TRIGGER WARNING: this blog post contains details of depression, suicidal feelings, and sexual abuse
I haven’t been able to decide where to go with my next blog post. There’s so much I could, and probably will write about. Like how did I find myself in a relationship with an abusive narcissist? Or I could talk about the fact that you wanted me to let you call me mummy, and even went as far as to buy me a mothers day card last year despite the fact that I’d said it made me feel uncomfortable. I could talk about how you wanted me to call you daddy, and how you’d call me a little girl, and talk to me the way you would a child, in order to demean and subjugate me and reduce me to something less than you. I could talk about your “sexual prowess”, or lack thereof – you had two kissing techniques – the one where you approached me with lips puckered like a cat’s arse, eyes diverted to the side, or the one where you forced your tongue down my throat in order to dominate me, and which always put me in mind of the pustulent slug like extrudence of Jabba the Hut. I could talk about the way you used to randomly lick my neck, and because of the fact that you didn’t brush your teeth often enough, your saliva was so toxic and smelly, it would bring me up in a rash and I’d have to go and wash – the washing was a physical and an emotional eradication of the event. I could mention the way you would talk about yourself ceaselessly, all grandiose tales of superiority and domination, or you’d tell me about how you were able to “unlock” the sexual potential of women. I could discuss the way that you talked about yourself in the third person all the time, or how you would keep asking me to call you “bear”, and make me refer to your hands as paws, your face as a muzzle, your hair as fur, or your legs as your hind legs. I could explain how you felt that being a “bear” seemed, in your head, to confer you with the ability to excuse disgusting or despicable actions, to put you outside the norms of morality, because when pulled up on it, you would simply say “but that’s because I’m a bear, that’s what bears do”.
I could talk about the fact that you have almost certainly lied about your family – I would ask you if you have any skeletons in the closet, however, I strongly suspect you are the skeleton in theirs.
No, what I’m going to talk about today is the series of events which finally pushed me over the edge, and made me realise that I needed to be rid of you, James, for good.
There was a 14-month build-up to this event. There were a few things that happened in the months directly before I finally left you. My depression had deepened. You kept touching me, sexually, when I asked you not to, and you’d call me names – cunt, bitch, wanker – because you didn’t like to be told no, and you reacted like a sulking stroppy toddler who’s favourite blanket had been taken away. You claimed it was because you were so attracted to me that you couldn’t help but touch me – can anyone say “rape apologist“? I began to have anxiety and even had a panic attack when I went to the shops one day because I was in permanent fight or flight mode. If we ever laid in bed together – a rare thing, as I felt the need to be away from your reach as often as possible – I would start to suffer from palpitations and anxiety, and the only thing that would make it go away was by physically removing myself from your presence. I remember I was really low one day, I was in bed, and you came into the room to tell me that you just wouldn’t ever touch me again – you wouldn’t hold me to comfort me, because you always “did something wrong” (Yes, it’s always appropriate to touch someone’s tits when they’re sobbing their heart out). This was the first time I felt suicidal, and if it hadn’t been for one of my best friends being available to talk on Facebook, I’m pretty sure I’d have ended up hurting myself that day. You had done a good job of isolating me from my family – they all disliked you on sight, even my brother’s dog couldn’t stand you. On that day I convinced myself that I was worthless. That my family would be better off without the burden of my existence. That my dog would be better off in the care of my parents because I just wasn’t walking her enough. I wanted to die mostly, though, to get away from you, James. I even said this to you, but of course, you can’t take responsibility for anything, so it was all my fault – I was broken, I was crazy, I was hormonal.
But this wasn’t the clincher. No, the day that I decided that I could no longer be with you was Christmas Day, 2016.
I remained depressed. Everything was hurting. You’d convinced me that I was the one who was at fault and that my depression was causing me to neglect, dehumanise and abuse you. Never mind that you once sat and told me that depression was disgusting, selfish, and that you had no time for it, and that I wasn’t trying hard enough.
