Living with domestic violence

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.