Living with domestic violence

by Liz Lockhart

I, by nature, am the eternal optimist.  I see good in bad and look for shreds of happiness in sad situations.  My friends and family have laughed and cried about this facet of my nature.

I can see the negative side to this now although it is what has carried me through many difficult times in my life.  I am including two pieces of music to accompany you whilst you read this blog.  They are relevant to the time in my life that I am about to share with you and to the subject.

I wrote down every word of 'True Colors' to send to the man who had just broken my nose for no apparent reason.  We were not having a row or unhappy with one-another at the time - he just walked up to the side of my chair an punched me in the face.  This was the first time he hit me. The blood from my nose and the tears from my eyes mingled as they gushed in equal measure.

We had met shortly after I took my first steps to recovery from chronic panic disorder and agoraphobia.  I had also been addicted to diazipam and educated myself to their dangers and formed my own 'reduction plan' and subsequent cessation of them.

He showed a huge interest in me which came as a surprise.  He was the friend of neighbours of mine and started to call on them and me regularly.  Eventually we started a nearly 10-year relationship. 

My youngest daughter was the only child that still lived at home, she was 10 at the time.  Very soon he moved in with us and for the first year he was the most wonderful man I had ever met.  He was loving, attentive and helpful.  He read me poetry in bed and played me wonderful music.  He played with my daughter and helped around the house.

I realised that he liked to drink too much but in my ignorance I did not recognise that he was an alcoholic. By the time of the first 'punch' I had given him my heart.  I had not been in a relationship since the break-up of my marriage about 9 years earlier.  I fell hook-line-and-sinker for this troubled man.

I think that the psychological bullying that grew ever worse was even harder to bear than the ocassional 'slap'.  I found myself full of self-doubt and insecurity.  I kept thinking that if I tried harder, if I cooked and cleaned the house better, if I was thinner, if I were prettier.....the list goes on.  But trying harder never improved anything.

Along the way I had a suspected broken jaw and many objects in my home got smashed, punched and dented.  The final turning point for me was not a particularly physical outburst but a 'mental realisation'.

I had held on to the belief that I had some control over the relationship in as much as I could improve it if I improved.  One day I woke up and realised that that was not so. Nothing was ever going to change in him and that was where the change had to take place.  I finished it and, despite months of pleading from him, I never looked back.

I would like this to be a lesson to anyone who may read this who finds themselves in the same situation. 

The one aspect of this that has scarred me is what it did to my daughter.  She was an innocent victim in this.  It was me that chose to be in that relationship but she had to live with it.  That was selfish and cruel of me and I will have to live with that fact for the rest of my life.  Oh... I can make excuses, but there are none.  I should never have subjected her to that life.

After many years of 'healing', my daughter and I are best friends.  I feel so very blessed that we have come through that period and healed ourselves to a greater extent.

She is my hereo.  She has been my rock.  She protected me then and now, she loves me again.  She has had her own battles with 'mental health demons' and has come through as an inspiration to us all.  You may know her.  She is the founder of this website, Charlotte Fantelli.  She writes about mental health heros who have inspired her but she will always be my 'hero'.  Thank you.

Comments

Wow, I have written and written about my own problems without a tear, but you got me there mum.

You only got one thing wrong - I never stopped loving you. You were the one who taught me to dance in the first place and allowed me to believe and follow my dreams.

Please, please feel some peace, they won't take away what we have now.

Love you forever x

Gripping, tragic and heartbreakingly honest, well done Liz for saying what is so often unsaid x

Thank you.  Reader feedback means a lot to me - good and bad!!

Liz, It's amazing to hear how both you and Charlotte have got through these traumatic events, and are the kind, caring people you are. I have never met such nice people as the pair of you are. you are both worthy of being hero's. Love you.

If this comment has come from who I think (Dans) then I'd like to say 'You're doing pretty well too'.  Let's pop you up there under the 'hero' banner too!  Thank you x x

You are an inspiration. I hope people will listen to your wise words: if not for yourself, get out for your children... So important x

Thank you for taking the time to comment.  Yes if you can't get out for yourself you must get out for the children.

