In the beginning I was violently and aggressively open. In the early days. So full of anger, hurt and overwhelmed by confusion. When I wanted to spew it all out all over the floor- like someone had cut me open and I was bleeding the pain, humiliation and anger all over my social media. It came from so many places.
Predominately I wanted a voice. For so long I had shut myself down. Fawned over him, told him he was right, it was me. Telling friends and family, concerned at the loss of the Claire they knew and loved, that he was amazing, we were amazing. They and I were the problem.
I have a friend who is at this point right now. I’m not judging her, she needs to let it spew out. If that’s what she needs then I hope she finds it cathartic, cleansing, as I did
Another huge part was letting him see. Showing him that I wasn’t taking this. Proving to him, and myself, that he had lost the ultimate prize. And boy did he see, he would screenshot small sections of my posts, often accompanied by a photo of us, and send them to me. “Claire, I love you. We had the things you say you wanted. Look at how happy we were”- in true narcissistic fashion, cherry picking the parts which suited his agenda
Begging me to take him back, to forgive him. And I thought about it, I was so very nearly dragged back in so many times. But something always pulled me back away, catching him in anther lie, listening to him once again admitting to abusing us, but rationalising it. He was able to rationalise his behaviour with such ease that you would start thinking he was right, you did deserve this, it WAS your fault. No wonder he is so good at his sales job.
It’s funny, because I am definitely well out of it now. I’m damaged by it. FUCK I’m damaged. But I’m out. However I still get these random triggers. Last night it was while watching 48 hours in police custody. The behaviour of the guy, who had murdered his 11 week son, was so similar to his. Like how dare the police call his moral compass into question, how dare they accuse him of the things he had blatantly done. The arm throwing, the flouncing. The crocodile tears. The indignation that someone dare be on to him, accuse him of the things he was guilty of.
This blog is written off the back of hearing the words “was it abuse though? Or just a really bad relationship”?
It was abuse. Abuse doesn’t have to be flying fists and hiding bruises. Although actually, although he never hit me I strongly believe that was next- and throwing coffee at your naked girlfriend as she sits in bed? Smashing windows? THAT was physically abusive. But abuse can be so much more, so much more covert, less obvious. Which makes it even harder to walk away from- because of that cognitive dissonance.
There are several pointers of emotional abuse and I want everyone to be able to recognise them, not only in behaviour committed against them, but in the things they themselves may be doing- if you are a victim of a perpetrator of anything which follows please, please get help, because it won’t end well.
Of the many things I experienced this was the scariest. How easily i was influenced and controlled. I went from being this free bird, to double, triple and quadruple doubting every decision. It started fairly early doors, with a text. My failure to reply in a timely fashion led to my first experience of affection withdrawal. I ignored it, thinking it was just a tiny bit of insecurity. I would be more mindful in the future, he was right, I had been selfish and testing him in not replying straight away. Ffs 2020 claire just listen to yourself 😂
Financial- this again was massive. When I lived on my own with my kids and he would stay every night I would feed us all. He had it pretty good really- he would stay the night, go to “work”, come home and have an amazing home cooked meal, I would even wash his clothes for him. How many times did he pick up the food bill in 6 months? Once. One time. How many times did he mention that he had picked up that one food bill? About 5 million. His reckoning was that I was in receipt of universal credit, so he was already contributing…this guy earned 3 times my salary, three times.. which brings me on to the joint account…
When we moved in together, officially, remember I was on the mortgage- I was furloughed. Despite this I paid exactly 50% of al the bills, 85% of my wages went into the joint bank account- the one I wasn’t allowed access to. For when I ordered a PIN number it was mysteriously intercepted.. the next one deleted from the notes form my phone. This guy, who was on 3 times my salary and didn’t have three kids to support, would never think of buying anything for the house with his own cash.. but I was the selfish one, the one who didn’t contribute. The one who couldn’t be trusted. My cat hurt her leg, the vets suggested tests, I refused but He insisted- I however got abused for not being able to pay the bill (tests were all clear) how irresponsible of me.. I took out a credit card… again “irresponsible” of me.
I wanted to buy a car- he didn’t stop me- just told me how selfish it would be, what a poor mother it would make me. I didn’t contribute enough to the relationship, to the house (except the 50% thing obviously 🤷♀️).. a few days later his new Santa Cruz bike arrived “oh Claire, I’m sorry if you are jealous (I wasn’t, he could spend his money as he chose as far as I was concerned) but I have worked hard to have all this spare money- maybe you should have made different choices” (condescending Cunt)
He was never out right controlling, it was more mind games. “Oh, are you joining the running club to meet other men?” “I may take That fit girl from insta cycling”, “are you wanting to go to college to meet other men?”, “if you got a job in an office you would be the one all the men wanted to fuck”… “seeing you get in a car with another man reminds me of who you are”.. it simply became too much hassle for me to suggest things I wanted because the result would be silent treatment, nasty comments.. it just really random and odd behaviour..
Talking about a woman at work “oh she is so stunning, all the men think she is gorgeous, here is a photo of her.. don’t worry claire, I wouldn’t want a woman as pretty as that…”
“You will need to wash your knickers when you get home because I’ve had a wank in them”
“I had a wank this morning. Don’t worry, I was looking at your picture”… this was after several days of refusing to look at me, or be in the same room as me. Of my crying myself to sleep and him telling me to “shut up or we are over”
“Claire, like a child, if I do this for you, how will you ever learn?” Personal fave. What a cock.
