Sefton and Liverpool Women in Business

Confessions of A Domestic Abuse Goddess – Gambling With My Life!

I had a wonderful, open and honest chat with a really great lady yesterday. It was totally unexpected, I haven’t known her that long, nor do I know her that well. But I know she gets me, I instinctively knew I could trust her and the more I move away from being a victim of domestic abuse, the more often I trust those instincts again. And while we were talking, she asked a few really good questions, and the answers surprised me a little.

I was telling her about when I faked my suicide. Yes you read that right. In desperation, from a place of hopelessness, I planned and executed what I thought was a brilliant plan that would ultimately force my abuser to see the damage he was doing to me and subsequently rein in his behaviour towards me. Because he loved me, he even told me so once or twice a year. But of course he loved me, I mean I knew that right? He had married me, and you don’t marry someone unless you love them. He had passionately persuaded me to fall pregnant with our son, and you wouldn’t do that with someone you didn’t love. So really, all I needed to do was find the right way to show him all the pain, trauma and anxiety he was causing me. And I just couldn’t take anymore of the constant belittling, criticism, threats of violence if I didn’t comply, having my treasured belongings smashed, drunken ranting at me, threats of destroying my reputation and taking my children away, being told my family hated me, that no one really liked me and then the actual violence itself of course.

So I am about 8 years into my sentence when I decide I just gotta do this or I really am going to get pushed to the point where I want out at any cost! And that just isn’t me. Despite this constant miserable barrage of abuse, I am still strong, and there is this teeny tiny bud of hope and joy deep down inside me that he just can’t take away, no matter how hard he tries to suck the life out of me. Well now, as is the usual scenario every night in “his” house (the family home to normal people!), this highly professional individual who is responsible for many lives as he fulfills his work commitments in, lets call it glorified public transport, is drunk. I put in the detail about his profession, because if I heard it once, I heard it a million times and, according to him, it was reason enough why he wasn’t abusing me, because someone as highly regarded as he surely must be, simply was not capable of something as distasteful as DV. And besides, as he always pointed out, no one was going to believe me over him. Don’t be fooled by someones job people. Anyone, of any race, religion, social, educational or economic background can be a perpetrator of DV. Their job, how often they attend church or their activities for charity are irrelevant. Unfortunately, the judicial system, social services and the police are yet to catch up with this ground breaking news!!

But back to the story. So he is rolling drunk, again, and being his usual obnoxious little self and talking all night about his favourite and only subject, himself and his ever so important job. And I am bored to tears yet again. I don’t know what prompted it, but he took himself off into the front room to watch t.v. for a while which gave me some respite from his company, and time to get organised, if in fact I was going to do this. So I had a glass of wine and sat down to consider my options and whether I was going to really do this.

I couldn’t see any real reason not to go ahead with it to be honest. I had no actual intention of taking anything, so I wasn’t going to do myself any harm, and I was sure when the scene had been set and he found me in an apparent suicide situation, that he would be flooded with feelings of love, concern and remorse. And he would vow to behave differently towards me, because he just hadn’t realised how awful he had made my everyday existence. I had another glass of wine for courage I guess (there was always a never ending supply in our house, he had grown up around excessive alcohol consumption and it was considered normal in his family, in fact it was something his father had repeatedly bragged about, right up until the part where he got pancreatic cancer which is associated with alcoholics – I will talk more about this another time). Then I got out the medicine chest and had a rummage through. To be honest, this hadn’t been the best designed plan as I had pretty slim pickings here. I popped out some paracetamol and pink ibuprofen and I remember standing there a while wondering what the bloody hell do I do now?. I washed a few down the sink on the off chance he had any idea how many we had (not that there was much chance of that as he isn’t particularly bright), but still I thought, just in case, you know, hedging my bets in case it became all “Sleeping With The Enemy”.

By now I am on glass of wine number three, panicking a little and wishing I had some sort of director telling me how to do this and make it look authentic, so that he realises how far he has pushed me and how utterly miserable he makes me. I haven’t actually got a clue what I am doing, other than I know I cannot go on living this God awful life with this brutal human being that the outside world sees as charming and wonderful, but in reality takes pleasure in terrorising the very people who are supposed to make his life worth living. I have to do something, and I have been thinking of this for months, so I have to do it now. So I scatter a few tablets around the stove top and counters in the kitchen. I know it sounds ridiculously dramatic, but I have no experience of this whatsoever, I am 100% not suicidal, and in my mind this plan, carried out properly, is going to buy me happiness, or at least make the horror that is living with this animal stop. Here is the part were the plan went out of the window. And here is the part that my life changed forever.

