Monday, April 18, 2022


Emotional abuse is the hardest categorisation of abuse to spot, but to those who have been through it--its easier to recognize. To those who haven't had the displeasure of experiencing it first hand, or even for those who are in denial it can be alot harder to convince someone that you've been through a trumatic abusive cycle. 

One of the most frustrating victim blaming phrases I've come acorss was "If it is so bad, then why didn't you leave before". 

There's a saying from my childhood that got tossed around quite alot "I don't know what I don't know". Stop. Read that again, and let it sink in, cause it's true.  Hindsight is a fickle thing, especially for me. I constantly beat myself up and think 'why didn't i see/realize this before', and the simple fact of the matter is, before I didn't know. I know things now, and it's easy to see, but at the time I was none the wiser. 

The fact if the matter is that I did try to leave my abusive relationship once before. Probably around 2016, when we had a group of 'friends' that were no good for us, I was done. I was ready to pack up and leave back to America and call it quits. 

After an evening out at a Charity Ball, I got very distraught by my abusers' behavior. I sulked alone outside the party cause I didn't feel he or our 'friends' gave a crap about me. I got drunk, got tired of the party and just walked home by myself when I said to him I wasn't having fun and wanted to go home. The cavalier attitude I got in return ignited a rage in me. I locked up the flat for the night, and the next morning proceeded to bag up all his clothes and throw them out the front door. I wanted one of three things at this point and I really didn't care which way it went: I wanted him gone, or i wanted to move back to America, or I'd rather kill myself and save the embarassment of having to move back home and admitting i failed at life. 

In Hindsight, I see that as the first time I tried to end the relationship. But of course, he apologised, said all the right things to get back into my good graces and we were back to being in that honeymoon love phase. Abusers are great at manipulating the cycle back in their favor. 

Over the past few months, whenever any sort of thought has come into my mind in hindsight that could explain things I couldn't see in the relationship at the time, I've been cateloguing them as journal entries on an app. I'd like to share some of them now....

January 16th, 2022

Statements that seem normal if said one or two times, but when they're constant its feels judgemental and controlling. 'You're hands are SO cold.' (Every time i washed my hands in the middle of the night, then came back to bed. If i cuddled or touched him-even on accident or subconsciously-he'd recoil so it felt like constant rejection. I found myself actively trying to warm my hands before i got into bed to please him.) 'You're wearing makeup, you look nice' Or 'You're hair is down. I like you with your hair down' (sounds complementary, but there is an underlying tone of i only like you when you look the way I want you to look.) 'You should [insert physical activity here]' (walk, bike ride, yoga, pole...pushing me to exercise always felt like his priority for me, not mine. Combined with how weight obsessed he was with himself...)

January 28th, 2022
In hindsight im thinking of more and more things that i would or wouldnt do to appease Rob. Some things he would outright tell me what i can or cant do, but most of the time it years of conditioning(aka him expressing his interest or disinterest in stuff i did or said and i subconciously would curb my actions to suit him):

* he didnt like our cat sleeping in the same room as it became habit to shut the bedroom door or lock the cat elsewhere in the house. The same could not be said for dogs-he loves dogs and whenever we looked after his mums dog(slept at her house overnight, lived with her, etc) the door stayed open so the dog could wander in if they wanted to. 
* i got into the habit of wearing old tatteted clothes for years (so long as they fit) and rarely bought anything new for myself because Rob was perpetually buying new clothes for himself and i felt like he obviously needed them more than i did. If i did buy new clothes, i would make sure it was something Rob liked based on opinions hes had on my wardrobe previously.
* at some stage in our relationship i tried to wear more makeup and style my hair down (instead of my default of no makeup and putting my hair in a ponytail) because hes rarely told me I look nice or given me a compliment and it was usually when i sporadically did something with my hair or makeup. Ie: i wouldnt have a hairtie, so id leave my hair down,but Rob said he liked my hair down and so i tried to have it down more.
* whenever we went away, slept in a different bed and even in a new house, he always claimed the side of the bed furthest from the door. I asked him about it one time out of curiosity and found out it had to do with his fear of being closest to the door if an oncoming attacker broke into our room. By default, any attacker would come to my side of the bed first. When i found out i think i made a joke about protecting him, thinking nothing of it at the time, but now im thinking it was more about his self preservation.

Feb 1st, 2022

Thinking back further and further to determine when the emotional abuse all started.... When i miscarried and no support was there....2021 When my dad died and it was just another fun holiday back to California for Rob while the rest of the family grieved...2018 When i was diagnosed with anxiety/depression and started meds....2016 When Lindsey and Greg were our our friends and that made us toxic,almost ending up with me leaving the relationship (the 1st attempt)....2014 When i got my Indefinite leave to remain,and my driving licence.. was doing well in my own job and making my own friends at i didnt "need" him anymore...2013 When we got Charlie and i was more obsessed over the cat than him....2012 Anytime ever that i did nanowrimo and the attention was taken off of him....2012-2020. The more i think about it, the more i see smiles fading away around the 1-2 year mark in old pictures.... the more i think the relationship started to die in small amounts only a year or two after it started.

