Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A delicate subject

Hello. Have you been listening to The Archers? I have to say I gave up with it a long time ago, the story lines were not holding my attention, so I drifted away from it. However, it has been in the news a lot lately, all down to the domestic abuse saga of Helen and Rob which has been rumbling on for around 18 months. I read that they were covering this topic but I didn't feel inclined to jump back in again, it would have brought back unpleasant memories of the past when I found myself in a similar situation. I only know too well what it's like to be the victim of  a bullying control freak, it's a horrible place to be.

A week or so ago I caught the scene where it all came to a head, through not turning the radio off quick enough. Helen took a knife and stabbed Rob, lot's of screaming and shouting. Thank goodness my situation did not escalate to that level, but never the less, my relationship brought a lot of mental stress, which is just as destructive as physical violence. Never under estimate the power of a manipulative mind taking control of another persons personality.

I've found an article in The Guardian in which the writer Michele Hanson says the harrowing domestic story line has her hooked. It is planned to trundle on for another year, as Rob is not dead. I for one will not be listening, I have first hand knowledge to know what it is like to be worn down, to become a shadow of your former self.

I sometimes mention my diaries, picking out little stories to post here, and in order to keep this a happy blog I have skipped over the not so happy times. But hey, life is not all roses, shit happens and you have to find a way to deal with it. I think it's a good idea to include topical subjects, as well as the 'ups', it's also the 'downs', which make me the person I am, and it's my blog so I can say what I like. I'm going to make an exception now of picking out a few entries of the three years or so when I was victim of bullying. You may or may not want to read it, but if it helps someone take stock of their own lives, puts their situation in perspective, and gives food for thought, then it's worthwhile me sitting here and bashing the keyboard.

I got through it in a relatively short space time, but I did think I was trapped forever and I would be stuck in that situation indefinitely. I went round in circles in my head, knowing what I needed to do, but I wasn't quite strong enough to change things, until I saw sense. I have mentioned that I can say what I like now, but it wasn't always like that during the three years of this relationship. I had to be mindful of everything that came out of my mouth, because every word was picked over, dissected, and questioned. My every move was monitored by this person who wanted full control over me. I was interrogated, accused, spied on, manipulated, and all I ever wanted to do was to make it work between us.

I went along with it because saying he loved me was easy words to roll off his tongue. If he got what he wanted he only had to say those words, and I put any doubts to the back of my mind. And it went on, a vicious circle. Eventually those doubts grew from a few seeds, to fully grown stinging nettles. Slowly I began to realize that the relationship was not normal. People, my friends and work colleagues, noticed that I had changed, and I had, to be the person he wanted me to be. I voluntarily made the changes in the beginning, because my single days were over and I was now part of a couple. But after a while I didn't like the new me, I wanted the old one back. There is only so long that you can act in character, it's important to remember the real you inside. I was always a friendly happy person, but I changed that for him. I became introvert, and scared to open my mouth, not like me at all.

Actual words from my diaries. We weren't living together.
T (made up initial), was mad with me because I was talking to M yesterday. He accused me of fancying him. What a horrible mess, we are not getting anywhere. He was annoyed, he finished with me because M was talking to me. I am fed up with the whole situation. T gets mad when he can't see me.

It all went wrong and T was mad with me, he came to the house and was shouting at me. I was ready to finish with him, I put his clothes in a bag, then took them back.

T rang this morning, said I hadn't answered the question he asked yesterday, which was why do I look at all the other men, when I was with him. We then had a stupid conversation which didn't gain anything. I gave him my answer, he said he didn't believe me.

I didn't do much this afternoon, didn't feel like it. Felt sad that I am on my own. T said he might come round, but of course he didn't. I don't know what to believe anymore. I don't know how he can treat me like he does. I'm just convenient for him to call on whenever he feels like it. I must be stupid to put up with it.

I rang T on the mobile, I have been getting fed up with the situation. I said we are miles apart with differences. He was mad with me. I just want an end to it now. I said this has got to stop, this is the end of the line for me. T is not what I want from a partner, he doesn't know how to love, how to care properly. He is always nasty, moody, snappy, in a bad mood, and miserable. I can't cope with all this gloom and doom.