“I have incredibly high standards, don’t be offended of your standards in the house are not as good as mine”- in 18 months of living together he cleaned the bathroom a grand total of 0 times. He did absolutely no cleaning at all- in fact he was a bit grim. Wiping snot on me- or his really disgusting habit of scratching his scrotum and then sniffing his fingers, before wiping them on me. Constantly scratching at his bits and bobs and inhaling the scent. I actually want to vomit at the thought of that.
Invasion of privacy
“Your parents hate me because you have texted things about me”… I had, a few days before I had made him a cup of tea, then gone to wash up. I stood at the sink and he poured the tea into the clean washing up water, the sandwich I made him in the bin.. honestly, without a single word, hot tea into my hands because “I didn’t want a cup of tea made by you”- before walking to the kettle, making himself a fresh cuppa and another sandwich 🤷♀️
I had joked about the pettiness of It with my mum.. as well as joking about him shagging his last cleaner. I obviously lied, of course I hadn’t said anything bad about him 😂.. but he went on and on and on- until I opened my phone, read the messages aloud to him- missing some bits out.. “why are your lying claire, that’s not what you said”.. pretty obvious by this point he knew exactly what I had said because he had seen it- going through my phone.. several days of silent treatment ensued.
“I’m not a narcissist claire, or whatever other name you have been googling” said the day after a friend had sent me an article about narcissistic abuse.
“You have a list on your phone of all the stuff I’ve done to you”.. yep, yes I did
“You tell your friends I bully you”.. yes, I had
It was like a game- he would say something which made me sure he had been through my phone- I actually think he had installed spyware as he was insistent that when I was due to upgrade my phone it would be “selfish of me”. But if I called him out on it then the arm flailing indignation would return. “How dare you! How could you accuse me of such things! Why would I want to be with such a disgusting person as you claire, someone who could say these awful things about me” absolute dick head, those crocodile tears 😂
This really is just such a tiny snapshot of This sort of thing, by September 2020 this behaviour had become daily. Protocol, I no longer woke up with this notion that the day would be a happy one, i knew there would be some level of crazy at some point.
He would down play my achievements- a great one was when one day he declared “I want to travel the world. You hold me back. I want to sell this house in 18 months and disappear around the world. You are not adventurous enough for me claire, your children stop you being the person I need. In fact, for you, a ten mile run is all you are ever capable of achieving- not like me” Bloody Christopher Columbus over there, implying that I had somehow fooled him into a relationship with me, like my three kids had come as a shock to him😂
Then there was the really sociopathic stuff. The sexual stuff- not rape or sexual abuse, everything was consensual- but using it to manipulate me. The absolutely disgusting manipulation, degradation. Frankly? Fucking frightening shite. His behaviour was escalating at an alarming rate. I laugh about isolated incidences because actually, now I’m out of it some of them are funny. Taking light bulbs out, throwing shoes in the bin. Sobbing because my kids ate the last Penguins (which I had bought from my money by the way), literally crying big fat tears because of their disrespect. A 46 year old grown man crying over a chocolate covered biscuit.
The big things are the ones which still make my voice catch in my throat when I talk to my trauma counselling lady about them. They are the things I can’t laugh off of downplay. They are the things which still wake me up with a start. They are the things which make me run a million miles from the thought of being in another relationship. (I have started laying my cards out on that one when I meet people. “I’m not going to be the person for you if you want straight forward and commitment. Im scared of being in a relationship and so will shut down on you the second I feel any sort of pressure”- seems to do the trick with dispelling any romantic notions 😳)
The scariest thing was his ability to rationalise it. Like the affection withdrawal, anger, petty gaslighting was all perfectly rational. You would walk away from it thinking you were insane, that he was right. You would write him these cloying, sickening apologies. Cling to him, beg him not to leave you. And he would smirk. Honestly, Emmie called it his “half smile”.
One particular night my kids had run away to their dads, it was that bad, he had threatened to harm them, to harm me. He filmed me crying and upset- and he rationalised it. He made me feel guilty! I wrote him an apology. Begged him to stay… and the next day?
The next day I went running with Linda, I told her everything. I rang my parents- told them every last bit. I messaged my childrens father, begged him to have the children a few more days. Three days after this, he threatened to “smash my childrens faces in”- “I want to take your children by the heads and smash their faces in “. It was so practiced, the way he said it. Cold, calm and calculating. The day after that was the day I packed his stuff, the day he smashed the windows…
But still- I nearly went back. Still I have days I blame myself, doubt it. It’s these days which have given me empathy, understanding. This need to learn more about trauma bonds, co dependance- why people stay for years and years. How someone can sit and watch their children being abused and murdered and still declare “but I love him” be so completely blind to what is right in front of them.
I’m not being defined by this, it’s been one of the hardest and most testing times in my life- but I genuinely believe that it was almost for the greater good. Because of these experiences with this toxic entity, I am able to see clearly the path I want to take. The career i want to forge, the things I will and won’t tolerate in relationships. It’s helped me see incredibly clearly who Claire is, was and will be.