Feb 5th, 2022

This morning as i was taking a shower i remembered something. I was thinking about safety Henry is upstairs with me, the stairgate is locked, Henry cant get into anything dangerous and the door to the bathroom is open in case i hear him get into anything. Since Henry was born, i havent closed the bathroom door for several so i can keep an ear out for him, two he can come in if he needs me, and three so he can watch and learn from my behaviors...washing self, going potty, washing hands, etc. Looking at the door i remembered the only time ive ever closed the bathroom door was when i wanted to be by myself and take a bath or something. Usually it would happen when rob and i had a fight, or he upset me in some way and i wanted to be alone. I would go to the bathroom and lock the door so i could be left alone. Somewhere along the way, Rob discovered that he could bypass the deadbold lock by turning the bolt on the outside with a coin to unlock it. He would purposefully "break in" instead of respecting me and giving me my privacy.

Feb 12th, 2022

When we moved into the house, i was semi excited to have neighbors and be a part of a community. Rob expressed that hed rather not have any interaction with people just because hes used to not doing so. his mum is the same that she'd rather live in a country house and not have neighbors and just have herself and her family as company unless she wanted it otherwise. Selective isolation in a way. Rob is somewhat the same way just because hes grown up in country houses and is used to that type of seclusion. However, rob is the type of guy that can chat for england, so when a neighbor would say hi, he would politely turn on the pub bartender charm and keep chatting to appear friendly and approachable. In hindsight i see i started a habit of not chatting, or feeling awkward and anxious about talking with neighbors, with or without rob there, i think because subconciously i knew he didnt want to make friends with the neighbors so i did as much as i can to discourage interaction and when i did interact i felt awkward, almost guilty because i was going against what Rob initially wanted. The only reason i see this now is because i had a conversation with my neighbor Dave a week ago and i was more than happy to keep on chatting freely with him. even though i had henry and had things to do when we got in, i was happy to pass the time cause it didnt feel so awkward. The only difference....its not up to rob if i make good relationships with my neighbors. Cause he doesnt live here.

March 7th, 2022

I remember a time after we moved into this house, that i was coming downstairs from using the bathroom or something and all i could see before i turned the light in the bathroom off was a figure crawling on all fours up the stairs in the dark towards me. I had a full break down, crying tears, scared for my life panic attack. Through sobs i had to steady my breath enough to tell a laughing Rob why that was 100% not okay. How frightened i was, how scary that was for me to see something i couldnt recognize crawling up the stairs in the dim then dark light. He continued to laugh while i cried hysterically and protested that it was just a joke...ligthen up... you could see it was me... why are you so scared... Stop crying.

March 23rd, 2022

I went through a phase when we rented our first flat of wanting to burn incense or have reed diffusers around the house to make it feel relaxed and homely. It made me so happy to do it, until Rob expressed how much he hated it and how it sets off his asthma. Hes mildely asthmatic, but i respected his wishes and packed away all my stuff never to use it again. Its only now that im able to burn scented candles and essential oils that i remembered how much joy it brought me before Rob put a stop to it. 

Another thing was that i had all sorts of jewelry that i had been given over the years, some from ex boyfriends who im still friends with. I cant remember if Rob expressed that he didnt want me wearing them, or if i felt like i was 'cheating' by wearing something an ex gifted me but somewhere along the way i stopped wearing those pieces of jewellery. Ive begun wearing a particular gold ring with a tourmaline crystal in it again, which was a gift from an ex boyfriend and its become a staple of my everyday outfit again. 

Another time, when a friend of mine was visiting, we ended up going into a shop in Gloucester called Spellbound. It has all sorts of witchy stuff, but i took a shine to a little Blue Howlite crystal which was supposed to help with dream recall. Over the years i stopped remembering my dreams and so i thought it was perfect...and even if it was all in my head, the stone was a pretty blue so i bought it. I was so excited and i was telling Rob about the properties of the crystal and how it works. I 'charged' the stone in the moonlight, then put the stone underneath my pillow as instructed. I started slowly to recall my dreams which was nice, but the thing i remember most was that Rob could recall his dreams as well, cause he would tell me about his dreams when he woke up when i told him about mine. I cant remember when it happened, but after using the crystal for a while, Rob kept making snide comments about "i had another bad dream last night. Did you put that thing under you pillow again?" Subsequent comments of how he didnt like it and i was locking it away in a box, never to be used again. Ive only recently gotten this out of storage and started using it again. I know alot of this could be put down to "it was your choice to do [X]" but its the fact that little comments of displeasure/ discomfort/ annoyance... things like this actively influenced my choices. I felt i was being considerate of my partner and listening to what he needed, but in hindsight i feel like i was being bullied into submission indirectly.

April 3rd, 2022

Being afraid of reprimand if i did anything wrong to any of our material possessions. Rob was all about material posessions. The show, the things mattered to his persona. Brand names, the latest model of some tech, increasing value on things he owned so theyd be worth more in the future. For me it was always about living comfortably, not living with the newest shiniest thing to show off. But Rob would. He would yell at the cat for stractching at the carpet in the living room. Eventually, i started yelling at the cat for scratching at the carpet cause it displeased rob. If i spilled some coffee on the sofa, or caught the wing mirror of the car on a hedge, or got a parking fine, or broke a mug while washing up, or Henry broken something/ruined something on accident.... i wouldnt want to tell Rob. I would be afraid of telling him, for fear of being judged. When i eventually did tell him, or he found out about something i did. I would be so overcome with anxiety that i wouldnt be able to get the words out because it would make me cry so much thinking i would upset him.

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