I look back now, at every alarm bell I ignored, every bad named I was called and forgave. I try and set my mind back to the girl I was then, to attempt to understand why I was so desperate for this man to love me, why I allowed someone to treat me so badly. This man, his abuse, is what I called love, something I felt that I needed. And it doesn’t matter how many tears I shed now or how much I over think it all, I can’t change the past, I can’t change the fact that I stayed.

We met through a dating site, he seemed really nice. I had a child from a previous realationship and it didn’t seem to faze him. I had spent so many years just longing for someone to love me, for a family unit of my own, that in my eyes he was perfect and nothing could have changed that.

The first warnings came not as abuse but as someone who cared about me and about being by my side all the time. He didn’t think I should return to college because he was so scared I’d find another boyfriend, he didn’t think I should persue my driving lessons as my instructor was male, he didn’t agree with my job as he was certain my boss had a crush on me. It flattered me that someone loved me so much that they couldn’t bear to be away from me, or lose me. I cut off all of my friends and most of my family, only seeing a select few who he approved of. I have never been so alone.

Silly really, he carried on going where he wanted, with who he wanted, till whatever times he wanted and I just sat in the house waiting.
When I caught pregnant 6 weeks into the relationship I knew that I would be trapped. From that moment onwards the emotional and mental abuse was constant. He threw things at me-aerosol cans, scissors, keys, pretty much anything that was close to hand, he called me names nearly everyday, he kicked the bed where I lay pregnant with his child, He ran at me and pulled his fist back, although he didn’t make any contact at that point, he made sure that I knew he would and could.

At 6 months pregnant he hit my son from a previous relationship. I have never in my life still to this day, felt such an immense pain and fear in my heart. I stood in between, I moved my child out of he way, and I held him whilst he cried. But I failed to protect him that day, I failed to protect him every day after that day because although he never hit my son again, I had so much fear inside of me that I could not find it in me to end this relationship.

It was 2 weeks after our child was born that I found out about all the other women he was sleeping with, and even then, in all my hurt and heartache, it was him who cried it was me who consoled him and told him everything would be ok. This man had got so into my head that I didn’t even know how to function in a normal manner anymore. Every action he made, every time I got hurt it was because I had said something wrong, I had pushed him, I hadn’t slept with him the day I gave birth so therefore he needed another woman to sleep with.

Pretty much as soon as I was no longer pregnant the violence became more physical, he would punch me, hold me down, elbow me, kick me, and throw things at me. If I went to bed not wanting to have sex he would hit me in the back, when I did sleep with him it felt like he would make it a personal accomplishment to hurt me, once even putting a belt around my neck and getting his sexual kicks from that.
I lived this life for 5 years. Just from ignoring those early warning signs I would never have believed what kind of life would have came from it.

As a person he broke me, my heart hurts in a way that can never be repaired, inside I’m destroyed.
2017 I finally found some strength, I finally realised that if I continued this life then I would end up dead.
The last time he hit me he also attempted to strangle me twice. From here the relationship was done for me, but it didn’t stop him letting himself into my house, turning up at my children’s school or my family’s house playing the doting partner and Dad. I stuck to my guns, I refused to rekindle anything with him other than co parenting. He continued to harass me, constantly texting and calling, sitting outside of my house, until he found himself a new girlfriend.

When I refused the new girlfriend contact with my children, again the torture started. He chased me through parks, tried to kick my door in, made constant threats to beat me up and to kill me, posted my number onto a website advertising sex, and tried to take my children from me.
I no longer had any strength to be his victim, but I always kept my strength of being a mum. So I contacted the police and a domestic violence charity. I represented myself in court to get a non molestation order, and although he appealed that, it was granted in January 2018 for 12 months. If he comes anywhere near me or contacts me he will be in breech of the order and face a jail sentence.

To say its over would be lovely. It might be over as far as me being physically hurt at his hands, but the hurt I feel every single day, the level of broken inside that I feel, the damage this man has caused to me and my children, that is irreparable.
Standing here today, I can hold my head high and say I survived the worst years of my life, and although I’m not where I want to be I’m definitely not nor ever again going to be where I was.