All I had ever wanted was my own office, a telephone and a pen and paper. I was always inquisitive, wanting to learn new things and as a small child, my mum heard me pretend chatting to someone on the phone, thought nothing of it, until she came into the living room after hearing me repeatedly saying hello, to her surprise another voice said hello. I’d accidentally called an Estate Agents.
When I reached 16, my parents took me to buy a scratch card and the ashier just looked at me, saying, oh I can’t serve you – she didn’t believe I was 16!
I wasn’t keen on school but I went everyday and at 16 I decided to go to college. I was encouraged to go to University but at 19 I got my first job as a Legal Secretary at a local firm of solicitors. I can remember sitting in the car outside of the building with my parents and we just all cried tears of joy and pride.
On my 18th birthday we were in a local pub watching a comedy act on stage, I remember dad tapping me on my shoulder and saying we had to go home as mum wasn’t feeling very well. The truth was, they took me to a love restaurant and I had to order a round of drinks. I looked behind me when the bartender said, would you like ice in that madam, I didn’t realise he was talking to me!. They also brought me a huge square birthday cake which we sat around looking at, crying! I blew out the candles and we never shared the cake with anyone else.
For my 21st I threw my own birthday partner, where I was surrounded by my family and friends.
That Friday night, I had a shower, got dressed up and went to my local. Tonight was a little different as I had just signed a Mortgage Deed as a joint tenant with my parents. As I walked down the road, a huge smile don my face, my heart bursting with pride but little di I know, my life was about to change forever.
I looked at him sitting at the table with him friend and I just thought, wow I want to be with him. Well, they do say be careful what you wish for!
Looking back though the signs were there:-
- The old miss-a-digit-off-his-phone-number trick
- There was already an ex on the scene, he let her hit me one night in the flat but as I went him that not he was sending me apologetic text messages
- His flat mate told me about this particular ex
- He never wanted me to see my mum
- He told me my friends were jealous of us
- He said the only reason I got my job was because I slept with my boss
I moved from my loving home, away from my parents two weeks after I met him. His words didn’t necessarily hurt me at the beginning, he just seemed so caring, you know the type that gave you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. At the beginning I didn’t see him not wanting me to visit family and friends as isolation, at the beginning I didn’t know I was being abused and controlled.
When I went out that Friday night, I wasn’t looking to fall in love with anyone, but I did. He made me feel as though I was special, the only ggirl in his life and I felt happy. At the beginning.
I had always been loved, respected and cared for as a child, but his love with a different kind of love, it was dangerous and deadly.
I learned how in one moment he could be nice but in a split second, nasty.
He liked to invite his ex partners to the flat and watch us argue, bicker and fight over him, whilst he flirted with us both, then made me feel like shit and then in the next breathe put me on the highest pedestal only to laugh when I fell off as his cruel words came crumbling down on me. His face was so alight like a small child getting something right, like winning a race. I never understood why he behaved that way but never did I question it.
He would always talk about his past, as though he still lived there and would often share memories with m his flat mate in front of me as though trying to tell me his past was better than his here and now.
One day the 3 of us were sitting in the living room, music on loud, the smell of beer in the air, when he looked at me and said, you don’t want to fall in love with me, does she, he said looking at his flat mate, no he replied.
At that moment I should have see the biggest red flag ever, this should have been the hugest warning sign during our relationship but I just smiled at him. We can’t help who we fall in love with, right?
The physical abuse wasn’t everyday during out relationship but his controlling behaviour, I thought was love – coercive control wasn’t a thing back then – was much more frequent.
His power and control dragged me down mentally, I stopped having a wash, brushing my teeth and hair, I didn’t get dressed, I didn’t eat or leave the flat. It was just easier to do what he wanted me to do. Not only was it easier but it was also safer.
He was like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode.
In that situation I couldn’t see what was happening to me but looking on the outside in, I an see all the signs that weren’t there.