Content warning: this is a powerful guest blog submitted by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous. It contains some swearing, and details of her experience of emotional abuse. Read with care.
I was once in love but I was in love with someone who didn’t know what love was, someone who was able to easily lie, cheat and manipulate to a level I’ve never seen before and hope to never see again.
When I say this is not just ‘fuck boy’ behaviour you either had to have been there, as some of my close friends reading this were, or just take my word for it. I used to bring home beer most nights in the hope it would have some positive effect on his mood, he would storm out of restaurants over the smallest things like I was taking too long to pay and he wanted to leave; scream at me that I was a cunt in the street for agreeing with him too much at an event we had attended; and when I stood up for myself (which I did) he would threaten to leave, go on solo drug binges and get his validation from any girl around him, then tell me I expected too much of him and how tortuous the life he had led before me was.
When I finally left he continued to manipulate me, posting pictures of me on social media, he cried his eyes out sitting two feet away from me telling me we would never find anything like what we had, the idea of dating other people made him ill, all the while he already had a holiday booked with a girl 15 years his junior and not much older than his niece.
It took me over a year to call what happened to me abuse, he never hit me but he systematically and expertly took apart each and every part of my mental well-being to the point that if he told me the grass was purple I would’ve believed him. I didn’t know then what gaslighting was; mental abuse; narcissism, these were all abstract terms that didn’t apply to me and rather than it being ‘over’ when I left, I was left totally empty, my adrenaline levels were completely out of whack, and I felt numb and completely unable to rebuild. I still have days when I question if any of this really happened, if I’m exaggerating the situation, maybe I did do something wrong and expected too much. I only got through it, and continue to do so, with therapy and some of the best friends anyone could wish for. I was lucky.
I wrote this because I never recognised this as abuse, I never thought I’d share this story beyond my inner circle but violence comes in many forms and mental abuse is abuse. I urge you if you recognise any of these behaviours or find yourself constantly covering up or lying about how things are in your relationship to seek help, talk to a friend and hopefully start the very long, slow, but oh so worth it road to recovery.
Thank you to everyone who turned up and continues to turn up. You know who you are.
At Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline we won’t put pressure on you, or tell you what to do. We know it isn’t always easy to pick up the phone. When you call the helpline, your call will be answered by fully trained call handlers who have lots of experience supporting people affected by domestic abuse and forced marriage.
You don’t need to know what to say, just know that we believe you, and we are here for you.
Call: 0800 027 1234 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.sdafmh.org.uk