Today, on a cold snowy day, when all my son’s friends were gathering to go for a walk to be in the snow, I was startled by a situation that brought me back to a similar situation that I had had and I felt strongly compelled to warn one of the kids about.
My radar had been triggered and my intuition would not be quiet until I shared my insights, my story with this young lad.
A friend of my son is in a new relationship with a girl his age and they are inseparable which sounds sweet, until I found out that she is so jealous of his friends and especially other girls that she does not allow him out of her sight. She insists on joining in even when she does not like that activity or just stops this young boy from joining in with his friends alone.
Her possessiveness was causing problems with his friends and eventually I knew he would be shut off from all other social events if this continued.
You see I had some experience of this. A first when I met this young man, when I was 19, I was impressed and felt special and I have never experienced this kind of attention and so naturally I took it to mean love. That someone loved and cared for me so much and wanted to be around me all the time and keep me to himself.
However, Early on he found out I wrote to a boy in Munich, Germany that I had met through my family when a group of young Bavarians came to visit us and stay, and we had remained in communication. That had to now stop and I was threatened that if it did not we would end.
It seemed reasonable to me at first as we were going steady and well he liked me to be all his, so naturally I was flattered to have so much attention.
He asked me to stop wearing anything pink or any make up as he preferred me natural, so I did, feeling that I liked to please him.
However being me, because I liked make up I just put make up on when I as not with him or at work. If he checked up on me at work I took the make up off. This should have been a warning sign, but I was young so what ever; It seemed normal to me as I had little experience with Boys and not a great relationship with my Mum which he also increased the wedge between us further.
I wanted to move and buy and new house that was being built near by, and by this time my parents were separated and I was indeed alone with him and I did not believe I could afford to do it alone. I asked if he would live there too and he said only of we are married; So then we go married. I knew it was wrong but I was trapped and too far down the road to stop it all.
Once we were married his behaviour became worse, I had so many rules to follow and even down to what I could eat. He wanted me to look like his EX girlfriend who he raved about all the time. So he wanted me to be a lot slimmer, longer hair and blonde, tiny arms and legs and waist like Kyle Monogue. He called me names and made me feel small and useless.
We would go to parties at friends houses and he would tell me terrible stuff before we went in so I felt embarrassed and he threatened me if my behaviour was too flirty he would smash the guy and me later. He threatened me with concrete wellington boots at the bottom of the canal and as I ad no friends or family who would know or care. He has systematically shut off all routes to safety.
He asked about work and was always so suspicious if I mentioned any one of my male colleges, so I just stopped mentioning names. But there was a work Christmas party coming up and I wanted to go, I loved to dance and get dressed up.
I managed to present the Christmas event in such as way that I could go but I felt nervous all night. I felt watched and in fear of having a good time I refused to dance I would not put it past him to spy on me just to cause an argument and help his plan to make me feel smaller and more useless.
I started to notice that he talked a good talk about work and how tough he was and how he threaten certain people. He worked as a landscape gardener and once had to go to one of the houses to collect something and I was in the car outside but I could hear him talking. Before he went in he said I’m going to tell him what for and that he is a cheater and a liar and get the money he owes us.
I listened to their conversation and it seemed normal no high or loud voices; When he came back to the car he said what he had done and how he had shouted and threatened him. Weird I thought but said nothing. I started noticing that he was the crazy insecure one and that by making me feel small and get me to do things or be a certain way it made him feel manly and like a tough man.
I did not say anything as he had a temper and had been very, very unreasonable and hit me several times but the verbal abuse was just as bad. He pushed me down stairs and took things away from me.
If I ever smiled at someone or was friendly with a neighbour I was threatened, as I was apparently having an affair. His fear and actions were crazy. I told very few people about my home life and I had no contact with my family so I was alone; The friends who knew some of the situations were staying away a long way away from me and any trouble as they did not want to get caught up in any of this although he was charming to some he was vile to others.
I had to get out of this mess I had created for myself and as my Mum liked to say often when I was growing up, you made your bed now lye in it.
I made a decision, I would leave him. The time had to be right. I had to build a safe exit route, I had to get away without any further repercussions. I waited for an argument but it never seemed big or bad enough to use as an exit route. I waited for him to threaten or hit me but when he did it seemed not significant enough to leave for.
There was another Christmas party on the horizon and a friend of mine would come and collect me and we would go together.
Her Dad actually a client of mine in the business I was then in, came to collect me and drove us to the Complete Angler Hotel In Marlow, such a beautiful hotel.
I promised myself I would eng-$joy myself no matter what, laugh Dance and to shell with the consequences
I had such a lovely evening. My friends Dad dropped me off in the wee small hours and guess who was up? Questioning, playing the victim and accusing me of getting up to mischief. I wound myself up to a crescendo and exploded. I used that as the final straw.
I slept in the spare room and although I don’t think I did sleep much, I had made a stand. That was it no way back. He was always remorseful of his accusations and behaviour the next day so when he tried to make up I said it’s gone too far.
He cried and cried. But I was resolute. That week I found a flat and moved out and as It was Christmas planned a visit to my Mums to get away. I was skin and bone but so happy.
When I came back after Christmas I move into my new flat and the girl who had promised to help me was no where to be found, I as alone 15 car trips later I had moved out and although I had to leave my chocolate Labrador behind I was FREE.
The thing is as I write this today 30 + years on, I know that I still have dreams about being trapped with him. I dream I’ve gone back or still in that relationship and I am looking to escape.
It has had long lasting effects and even in ways you don’t imagine like my eating obsessions and desire to be thin, Self hate, poor self image, cruel self judgement, feeling all alone, not asking for help, waiting to be told off or punished for something that’s considered normal, like a fun conversation with someone. I know a lot of my eating disorder and desire to starve myself came from these days and as I face another trigger I am kinder and more gentle with myself and see the lesson and the huge gift from this personal but sad experience.
I am extremely sensitive to people and situations that feel off, and can detect a victim from a mile away. That vibration and self pity that leads to the bully tactics is so loud that I know I have a choice, to stay or go, and deal with it differently and hopefully head on.
I hope that for everyone in a relationship who finds themselves caught ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’ you know that you get to chose, Maybe you have to be careful how you exit this relationship but you can do it. If I did so can you.
So much Love.