By Lola Dean
**** Trigger Warning ****
I’ve wanted to blog my journey for a long time but the time has never been right, something always got in the way.
My journey over the past few years has been sad, it’s been testing and scary. At times it’s been downright frightening and there have been moments of joy, interspersed that eventually lead me back to the fear.
The fear is the violence and abuse I received from a person I loved dearly.
Someone I trusted and gave my heart to.
I’ve watched as my once solvent, happy life became one in which I lost who I was.
I became an expert at lying, covering my tracks.
I had a book of excuses and explanations remembered in my head. In effect I was a master of disguise.
Outwardly happy and continuing working, being a Mum. Inside I was a confused, fearful person, consistently feeling out of control, wondering when I would next need to lie, hide from my phone, placate a violent outburst. Wondering how I would diffuse things, protect my daughter and how I would get through the day.
The signs were there in the beginning.
Over protectiveness that I misread as love.
Odd comments that I brushed aside.
Refusing to acknowledge my past but freely telling me of his.
Jealousy I palmed off as sweet and caring.
Derogatory remarks about an ex-wife.
Occasional drunkenness that lasted days….
I always excused it until this became my life and suddenly I was pregnant.
Immediately life became worse. Desperately I assured myself I could change him, it would be better when the baby was here. All his promises would be true. We’d be a family – but it wasn’t.
It was worse than I could ever imagine.
Controlled and coerced as I protected my daughter.
Anything to keep the peace.
Anything to stop the name calling, criticism, the theft.
Anything to end the incessant belittling.
He took my money, stole my things. Threatened me and abused me. But I had to keep my baby safe so I continued smiling on the outside. I started to try and ready myself to escape. I hid our passports, birth certificates. I had plan after plan of escape. I could never do it though. Fear held me there. Like a frightened little girl not knowing who to turn to. My friends disappearing. They didn’t understand it.
I pulled away from people- this was his plan though, to ostracise me.
Lies upon lies. It was my fault, everything was my fault. If I hadn’t been so stupid. So useless he wouldn’t have lied or reacted like that. I realised a while ago that he stunted my pleasure. I stopped reading books as he told me they were rubbish. My music was wiped as it was rubbish too.
Now though – I’m out.
Maybe I had to hit rock bottom.
Maybe I’m lucky.
But from somewhere I took a step that gave me freedom.
The Police officers that let me talk for hours and took my statement.
The detective that told me I wasn’t alone.
My solicitor that got me a non-molestation order, my local woman’s aid, the National Domestic Violence helpline.
The family liaison officer at school that gave me her personal phone number.
My counsellor that listened.
The poster on the toilet door in the hospital that encouraged me to find help.
My family that were still there for me.
My best friend that offered me escape abroad.
And the new friends that didn’t know my past or where I was coming from but opened their arms and took me with them.
Accepting me and my daughter and helping me find a new path. Allowing me to have times now where I’m not sad, times when I don’t remember what was but look to a new future for my daughter and I
If you or anyone else is affected by the issues discussed here please seek help here: