhold information, not through malice, but through the genuine want to protect someone from emotional pain. While I think that could be a bit patronising, I also think its done with the best of intentions and wouldn’t necessarily call it abuse.
    I think this post will speak to a lot of women (and men) who are trapped in this situation and will hopefully help them to get out 🙂
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  11. Lauren
    September 24, 2015 at 4:13 pm (3 years ago)

    Brave blog. I myself have been a ‘victim’ of domestic abuse, I imagine it was a toug blog to write x

  12. Veronica
    April 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Janette

    After having just been catching up with your blog, after all these years of knowing you, the ex and your 3 eldest………I never knew things were this bad!!! I obviously knew bits and pieces, putting 2 and 2 together etc. You are an amazing woman, a fantastic , strong and independent woman. I am so glad that you are free and happy after all these years.


  13. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    March 14, 2015 at 9:33 pm (4 years ago)

    This was so brave of you to write – it’s so interesting to read all the hidden factors of domestic abuse. I’m sorry that you had to deal with it but I’m so glad you got out and are happy. Thank you for linking up with #twinklytuesday
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  14. christina
    March 12, 2015 at 9:09 am (4 years ago)

    I am so glad you are now free and happy. Thank you for sharing such an important post.
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  15. Cardiff Mummy Says - Cathryn
    February 11, 2015 at 10:56 am (4 years ago)

    Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that you went through all of this. I’m glad you found the strength to leave and it’s so admirable of you to write about such a deeply personal issue to raise awareness and to hopefully help others in a similar situation. I had a family member suffer domestic abuse and it was horrific. She luckily escaped and he went to jail but so many other women don’t realise that domestic abuse is not just about hitting, like you say, and find themselves trapped. x
    Cardiff Mummy Says – Cathryn recently posted…How does anyone manage to keep on top of the housework when they have young children?My Profile

  16. Heledd
    January 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow this post has blown me away!! Such an honest, brave and beautifully written post that I know will resonate and help so many women (and men). Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. This is our #SundayStars star post of the week.

    I’m off now to give my hubby a hug and tell him how much I love him. Stories like this really puts things in prospective and makes you grateful for what you have xxx
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  17. everything mummy
    January 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm (4 years ago)

    Such a brave post but well done for putting it out there this could potentially help a lot of people in a similar situation to what you were and give them the courage to do something about it! x
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  18. Mini Travellers
    January 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm (4 years ago)

    veey brave post and so important to highlight the greyness of the situation, it isn’t always as black and white as people think. I am very glad you are happy and free. Thank you for linking up to #sundaystars
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  19. Katie life on vista haydock
    January 17, 2015 at 6:05 pm (4 years ago)

    Very important story to be told. Thank you for being so brave xxx

  20. Jenna
    January 17, 2015 at 5:41 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m sorry you went though this. I think people have a very black and white view of what domestic violence is – Man hits woman = domestic violence. But as you’ve so clearly explained, that is just not the case. Much of the above brought back memories of my parents behaviour when I was a child. Fortunately, I learned a long time ago that those behaviours did not belong to a healthy relationship.

    This is a very courageous and informative post – I hope it helps others, I’m sure it will.


    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  21. Karen
    January 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to read about what you went through. I just can’t imagine all those conflicting emotions you must have felt going through that. You are so brave sharing this and I hope it will help many women suffering from domestic abuse x
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  22. Mrs H
    January 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm (4 years ago)

    This is such a brave but hugely important post to write. I think it is so common to think that you are not in an abusive relationship if you are not hit. But there are many ways a relationship can be abusive. Thank you for pointing that out. Thank you also for linking up to #SundaysStars. Hugs Mrs H xxxx
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