Fed up with everything, I want to get my life sorted. Can't concentrate while everything is messy. T rang and asked me to pick him up. I said I was upset yesterday about coming back to an empty house after he promised to be there. He asked if I had any feelings for anyone else. The man is screwed up I am sure.

I could go on, but I'll stop there. You get the picture, I was at his beck and call. So how did I get out of it? The discontent on my part had built up over a period of time. I had put so much into the relationship, he was going to be my partner for life, but I wasn't getting anything back from it. He would have gone on for longer, bullying me into getting what he wanted, but I knew I had to get out. I felt a complete failure, he had eroded my personality that much I was a different person. I had to change back to how I was.

It took a while, because he carried on pestering me. He kept ringing for a long time afterwards, eventually the calls got less and less. I did not ask for any help in dealing with it, I wanted to sort it myself, and I did. I got busy, made myself do things, changed things around in my house, started to go out more, and find some new friends. I put the whole sorry situation in a dark hole where it belonged.

I wish it had never started, but it did, and you can't change the past. I have learnt from it, and I will never be in that situation again. I am happy now. I'll put the diaries away now, I won't destroy them because you can never completely erase the past. The Archers abuse story happens every day all over the world. I feel for the women, and men, experiencing it now. The programme is covering a very sensitive subject and needs to be talked about, I won't be listening though.

It's a lovely day, I'm going to open up the summer house and have a potter in the garden.

Thank you for popping in. We'll catch up tomorrow.
Toodle pip

52 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. It's brave. The reason why I'm being super careful with relationship choices ( hence still single!) is that I never want to be in a similar situation again. Life is too precious. x

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    1. Protecting oneself is the best decision anyone can make.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story, that took real guts and I sincerely hope it helps anyone who is in a similar situation. Take care.

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  3. That must have been a real difficult period in your life, such a nasty person. You know how to enjoy yourself now though I read your blogpost about Kettlewell from 5 years ago and you had a great time then, such a beautiful area. I hope to visit it some time. Thanks for letting me know about Kettlewell and for your honest sharing. "Someone from the Netherlands".

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    1. Yes, do visit Yorkshire if you get the chance. You will love it.

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  4. It was very brave of you to share this, and it shows how far you have come and how comfortable you are with yourself and your life now that you can share this sort of information from your past.

    There is nothing worse than all the words that leave your mouth being dissected and questioned, having to watch what you say and how you say it, and how you react to things is tiring and as bad in it's own way as physical abuse.

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    1. Interrogation by a troubled and warped person should not have to be endured. Walking away is the only way.

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  5. It is horrible to be an outsider watching this unfold and not being able to do anything about it until the person is ready to see for themselves and get out of the situation. Sometimes it takes most of their lifetimes to remove themselves.

    I can remember someone saying it is lonelier to live in an unhappy relationship than actually living alone

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  6. Wow, your words are sure to bring thoughts from those who have experienced it. I had a relationship that started down that path, but I ended it quickly once I realized the box he was trying to put me in. I sensed it about to happen again, and put my foot down with next significant other, talked a lot, and we've been married for a long time. Still, some tendencies to control, dominate, are present in some individuals even when they are for the most part good people, and knowing how to be strong yourself is something so many women (and men) lack. They can't stand up for themselves and either stay in a belittling relationship, or eventually try and leave with sometimes horrible physical or financial impact.

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  7. What a dreadful time you had and how brave you were to end such a relationship. I've had a loving husband and a very happy married life for 51 years, and the only shit as you so succinctly put it has been health, but we coped with that when it hit us, and were supportive of one another. Now you have a whole group of friends and lovely animals and are happy again, so long may that continue, Ilona. I don't listen to The Archers, never have, but you'd have to be on planet Zog to have missed the story line recently.
    Margaret P

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  8. Good for you Ilona for realising when things had to end and you had to get your life back together, best move you ever made I'd say!

