She doesn't have a blog, and for reasons that will become clear, she remains anonymous. She has written a brief account of the start of an abusive relationship...
Our relationship was very intense. Within 2 months, we were living together. I hadn't really had a chance to meet anyone else, but that was ok, because I had him...
He would drop me off at work, and he would pick me up from work because that's what good boyfriends do right? Sometimes he would stay and have a drink at the bar, and the other blokes would avoid getting into a conversation with me. I just thought they were being considerate to my boyfriend... I didn't realise they were being considerate to me.
Everywhere we went, we went together. I was quickly immersed into his family, who I treated as my own family. His mother became my mother. My Mum was 300 miles away, and sometimes a girl needs a mum right there. I adored his family. I bought his nieces clothes and make up, and helped them with advice about their hairstyles and boys. I played football with his nephews. I changed the babies nappies, and fed them. They were my family.
Things were ok, but still intense and we were still always together. 6 months later, the pub bar work was starting to cause some problems. He didn't like that I had banter with the other men, so I changed to hotel bar work. This was more acceptable, as it was business men that I would be serving and they wouldn't 'talk down to me' with their banter.
This job went well for another 6 months, until the night that it was quiet, and they said I could go home early. My phone was out of credit, so I couldn't call my boyfriend to ask him to come and get me. One of the guys offered to give me a lift back and I accepted. I guess, that was my first mistake.
When I walked through the front door, he was cleaning the fish tank out. There were buckets of dirty water everywhere and he just glared at me. Asked what I was doing home already. I was obviously trying to catch him out with another girl. I was sneaking about. Had I even been to work that night?
It didn't matter how much I tried to reason with him, he wouldn't listen. Yes I had been at work. It was quiet. They said I could leave and still get paid for the full shift. I had no credit on my phone to call him.
Eventually he said that he had to finish cleaning out the fish tank. We had tropical fish. They couldn't wait. I made a cup of tea and went to bed confused about the way that he had spoken to me. Was I being dramatic?
The next morning it was like the argument hadn't even took place. We got up, had breakfast and went out to visit family. I don't remember feeling weird. I don't remember feeling on edge. I've always been the type to argue and then forget about it. I don't generally hold grudges as I think they just make you rot from the inside out.
I wasn't working that weekend so we decided to go out. We met up with friends, played pool, and I had a couple of drinks. He wasn't drinking because he was driving. One of our female friends fancied the barman there, and she asked me to speak to him for her. That was fine, I had no interest in him, but I could talk to anyone and I agreed to talk to him for her, explaining that she was shy, but would he take her number and give her a call maybe? He agreed, so that made two happy people... I hadn't realised that my boyfriend was getting more and more annoyed by the fact that I was 'flirting' with the barman. That the number I had handed over MUST have been mine...
My boyfriend decided to leave the bar, and I followed. He got into the car, and so did I. He decided that he was going to drive home as fast as he possibly could, and I couldn't do anything about it. I remember gripping the car seat. I remember holding onto the door. I remember thinking that he was going to crash straight into a lamppost, but he braked at the last minute.
My knuckles had turned white, and I had my first ever panic attack. This wasn't fun. I had never been made to feel like that in my life. He had scared me.
He parked the car and we went up to the flat. Within two minutes there was a knock at the door and one of his friends came in. I made everyone a cup of tea and his friend asked what the hell was going on. He'd followed in his car, and had seen us nearly hit that lamppost head on. He didn't understand. Neither did I.
Was this my fault? Had I been flirting with that barman? Had I 'looked' like I was flirting with that barman?
I tried to explain things again. I was giving him a friends number. He knew she was shy. I was just trying to help. I'd be more considerate of his feelings in the future. I was sorry...
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It does to me...
If you are affected by domestic abuse, don't just put up with it. Speak to Womens Aid or the National DV Helpline. Call your GP, the police, your mum, your neighbour. The first step is the hardest but it is so worth it.
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