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There were 2 men in my life that were domestically abusive/violent towards me. The first I met when I was 15 and he was 21. We met at a party I went to with my older sister. We had sat together all night talking about anything and everything.


He was very charming and came across very easy to talk to. We continued to talk over the next few weeks and without even realising it I was in a relationship with him. Things progressed extremely quickly after this point. He asked me to marry him within the first couple of weeks of us being together. He brought me a ring to show everyone that it was serious between us. Over the next 2 years he started to control some aspects of my life, for example he would question me if I went out with my friends. He would want to know where I was, who I was with, who I had spoken to and what time I would be back. He would also tell me that he thought my friends were a bad influence on me, and make me feel guilty for wanting to spend time with them and not him. This became such a regular thing that in the end I stopped going out.


When we had met I was still at school and preparing to take my GCSE’s. He would come round to help me revise but whilst doing so he would make comments such as “I don’t know why you’re bothering you’re not very academic” and “you're not going to do very well”. I took my exams and achieved D’s and E’s which he promptly pointed out “I told you, you wouldn’t do well so why did you bother”. This continued into any further education I went into. He would just keep telling me to quit as I wouldn’t be able to pass any of the courses. After a while I started to believe him and left college.


After I had left college I started working full time in retail. He then started to question me on what I spent my money on, and did I really need any of the things I was buying. He would also question me about the customers I had served that day, just to make sure that none of them had been flirting with me and to find out if I had been flirting back, which in his eyes I always had been. This would then lead to an argument in which I would always end up having to apologise to him for my behaviour and how it had made him feel. This only got worse over time especially after I had moved into his house at the age of 17.


At the age of 19 I fell ill and was unable to work so I had to rely on him financially. He controlled all the money coming in and going out of the house. He would decide if I needed something or not for example I went to the optician and was told I needed glasses. He decided he didn’t think I did so he wouldn’t pay for them for me. On the other hand he could go out and buy himself a Lotus Elise car because it was his money and who was I to question him about what he spent his money on.


At the age of 21 I gave birth to my son. The control continued when it came to my son. When he was born he had to go into the neonatal unit as he was very poorly. I would have to wait for him to come and collect me from my ward as I had had a c section before I was allowed to go and see my son. Once my son was better and we were back home he wouldn’t let me be a Mum to my son. If he cried, needed changing or anything he would do it. I would ask him to give me my son so I could do it but would just get told “it's ok I will do it” or “it's ok he’s with his Daddy”. The only time that I ever got to be a Mum to my son was when he had to go away for work. Even then he would only leave me with £20 for 2 weeks to feed the 2 of us. He did this so I wouldn’t be able to go out as I wouldn’t be able to afford to put petrol in my car.


By the end of the 8 year relationship I had lost all of my confidence and self belief and didn’t feel like I was worth anything. It was at this point in my life that I met the second man. We had met through a mutual friend. He would sit and listen to me and act like I mattered and that he cared about my thoughts and feelings, which was something I hadn’t had for a long time. He also told me that his son had died of meningitis not long before we had met, I later found out that this was a lie. Again things moved quickly as soon as the relationship had started.


We had met each other in the February and by the August of the same year we were married. He had swept me off my feet and I had fallen head over heals in love with him. He would tell me that he had never wanted to get married until he had met me. I was special and he couldn’t imagine life without me in it. When we had got together he had told me that he was a drug addict and had been heavily addicted to Heroin and Crack Cocaine. He told me that he was now clean and receiving help and support for his addiction. He was receiving this help due to a court order as well as being on probation for a bad car accident he had been involved in where someone had been badly hurt. The accident had been his fault. Even so he was adamant it was all in his past and I believed him.


I couldn’t see the warning signs that were there.


He behaved in much the same way as the first man. Questioning where I was going and who I was with which now seemed normal to me, but he took it to a whole new level. He would invite himself and go everywhere with me. He would tell me that he just couldn’t bear to be away from me, and that it wasn’t me he didn’t trust it was everybody else. The one occasion that he was unable to come with me was my hen night, so he continuously called and text me all night.


Over the course of the evening this got worse as he was drinking. It got to the point that I ended up leaving my own hen do early to go back to him. During the night he had even convinced me that nobody there really wanted me to marry him anyway, which I had shouted at everyone there as I had left the restaurant.