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  9. My Aha moment was when I was fervently praying I did not get pregnant and the little voice said, "If you don't want to bring children into this. What are you doing here?" I got out. I would like to say I learned my lesson, but I didn't. It took one more and sometime talking to a mental health professional before I understood why I was allowing such people in my life.

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    1. Judy, this was my second relationship with a controller. The first one when I was in my early twenties, it went the same way, I had to get out. From then on I took control of my life, never thinking it could happen again, but it did. It took me by surprise that I allowed myself to fall for it. There won't be a third time.

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  10. MQ - you weren't bullied - you were abused ! it sounds like your abuser had NPD - narcissistic personality disorder, good for you for getting out - I wrote a book about escaping this very situation - hell on earth.

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    1. He definitely had a disturbed mind. I haven't gone into great detail here, there was far worse.

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  11. Thank you for this post. I hope it will help other people, at the very least it will help make those of us who are not in that situation aware and perhaps able to help anyone we love who is involved in such a way. JanF

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  12. Thank you for your post and glad you managed to get away before it was too late, unfortunately two women are murdered a week and the police have a call every minute in Uk regarding abuse. It was only when I found this out. that I finished an abusive relationship, single and overdrawn, that I came across your site with lots of money saving tips. ohh and you make me laugh all the time.

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    1. I feel very sad when I read of women murdered by their partners, it seems domestic violence is escalating.

      Glad I make you laugh, but there is a serious side to me which pops up from time to time.

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  13. Well done for taking the hardest step in removing this man from your life because you're right: the man was screwed up and there was absolutely nothing you could've done to un-screw him! Men like this feed off of instability and chaos and the relationships they enter into (usually with very trusting and friendly women) always end up toxic and destructive. T is a sociopath and a master manipulator and the only way to deal with someone like this is to separate yourself, by miles if necessary, and to no longer answer the phone or emails. The entire manipulative endeavor must be cut off dead, no going back. I commend you for having the ability to do that because obviously you got rid of the loser and moved on. Good for you!

    I was in a relationship like this that took me 20 years to finally be able to move past. That's because my situation DID escalate into violence which ended with my sociopath being sent to prison for life and eventually dying in his cell a year ago. It's still unreal when I think about it, that someone could've been such a black hole, a life and soul sucker. I hope anyone who reads this, who thinks that they are in love with a toxic psycho who will change their ways for them, know that the psycho will NEVER change. You have to get out while you can and stay out. x

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  14. I am blessed to be married to a wonderful man for 45 years but when we were first married I was the victim of work place bullying. If it hadn't been for my lovely DH I would have "gone under" but I got out and it was the best thing I ever did. No-one should have to put up with bullying from anyone

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    1. Any bullying is just as bad. I put up with it for years at work. It made me even more determined that I was not going to get hounded out of a job I loved.

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    2. PS. Your DH is a jewel to be treasured. A lovely man which I have had the privilege to meet.

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    3. I am blessed with him. There are kind men out there.

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  15. I have spent many years working with women living in circumstances of domestic abuse and when there are children involved it's even more harrowing as these women lose all perspective and cling to their so called partners through fear of being alone. The damage this causes to the child/ children can last a life time.Many of these women have also come from violent homes. You are very brave to share your story Iliona.

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    1. My own parents marriage was a battleground. I think seeing this made me strong, but I was still taken in by someone who promised the earth but also treated me like dirt.

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  16. I really love that you are such a giver of yourself. You have and continue to touch and make so many people's lives better. When abuse is not held in darkness, but brought to light, it allows others to say that was me or me too. Bless you for your putting yourself out there. You truly make a difference.

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    1. Thank you Mila. I like to touch on subjects that really matter, as well as the silly stuff.

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  17. My first husband was like this controlling where I went, who I spoke to, who was allowed to visit, what I cooked for tea etc etc. Huge rows if I said I had talked about normal things at work like the electric bill or the garden plants! I stuck it for 3 years and suddenly one day I just left him and never went back. A friend told me to secretly write a list of all the good things and all the bad things about the marriage and when I read through what I had written I realised I needed to go. I also realised that he had changed me so much into a servant for him rather than being my own person. I was 18 when I married him and wanted the marriage to work as my parents had a very messy divorce and I wanted mine to be for life. I kept hoping it would go back to the way it was in the first few months of the relationship but of course that never happens. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope this thread and comments help others to escape an abusive relationship. All the best x

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    1. I recognize your description of your ex OH. The questions, the accusations, the interrogations. all this comes from a troubled mind. Glad you were able to get out.

