Domestic abuse

I don’t like the term Domestic violence. It implies that unless someone hits you, punches you or pulls your hair, its not “real”.

I prefer the term domestic abuse. It covers the whole variety of horrible things that go on behind closed doors , in families, between people who live together in intimate relationships,  that damage people and ruin lives. I will say here that although the majority of perpetrators of domestic abuse are male, 1 in 6 victims is also male. The statistics for men seeking and receiving support to leave domestically abusive relationships are even more horrifying than for women. When I refer to ‘he’ in my posts, I am referring to my ex husband and my ex partner, both of whom are men, and both of who were (and probably still are) perpetrators of domestic abuse. the table below refers to the behaviour within my most recent relationship. He would deny it, but its true.

Early in my therapy my counsellor mentioned PTSD. I smiled nicely, with no idea what she was talking about. But she did, and she probably saw in me that I had put up with so much for so long I have become traumatised, and thus unable to deal with a situation , to feel normal responses to a situation that others would have found horrifying. I have no doubt now that to some extent I have suffered from PTSD, Now that the wave of emotion is broken over me and the reality of what I put up with, and my kids endured for YEARS is hitting me again and again and again, I’ll come back to this. As an example I explained to a close friend how my ex husband chased me around the little island in our kitchen with a carving knife. Its a long time ago, but I feel NO emotion connected to this. None. I recognise it was horrific and very frightening (and I was scared out of my mind at the time) and that no emotional response is probably a bit weird. Maybe it will come later

A whole raft of uncomfortable, painful and frightening emotions are rolling over me right now. They pass, in time, with breathing and mindfulness and some rescue remedy or Kalms tablets (velerian, gentian and hops! ) but its bloody exhausing.

my lovely doctor is on holiday, so I have decided it would be wise to seek some medical advice and am in the process of getting an appointment with the Physicians Health Programme in London. I saw them before and they were amazing… I don’t really want to be off work, I don’t think I need to be – work gives me structure and sanity, but i am really struggling with fatigue and inertia and ‘just cant do this’

Maybe its because I’m safe? Maybe it is because for the first time in many years my home IS a place of safety and calm. Maybe its because actually I do have too much on my plate… three teenage boys, a demanding FT job, a bonkers puppy, and a home to run. Maybe my ‘standards’ are just too high and its not reasonable to expect anyone to sail through this. I feel like a failure admitting how rubbish  I feel, but I do…..

I’m not incognisant of all that I have achieved in the last 496 days. I have quit alcohol, and stayed dry, I have got rid of an abusive partner , I have supported, nurtured reassured and protected my boys. The house has not fallen down. I have made big inroads into the debt Ex partner left me with. I have set boundaries and insisted they be respected, I have massively improved my relationship with my mother. I have supported as far as I am able my friend K and her poorly husband. I have made plans for son~1 which most people seem to think are sensible and solid. I’m doing ok. or better even than ok. But my god I’m tired. and overwhelmed and I feel like I’m clinging onto my sanity with my finger tips. Because there is no other choice.

Below is the risk assessment tool we were being taught to use to recognise families at high risk, at the educational event I attended 3 weeks ago or so.  My ‘x’s are included. I score a 12. If you score 14 you are referred immediately to a multi agency panel to help safeguard you and your kids. But he never hit me. That’s not domestic violence – ….I’m ashamed, guilty and somewhat disbelieving. I feel so utterly terrible now I cannot imagine how I carried on with him living in my home. I cannot think why, when I was being so thoughtfully cared for last time,  I broke down (by family, friends and professionals) I did not tell one person what the real problem was. Why ?

how am I ever ever going to get away from this, get over this; I cant see a way through.

 

  Yes No Don’t know State source of info if not the victim
  1. Has the current incident resulted in injury? State what and whether this is the first injury.
x      
  1. Are you very frightened?

Comment:

x      
  1. What are you afraid of? Is it further injury or violence? Please give indication of what you think (name of abusers(s)…) might do and to whom, including children.

Comment:

x I think he will harm my children      
  1. Do you feel isolated from family/friends i.e. does (…) try to stop you from seeing friends/family/doctor or others?

Comment:

x      
  1. Are you feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts?
x      
  1. Have you separated or tried to separate from (…) within the past year?
x      
  1. Is there conflict over child contact?
x well over child care      
  1. Does (…) constantly text, call, contact, follow, stalk or harass you? Please expand to identify what and whether you believe that this is done deliberately to intimidate you? Consider the context and behaviour of what is being done.
       
  1. Are you pregnant or have you recently had a baby (within the last 18 months)?
       
  1. Is the abuse happening more often?
x      
  1. Is the abuse getting worse?
x      
  1. Does (…) try to control everything you do and/or are they excessively jealous? In terms of relationships, who you see, being ‘policed at home’, telling you what to wear for example. Consider ‘honour’-based violence and specify behaviour.

Comment:

       
  1. Has (…) ever used weapons or object to hurt you? 
nO but the threw things at me and smashed things up      
  1. Has (…) ever threatened to kill you or someone else and you believed them? If yes, tick who

You  Children  Other  (specify who)

       
  1. Has (…) ever attempted to strangle/ choke / suffocate / drown you?
       
  1. Does (…) do or say things of a sexual nature that make you feel bad or that physically hurt you or someone else? If someone else, specify who
       
  1. Is there any other person who has threatened you or who you are afraid of? If yes, please specify whom and why. Consider extended family if HBV
       
  1. Do you know if (…) has hurt anyone else? Please specify whom including the children, siblings or elderly relatives. Consider HBV

Children  Another family member  Someone from a previous relationship  Other (please specify)

       
  1. Has (…) ever mistreated an animal or the family pet?
x      
  1. Are there any financial issues? For example, are you dependent on (…) for money/ have they recently lost their job / other financial issues?
x      
  1. Has (…) had problems in the past year with drugs (prescription or other), alcohol or mental health leading to problems in leading a normal life? If yes, please specify which and give relevant details if known

Drugs  Alcohol  Mental Health

Comment:

x      
  1. Has (…) ever threatened or attempted suicide?
       
  1. Has (…) ever broken bail/an injunction and/or formal agreement for when they can see you and/or the children? You may wish to consider this in relation to an ex-partner of the perpetrator if relevant

Bail conditions  Non-Molestation/ Occupation Order  Child Contact arrangements  Forced Marriage Protection Order  Other

     

2 comments

  1. You will and you are. The steps you say you recognise in the last 500 days are huge.
    Realising the extent of your pain and the abuse and how it’s affected you will bring you down and feel overwhelming at first. But this is normal and I don’t think ptsd can be treated without going through those stages of recognition. So as Anne says, take one moment at a time. From where we are you’re doing great. Be slow. Be kind. Rooting for you all the way. Xx

    Like


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