On Christmas Eve, you said you wanted us to sleep in the same bed, so that, in the morning, we could “cuddle without clothes”. (We’d had separate beds for a while, for a few reasons – I was a very light sleeper and had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia the October before, and you did not sleep soundly either. In truth, I also didn’t want you to be able to touch me whenever you wanted because it stressed me out too much, with all of the take and no give – you’ll deny that of course, as in your mind you’re the most altruistic lover that ever was). I started off in the same bed but had to leave because you was snoring. When I woke the next day, I didn’t want to join you in bed. I felt utterly despairing – the thought of being touched by you had become repulsive. I eventually got up, wrapped myself tightly in PJ’s, and a dressing gown, and went to the next room, because if I didn’t, you’d start telling me I was neglecting you and make the situation unbearable. You said “you could get into bed for a cuddle”, (this is how you always phrased requests – “you could do this”). I got into bed. But it wasn’t going to just be a cuddle, you wanted more, so you started touching me, regardless of the fact that I was unresponsive and hadn’t given you any indication that I wanted the same. I felt panic rising inside me, so I said that I couldn’t give you what I wanted. Your response to that was that I should try harder, that it was Christmas day and we should be “a couple”, that I was neglecting you. I left and returned to my room, and sobbed. I’ve never felt so depressed, isolated and alone.
Eventually, you came in and treated me as though nothing had happened, and suggested we could go and have breakfast. I agreed because it was easier to agree with you than to have another argument. I sat at the kitchen table and thought about just not existing. I thought about how I would do it, whether I’d use one of my craft knives, and how to cut my wrist in a way that would ensure I bled as quickly as possible. You’d successfully ensured that I was isolated and alone with you for Christmas, because my family didn’t like you, and felt that it would be wrong to invite me over for Christmas without you, therefore they didn’t ask me. They wanted to see me, they didn’t want to see you, because they couldn’t cope with the idea of you sitting and scowling at everyone, and they couldn’t stand the prospect of being stuck with you on a one on one situation, whilst you monologued at length about what a victim you had been all your life and how you suffered at the hands of multiple abusers, the system, your family – virtually anyone you ever met, basically.
I eventually took Roxie for a walk. I actually felt very calm at that point, because I was pretty sure that I was going to kill myself. I had to get away, I had to end it, I couldn’t take anymore. I had Roxie’s lead in my hand, and I thought seriously about hanging myself with it. But I couldn’t. Because then you’d have won. I also couldn’t stand the idea that someone might come across me on Christmas day, dangling from a tree, and I couldn’t stand the idea that Roxie wouldn’t have me to look after her.
I went home. I told you how I felt. You touched my breasts with your “paw”, saying “boobie one, boobie two”. I just stood there. I’m not sure whether part of me shut down or snapped at that point. But in that moment, I decided that this would not continue. That you, James, were the source of my abject misery, it became clear that you wanted only what you could get and didn’t give a fuck about me, it was, and always would be, about you, and what you can get. I’d repeatedly told you that the unwanted sexual contact was part of what was making me depressed and anxious, but despite that, despite the fact that I’d just told you I felt suicidal, you still touched me. Looking back, I realise you wanted a reaction, any reaction so that you could get some sort of narcissistic supply from me – you either wanted tears, or you wanted confrontation. You got neither.
I successfully managed to isolate myself from you for the following two days. I needed the space to think, and I used the excuse that I was completing a present for my folks. So I sat in my room, and I drew. This sounds like a rather grand statement, but this drawing saved my life. It gave me space to work things out, to make a plan to leave, to work out what I’d do when you were gone. I admitted that the depression was centred around you – how you made me feel, the way you’d seek to create conflict at all times – if we appeared to be having a “normal” day, you’d goad me into an argument which would last for days and days. The arguments would happen face to face, via email, via text – it was constant conflict. So you were the one that had to be gone from my life. Because I realised that thing that was wrong with me, was you, and it had to end – I had to save my own life. Again you might think that sounds dramatic, but that’s genuinely how I felt. I needed to either escape or for you to leave.
On the morning of the 28th, I was getting ready to get to work. You came in and sat on the bed. You said to me “you could put your arm round me”. Instead of offering your depressed “girlfriend” comfort when she’d been so low, you tried to get something from me instead, you attempted to make me comply with a command.