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  18. My first husband was just like the person you describe. He accused every man that looked at me of fancying me... then he started to accuse women who spoke to me of fancying me. I couldn't go out without him.... not even next door for a cup of tea with a neighbour (female) I stuck it for seven years and thank God for the local Womens refuge.

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    1. That's just how it is Cherie. Thanks for sharing your story. The Women's Refuge do fantastic work. When I was a volunteer for the Samaritans, I had to accompany an ex policeman and a victim to go to the woman's home to remove her belongings. Her husband was there but put up little resistance and she was able to recover her children's toys and clothing. We then took her back to the Samaritans Centre, and later she was taken to the refuge.

      The sad part about it is that many women return to the marital home, and the whole cycle starts again.

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  19. I'm sorry you went through that but I'm glad you got out of it. I also went through many years of emotional abuse but with a family member, I became the shadow of my former self and even after being no contact for many years I still get triggered and question my self worth. Now I am learning that she has a mental illness which makes her very paranoid and controlling. No one visits her as she has pushed everyone away, even her neighbours avoid her. When you stop being the scapegoat they move onto someone else and as they get older they run out of people willing to be obliged to it. I started listening to the story on the Archers when someone gave me the heads up but I just found it too triggering. Although heavily dramatised for entertainment, it was actually very real to me - I have first hand experience at how calculating and manipulating people can be until we cannot think straight. People who pathologically control others are in fact very vulnerable people, insecure and anxious (even when they appear strong and confident). By controlling their environment it reduces the risks of things going wrong, people abandoning them, taking something they think is theirs or hurting their ego. People like this rarely show their true self and hide behind a lifetime of learned personas. Someone once said to me that after they divorced their abuser they genuinely could say they never knew them. Charm one minute hatred the next - whichever personality is going to keep them in the driving seat. The only cure for it is no contact as they do not change unfortunately. Also anyone in this kind of relationship needs to protect any children because they are at particular risk of manipulation - they often gravitate towards children because they are considered easy to control. [Sigh - what a sad subject]

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    1. Thank you for your story. It is a sad subject to discuss but it needs to be out in the open.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this...My mother escaped a marriage that was abusive when I was an infant and that was in the days of no help from the law or social services. My hat's off to you for having the courage and smarts enough to leave this behind and turn your life around. You seem a lovely person.

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    1. My mother left my father for similar reasons. I didn't understand much about it at the time apart from the constant rows. I do understand now I am older and wiser.

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  21. Thank you for sharing; it takes courage to do so. Glad you made the break when you did and wish you all the best now and in the future.

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  22. Oh I know that situation way too well - but you can add in the violence in my case. I didn't stay with him because I loved him - I hated him. He was an inadequate tw@t with "something to prove". I got stuck trying to extricate myself from the marriage with my kids and my administrative status here in France intact. He was running up thousands and thousands of euros of debt (over 200,000) which I ended up taking on in order to get out of the marriage. And even then I only got out because he went off with another woman. I since heard from a friend that she dumped him because she was literally afraid he would kill her - and on that I agree with her. He was nuts and I think inadequate men think they have to much to prove and have to try to bring you down in order to make themselves look better. The most frightening part though were the mind games. If he said "say black", I would say "black" and then he would yell "but I told you to say white". I mean, someone commented on having to watch everything that came out of your mouth and that was spot on. I actually kept a log of his insanity (both physical violence and mental abuse) for six months and it made chilling reading. I gave it to my lawyer along with attestations of my injuries from 2 doctors and he still "couldn't believe I had done this to him". Nutso. I only thank God for the "other woman" and for the latest tart who got him to move back to the States with her. Man is she in for a shock. But he is no longer my problem and my kids and I have PEACE at last having escaped from a violent inadequate lunatic. As someone else said, don't ever think he will change - because he won't. Get out while you still can. Anna

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    1. Thank you, your story is horrendous, thank you for sharing.