I hear him approaching the kitchen. By now it is getting on time wise. And like Elvis says, “It’s now or never”!! I lie down on the kitchen floor, which wasn’t in the plan, although what was in the plan is still a scooby doo mystery to me. It turns out I am more of an ad lib kind of girl than a stick to a plan one! So here it is. The plan is now going to come to fruition as he walks in, see’s me, slumped on the floor, weeping, distraught and not able to communicate. I know it sounds dramatic and manipulative, but unless you have been the victim of sustained domestic abuse, you have no concept of how you feel as a human being, or the lengths you will go to to make it stop.

I am relatively quiet to be honest. I can hear my almost silent tears fall, they are genuine, born from years of constant, cruel and calculated abuse. I have made myself look as weak, pathetic and thus unthreatening as I possibly can. When it started many years before, I did try to defend myself on a handful of occassions, indeed once, I really felt I had to defend myself for my own preservation, as his rage escalated at epic speeds, and I drew blood. Now I am not proud of that, but I most certainly not ashamed of it either. But what I did learn and quickly was that standing up to him, trying to fight back, only made him angrier, more vicious and therefore ended with my injuries and wounds being much worse. But i will tell you more about that another day.

So on this night, I am making myself look weak, timid and pathetic, so he will pity me, feel sorry for me, and then the feelings of love etc etc etc. So he walks in, looks at me, looks around and finally the penny drops. “Oh for fucks sake” he says, and turns and leaves the room slamming the door behind him. He is angry. In an instant rage. I hear him on the phone to his sister, barking at her, and then he returns. I am paralysed with shock and I lay there, eyes closed, still as stone. This is not the reaction I had expected. This is not the reaction of a normal, caring and compassionate human being.

“I haven’t got a clue. What should I do? I have got to go to work in the morning”, he is ranting at his sister, full of rage and contempt for me, not a whisper of concern. he hasn’t even come over to me, touched me or tried to speak to me in any way. I am nothing more than an inconvenience, a mess to be cleared. I am not loved, treasured, cared for or respected. I am not valued or wanted. I am now lying on the floor bereft. How can this be? How did I marry this? He is leaving the room, still ranting at his equally delightful sister.

It is quiet for a while, then voices. There is an ambulance crew coming down my hall towards my kitchen. Holy shit, I never thought of this as an eventuality. What the hell do I do now? Oh my God, now I am just scared. I don’t know what to do or how to handle this. He is so mad already so if I stand up and tell the truth he might kill me, especially as I would have to say why to the ambulance crew and he hates when I tell other people who he really is. he would be humiliated, so then he will get even madder. I have no idea what to do, but I know now my plan was a really shitty plan. He shows them into the kitchen then basically buggers off. It’s odd that 95% of the time he cares so deeply what other people think of him, but when he is in one of his rages, he doesn’t give a toss to the point where he actually has no shame. Like when the police have been there, and I am bleeding all over the floor, and he has made comments like “It was only a bit of a slap”. And seriously, I’m stood there covered in blood from my nose or something. It is really weird. I go off track a lot don’t I? Anyway, I just look at the lady ambulance technician and she must see something in me, in him and the way he behaved, and she asks if the kids are ok staying there with him. I say yes, partly because I am too ashamed to involve anyone else, and not because of me, but because of how obvious it now is that he doesn’t give a damn about me, and partly because I know he won’t bother the children when they are asleep because he can never be bothered with them.

So off I go to the hospital, where I have a chat as soon as I arrive with the most wonderful nurse who the ambulance lady takes me to. i spent the entire journey apologising to her for the misuse of the ambulance, and trying to explain my predicament. She tells me to stop worrying, she could see what he was the moment he opened the front door, and the fact he bid her farewell by saying he was going to bed kind of cemented what kind of scum he was in her mind. Anyway, the nurse, she makes me a cup of tea as it is a real slow night at A & E, and she asks me what is going on. And it all comes tumbling out. One of the terrible things about DV is the shame the victim feels, and the secrecy that shrouds everything. So you never get a chance to tell anyone who you really are, how you really feel and what you really need. It is a constant performance, to hide the pain and agony you are really in from the wider world. Some performances are Oscar worthy, others not so much! So she sits and listens, and the more I say the more I want to say. For an hour she listens until I get to the part where i say I am sorry, you must think I am mad. “No” she says, “it happened to my mum too”. And I burst into tears, long deep loud cries of agony and torture. Like I said, it changed my life forever that night. And that beautiful nurse just held my hand, she made me feel safe, cared for and worthy of her time. i will be forever grateful for her kindness.