My response to you was that I couldn’t and that I didn’t think we should be together anymore. You left the room. I left for work.
That evening, you’d bothered to have a shower, shave, even brushed your teeth. Changed out of the smelly clothes you’d slept in the night before. You suggested we eat dinner together – I told you that no, I didn’t think it would be a good idea. You mentioned all the food you’d bought – I told you that it would get eaten, but that I wasn’t going to sit with you to eat it, and that I meant what I said that morning – I didn’t want to be with you any longer. You walked off and went upstairs. I calmly folded laundry. I felt numb. I carried the laundry upstairs – the bathroom door was closed, so I assumed that’s where you were, so I walked into your room with your laundry and placed it on the bed – you were laying in bed, fully clothed. I apologised and said I hadn’t realised you were there, then went back downstairs. You started moving about. (You’d already packed a bag months ago and left it visible in the living room as a visible threat that at any time you’d leave – another one of your not-so-subtle manipulations, you wouldn’t have been able to get far with the contents of that bag, which so far as I could tell contained a pair of jeans, some underwear, and a stuffed teddybear that you called Tibba). You came downstairs and I heard bags being placed by the front door, then you came into the kitchen and placed a letter in front of me, and told me “I didn’t want to do this Tracy, but it’s the only way to show you something”, and you walked out. I opened the letter immediately. It confirmed my decision – the letter was all about you, how you’d suffered. How you’d done your best to try and cheer me up on Christmas Day by groping me. You said you’d gone to stay with friends, but actually, you couldn’t find anyone to help you, so you ended up in a Travelodge.
By the time you returned, I was gone. I packed some essentials into carrier bags, and I went to my mums. At the time, I was determined to return, to show you that you couldn’t intimidate me any longer and that you had no power over me, but my family feared that I wasn’t safe – not necessarily from any physical altercations, but they worried that you’d goad me into some sort of argument, retaliation, or that you’d try to reacquire me. The police also advised that it was in my best interest not to return. So a few days became a month. A month of not being able to return to my own house unless I had a third party present. I gave you notice. I ceased communicating with you by any other means than email – you tried to push for a face to face meeting on a couple of occasions because you had to tell me something “big”, or to “split out the kitchen equipment”. I would only meet you with a third party present, which you weren’t happy with, you also claimed I was harassing you and financially abusing you. I reported you to the police. At that point I learned that you made a false allegation about me, you even said to them at the time that you didn’t want to pursue it – you just wanted that one in the bag, so that you could intimidate me with it. The officer who took your statement called me a few days later and advised that even if you’d wanted to pursue me, they would have refused. Conversely, they actively encouraged me to submit my statement to them – unfortunately, the system that you malign so often actually worked in your favour this time. Despite the fact that I submitted over 800 pages worth of information to the police, despite the fact that the officer who took my initial statement pushed it as high as it would go – to inspectors, detective inspectors, supervisors – they were unable to take it further. But don’t think for one minute that’s the end of it, because they didn’t like what they saw, James. Not one bit. Nor do they like what you do – hiding behind the self-appointed moniker of ‘independent domestic abuse adviser’ – you say offer counselling, (For a fee), yet you have had no training in this field that you can prove, and I’ve seen and heard the way you converse with victims of abuse. You’re so desperate to get your point across that you talk over them, in the same way that you would constantly talk over and interrupt me, and you keep telling them that “they need your advice”, in an attempt to get paying clients. Added to that, Elmbridge Council also received the same information that I sent the police – as a result, they’ve made your name well known in that area, just in case you ever had any plans to return – you won’t find a warm welcome in that part of the country.
You can keep telling people that you’re the victim, James, you can keep telling people how crazy and abusive your ex-girlfriends are. You can keep telling people that you’re the one who left me, that I’m angry and abusive. But I’ve spoken to some of your ex-girlfriends, and they all tell a similar story of abuse. We can’t all be wrong, can we? Even your so-called Rolls Royce of perpetrators.
If just one of your potential new girlfriends reads this blog, and has the insight to run away, then it will all be worth it.