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  23. Thank you for sharing this Ilona, I am glad you got out of that situation and that you are now living a life that makes you happy.

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  24. Well done for getting out of that toxic relationship, Ilona. I have been there (with violence too) and it will never happen again. Such people are pathetic and weak in reality. It's always the kind and gentle people they pick on, as nobody else would put up with it.

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  25. Bullies (whether at home or in the workplace) are relying on our silence in order to maintain control. For some unknown reason, a lot of us feel ashamed of the fact that we are being bullied (or abused) and keep quiet. My lovely friend was being bullied a few years ago by her Manager. He constantly belittled her and told her she was ugly, etc. I advised her to keep a record. She did and then took it to HR. The swine backed off pretty damn quick. We all need to be more vocal about what is going on.

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  26. As many others I was in a similar situation. He was very jealous and verbally abusive and created dramatic situations where in reality I had done nothing. We would be sitting in a restaurant and I would be looking out the window at boats or something and he would accuse me of looking at a man across the room. Really stupid stuff like that. Called me all kinds of nasty names. We did live together for 5 years but I got fed up and threw him out. After that I moved so he could not find me. That was many years ago and I wish I could erase the memories but it was a learning experience that I will never repeat. Better to be on your own than miserable. You are thriving and have a wonderful life now. Thank you for sharing it was very brave.

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  27. So sorry you went through something like that.
    My son was abused by his wife. She asked for a divorce one day after the first anniversary. It's been 5 or 6 years now. I think she set him up. She ran up all the credit cards, left the house and payment and the credit card bills. It took him four years to pay off all the credit cards. He didn't tell anyone about the abuse until it was too late to do anything about it. He's now re-married with three small children and finally HAPPY! It all scarred him, though.
    As Indigo said, the kind and gentile people are the ones who get hurt.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Hi ladies , been 5 months and the ph calls from constant diff ph numbers and when i blocked them ( i never answered ) no caller ID calls , have im pretty sure finally stopped , the worse was up to end of feb, but still drives around near my block 2 streets away 3 weeks ago when i was on a very early morning walk was still darkish , it came out from a side street and just sat there in his car watched me walk up the hill , for some reason i felt no fear and felt empowered im sure he was thinking id gone down the rd to see a man, which he use to think when i went to the shop , im glad its over, could have done without it like all of us, i dont let it occupy my mind and id even forgotten that had happened 3 weeks ago until writing this, they make you focus on them and their nonsense thats how u lose urself, narcissists/psychos, and i feel this will be the last time i ever mention it :)

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  29. Thank you so much for all your comments and sharing your stories. I hope that anyone who reads this post and is in a similar situation with an abusive partner, will find the strength to seek help.

    A marriage, partnership, relationship, between two people who love each other should be based on mutual respect, honesty, and equality. Neither one is better than the other. Neither one has more rights than the other.

    Blimey, and this is from someone who has never been married. Proper Marge Proops. aren't I! :o)

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  30. Thanks for posting this.
    I have experience of a similar kind and all I would say to anyone else is: walk away, it doesn't get better, they don't love you really and you can't change anyone else or their behaviour.

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  31. Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that you were able to get out of an abusive relationship. I am sure that your experience will encourage others who are going through difficult times.

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  32. Very brave to share all that Ilona and your other commentators. I have to say I am an Archers fan and have been gripped by how cleverly this story has been developing over the past year. I am pleased it has made people understand that abuse doesn't have to be physical and that even strong and brave people can find themselves in these difficult situations. I had a boyfriend like that in my twenties. It can be hard to walk away when you love someone.
    Jane

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  33. Ilona, you are a very kind soul, thank you for being you!

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  34. I haven't been able to listen to the archers since this storyline, too upsetting, looks like I will have to wait 2 years before I listen again. I am inspired by all your blogs, by the way, read right through from the beginning. Have your newspaper article from Southampton mature times pinned up. I also got some of the books from the library, that you put up, they looked interesting. Especially enjoying the one about Cornwall.

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