I had to see the duty psychiatrist before I was allowed to leave. I remember she had a trainee with her and she explained that while she now knew what was going on and a blood test had confirmed I had ingested nothing, it was a legal requirement she at least meet me. She offered me help, refuges etc but I declined. Partly because they were still the enemy at this point, but partly because I knew that things had changed forever and that I was actually going to begin the long process of getting out. She listened for a brief while about the conditions I lived in and reassured me it was all pretty “textbook stuff”. She agreed I was totally coherent and I do think she understood what I had tried to achieve that night and how it had snowballed. I asked her not to put that i had admitted being a DV victim on my notes and she said she would just write that we had had a consult re: suicide. That came back to bit me in the backside when organising access to my son, as his father tried to use it against me (with not a hint of shame, as had it been true it would clearly have been him that had pushed me to it!) but that is another story for another day.

So around 6am I got a cab home. Oh just to clarify, he didn’t come visit me, neither did his sister who knew where I was and what had supposedly happened. The two of them had no clue about the plan. His sister also considers herself a superior human being as her job is also “very important” and she is a regular churchgoer and people know her, and she has high standing in her community. His sister was also well aware of what he did to me and told me “it happens” in marriages. they are cut from the same cloth, as is their mother. They all show many sociopathic tendencies, and needless to say neither of them gave a damn that night. My abuser didn’t even call the hospital. For all he knew I was lying dead at the hospital. His only concern was sleep because he had to go to work where everyone thought he was God (including him!!).

He was startled awake when I came in and demanded to know why I was there, and why wasn’t I getting my stomach pumped and that they couldn’t have possibly let me go just like that (apparently now he was qualified to DR level too). At this moment in time I was all cried out, although it would return later that day with avengence.

My friend asked yesterday as I told her the story is this when I fell out of love with him? I told her no, I don’t believe I ever truly loved him actually. I had had a crush on him aged 16 and then bumped into him again in my late twenties. What I hadn’t truly realised until very recently is that all of his behaviour had indicated his tendencies to abuse. When I did get together with him it was only a few months after I had had viral meningitis which had given me a terrible fright, and only a few months since I split with my eldest daughters father, albeit amicably, a loss to me nonetheless. He was adamant within a few months of dating that we try and get pregnant and by the time we had been dating 6 months we were married. Classic behaviour in that men who are DV perpetrators will push to forge such connections as marriage and pregnancy to strengthen their hold on women. I just kind of got swept along in the charm offensive phase, but no I didn’t love him, and I certainly wasn’t in love with him. And to be honest, there is nothing to love.

She also asked if I felt like my plan had failed. Well now, it sure didn’t go to plan, not even close, and in many ways it made life harder for me for a while. But it didn’t fail. I knew, I finally knew what a nasty, cruel, twisted piece of dirt I had married, I knew I deserved better than that, and I finally began to realise there was nothing wrong with me and I wasn’t doing a damn thing wrong to deserve this. For the final time, I stopped trying to please this wicked excuse for a human being. I no longer gave a damn whether he was happy or not. He was the freak, not me. And now I knew it, and now I planned on acting on it for me and my children. It was the beginning of the end. For the first time in years there was light at the end of the tunnel and I could almost feel my freedom reaching out and pulling me forward. The next few years would proove to be the hardest of my life, for wicked little men do not just allow you to release yourself from their prison and walk away. But when the time is right ladies, and with the right support and a little self belief, you can scale any wall they build, jump and hurdle and claw your way back to life.

My friend told me that far from being crazy, she thought my plan was incredibly brave. Personally I think it was a bit brave and a lot lucky. But it worked for me and I got away eventually. Now. I must tell you next time about later that day and the visit from my GP. It highlights how manipulative these men are and how they see everything as an opportunity to tighten their control. Until then stay safe, and if you are uffering, know you are not alone and consider borrowing some of my strength to get you out of your personal prison. Contact your local womens organisation, chat to them. They won’t swoop in to remove you because you called for advice.

Take care and stay safe,

Steph xx

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