Thank you - just what I needed to hear x

Thank you for your kind comment.  It's response from the people who read my story that makes the pain of writing it worthwhile.  Again - thank you.

Hi Liz. Truth be told be told, there'll never be an end to your story. You see, what you experienced is what is replicated in too many homes all over the world, that you survived and have the boldness and honesty to share your story is another "candle in a window" on a very dark street to give hope to another woman that is living in fear, humiliation, pain and agony. However, I believe that words are not enough, as a survivor, will you be willing to save another victim from ongoing abuse? Will you encourage your neighbours to, literally, break down a door in your to neighbourhood and yield to a cry for help and save another victim from a violent abuser? When we have people mobilising and sensitizing their neighbours to be their brothers'/sisters' keepers, and there are some known agreed plan of action, perhaps we may have less and not so vicious casualties. It's time to stand up and take a stand against domestic violence in any colour or form. Let's speak out and act! This is my believe! Meanwhile, congratulations for surviving. May God bless you! - Ime Shepherd

Hi Ime,

Thank you for writing at such length.  Your comments and thoughts have been duly taken on board.  In answer to your question about  being willing to save another victim I would like to give the following answer:

I would contact the appropriate authority without hesitation if I witnessed or heard domestic violence.  I would not risk my own safety by rushing into a volatile situation.  I would also be there for the victim, offering any needed support without hesitation.

I hope that answers your question fully.

Thank you again for your input

Liz

Beautiful. Don't ever stop searching for elephants x

I won't, nor will I stop listening to songs about them!!  Thank you x

i was married for 10 yrs to a man that abused me daily. why did i stay? oh i loved him is all i can come up with and afraid to leave. The brain washing they do to you if you do try to leave and i did try that but when i would come back the beatings were worse. My kids were affected by this. Finally after having enough of this i left and got a divorce and sent him to prison for what he did. Due to his abuse over the years now i have certain health issues that can not be reversed. All i am saying if there is anyone that is staying in a relationship that is abusive get out now don''t stay like i did. i think god i got out before it was to late but now i am paying with my health.

Thank you so much for sharing this.  There are so many of us out there and we need to speak out.  A have written a news report on the subject (yesterday) and it is live on the site today 'Abused women have increased risk of mental disorders' which you may find interesting.

Good luck in your new, violence free, life.  I bet you won't let that ever happen again.

Liz

Alakazaam-information found, proeblm solved, thanks!

Thank you for taking the time to comment (even if I'm unsure what it means)!

 

Hi I am twenty five years married and have lived with a very Handsome man I have worked hard an lost My family home and business I now trying to rebuild my life He has zero respect for me brings me down in Front of people Tellse he hates me and I am a crap mother I have him in mess he is in He has smashed my home up given me two black Eyes mentally abused me got people to lie to me On the phone He now takes. Cocaine but denizes it I have a beautiful daughter that has seen to much And it has been unreal on her Yesterday I got hit in the head thrown across Floor and black eye He is in bed my daughter withy sister in Law although I love him he never does anything Good for myself or daughter I feel so alone and Frightened and don't know what to do Please help if anyone has been through this Thank you

Hi and thank you so much for contacting us. I urge you to find a place of safety - when a partner behaves as yours has it doesn't get better only worse. You are in real danger both physically and mentally. You need to find a safehouse in your area and take your child to stay there. The staff will be able to help you both mentally and with practical advice and assistance. Given time and space you can have a bright future as the strong, beautiful woman that you truly are. You sound so brave and strong and yet this man has been able to erode your self-confidence. I know from my own experience that this will be having a negative effect on your daughter and you both deserve better. A bright new future is there waiting for you if you can just take those steps to be away from your husband. I wish you every success in finding a new life free from abuse and full of peace and joy. Kindest regards Liz Lockhart

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