On our wedding day I had asked him not to get drunk as he would become very argumentative when he did, and I didn’t want to have to deal with this or have to take care of him on that night. Of course he did what he wanted and got extremely drunk. I later found out that he had also been smoking a joint that one of his friends had bought with them. So I spent my night having to listen to him go on at me while trying to prevent him from hurting himself and shouting at the receptionist at the hotel because he was hungry and the kitchen was closed.


It was a month after our wedding that he started using Heroin and Crack Cocaine again. It was after this that things started getting worse. It started off with little manipulations such as, asking me for money so he could go and score and when I said no he would start ranting and shouting at me and say he would leave and go back to people who would give him the money. This would continue until I gave in and gave him the money. This soon escalated into him taking my bank card and emptying my bank account without telling me. I would regularly end up with no money for food or the things my son needed who was now 2.


Once all the money was gone he would then tell me to ask my family for money and make me say that it was for my son. Once he had taken the drugs his behaviour would become more aggressive. He would throw things around the flat, punch walls, scream and shout in my face. I did my best to keep my son away from him when he was like this. It soon escalated once again to him physically attacking me. The normal thing for him to do to me was to choke me which became almost a daily thing. It could also be a punch or a kick or having things thrown at me.


Despite all my best efforts my son ended up being hurt and was removed from my care and placed with his Dad. This happened very quickly and as a result I clung to the one thing I felt I had left which was my husband. I couldn’t believe that he would hurt my son and despite all the evidence against him believed him when he said he hadn’t. After my son had left the house he invited drug dealers to come and stay with us and deal from our house. This was so he could get free drugs from them as payment. Still this wasn’t enough for him and he would still take all the money for more. He didn’t care if I was left with nothing just as long as he got what he wanted. I was also forced to drive the dealers around to drop off drugs to other people. One time this resulted in me being pulled over by the police and taken to the police station to be strip searched. It didn’t matter to him how embarrassed and scared I had been he was just worried about what I might of said, which was nothing as I was too scared about what would have happened to me if I had.


There was one time I had gotten up enough courage to tell him that I didn’t want the dealers coming back to our house. This resulted in him flying off the handle at me screaming and shouting. When I didn’t back down straight away he went into the kitchen and poured white spirit all over himself and threatened to set fire to himself. I spent the rest of the night trying to talk him down. It was only after I agreed to let the dealers stay did he put the lighter down and go and change. I was then allowed to go to sleep.


The only time that I was allowed to go anywhere without him was on a Saturday morning, and that was to go to the chemist to collect his prescription of methadone to bring back to him. I would use this time to reverse charge a call to my Mum just to say hi and chat with her. I never told her anything that was going on in my life. I always made sure that I deleted any evidence that I had called her so he wouldn’t see and start questioning me about what was said. He was so worried that I would tell someone about what was happening at our house. My day to day life was hell.


He had broken me down to the point I couldn’t see any way out. I had lost my son. I felt I had no family or friends I could turn to. I felt completely isolated and alone with nowhere to turn to.


The 2 things that happened that gave me the opportunity to leave were he got remanded into custody for what I can’t remember and I fell pregnant with my daughter. The first night that he was remanded I called my Mum in Norfolk and asked her to come and get me as I didn’t feel safe staying at home alone. The next day she came and collected me. I still didn’t tell her anything about what had been happening to me.  By the time he was released and put on probation I had decided to move us all to Norfolk in the hopes that taking him away from all the bad influences it would give him the opportunity to straighten himself out.


This didn’t work of course he just found people like him here in Norfolk. This time however I had my family around me and I had the determination that I was not going to lose another child. So I left. Leaving was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but I knew I had to, to keep myself and my daughter safe. He didn’t make it easy. He continuously called and text me begging for me to go back. He threatened to kill himself if I didn’t. Still I didn’t return so he started calling me horrible names and belittling me. He would say that who would ever want someone like me as I was ugly, pathetic and broken. But still I didn’t go back.  


Even though I had left the marriage I had never been able to truly move past my experiences and face the truth of what I had been through until I found the Daisy Programme. The people here have been so supportive that I have finally been able to rebuild myself back to the person I should have always been.


I have also made some amazing friends that I know I can turn to if and when I do have a bad day. I am now in a loving and supportive relationship with a man who accepts all of me. Warts and all. I have a relationship with my son who does come and stay. I have 2 amazing daughters who I am raising to be strong and independent women with the hopes that they never have to experience anything I have.          

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