How can it be love, when all they do is hurt?
After having just recently watched the BBC TV drama ’Murdered by my boyfriend,’ which is based on true story of a domestic violence murder of a 21-year-old girl, I was left feeling not only saddened by the horrific events which took place, but also touched because I can too relate to the emotional and physical abuse that occurred. In the past, my circumstances may not have been as severe as what I witnessed, but I know what it’s like to have your soul ripped out from inside you to the point you feel you are worth nothing. The only thing that goes in my favour is that, I was strong enough to say ‘enough is enough’ and get out, which in the long run actually saved me from more upset and hurt.
Emotional abuse is a form of brainwashing. It eats away at a victim's self-confidence until they feel they can no longer trust anyone, including themselves. It is a form of corruption by using isolation to scare another person, which can lead to having control over them. In my eyes emotional, physical, financial abuse are all issued by someone who likes to control. They like the control of owning someone to the point they can dictate how that person runs their life, who they can spend their time with etc. A lot of men and women put up with this nightmare because society doesn’t really understand how bad this kind of behaviour is taking over and no one knows how to deal with it.
When I think back, I question my loyalty of staying with an ex-partner who was supposed to have loved me, but instead always blamed me for the reason why he became aggressive. It wasn’t that often, but it happened and when it did happen, I failed to acknowledge that someone who really loved me should ever want to hurt me in any shape or form. Yes, my ex was always sorry for his actions, but being sorry each time meant nothing, because he would simply do it again. For years I always used the excuse that he loved me why I subjected myself to his rude behaviour. From day one I saw the signs, because he had a bad temper which often scared me, but I was naive to the fact that he would actually turn on me. By the time I realised I was being bullied by him, it was too late. I had moved myself away to an area where I had no family support just to be with him and I couldn’t ask for help, because at that point I didn’t want to hear, ‘I told you so.’ I just wanted to try and deal with the situation as best as I could on my own, which only lead me into a deeper prison cell.
If I compare what happened in Monday night’s drama to my life there were a few similarities which I can relate to in my past life, even though at the time I couldn’t admit to myself that what was happening to me was wrong. The broken promises, the lies, the aggressive behaviour, the pushes, the threats to slap me, although he did slap me once across my face. I was never beaten until I was bruised, because he never actually beat me. It was more on the emotional side which was just as draining. I always seemed to be crying because he said something hurtful to put me down, or he would disappear for days where he spent time with other women and I'd be hearbroken when I found out. Don't get me wrong, I too became angry and rude when we got into a confrontation, but I was only that way because I was trying to defend myself which often riled him even more.
I had money taken from me, I was manipulated, made to believe I wasn’t good enough, always blamed for causing an argument and was choked by my throat on two occasions. I even got arrested because of something he got himself into, but was later released when I proved my innocence. But there was more to come. My car was frequently taken without my permission and kept from me for days at time and that still wasn’t enough for me to leave him, because all I wanted to do was remember the good times. We had some amazing times in the beginning and I didn't want to keep focusing on all the negative things that were happening. When things were good, they were good. We travelled, he spent money on me and he made me feel like I was his world. I was with him wherever he went and his friends were my friends. Despite his faults, a part of me thought I could change him, but I couldn’t. That was something he had to work on for himself. Once I finished with him, it was like the devil had taken over me because I was filled with hate. I just wanted revenge and nothing was going to stop me until I succeeded.
In ‘Murdered by my Boyfriend,’ Ashley who was played by Georgina Edwards was shown as a very outgoing but vulnerable seventeen year old, who was an ambitious and beautiful teenager. She met 'Reece' at a party with some of her friends and although she was very reluctant at first to talk to him, her friends persuaded her to get to know him. Reece was a nice looking guy who whisked her off her feet. But soon, he began to weaken Ashley and before she knew it, she was pregnant and was pressured into keeping the baby by him. Not long after the confirmation of her pregnancy the violence began. She was constantly beaten at home, fatally beaten at work and even hospitalised. After years of trying to make the relationship work for the sake of her daughter, she lost touch of who she really was and in fact lived her life in fear. Fear of making Reece angry and feeling forced to feel happy when he was happy. Friends begged her to leave him, but he had lowered her confidence to the point she felt that she was 'nothing' and couldn’t go anywhere. He would harass her, stalk her, phone her whenever she left him, in the hope that she would weaken again and go back to him, which she did. What Ashley didn’t realise was that she was taking steps closer to her death.
Despite Reece’s vicious behaviour, he adored his little girl and that was enough for Ashley to stay. But what she didn’t realise is that if he loved his daughter that much, he would not have subjected her into witnessing such violence. What child wants to see her mother being beaten up constantly? Yes, Ashley wanted her child to grow up with two parents and she didn’t like the idea of having two men to father her children, if she ever met anyone else. But there is nothing worse than allowing your child to think that this kind of behaviour is normal.
At the same time, who is anyone to judge? I hear people make judgemental comments about people who stay in abusive relationships, but they will never know how others feel until they have been in their shoes. Abuse these days is so common and I read only the other day shockingly that in the last four years, 229 women in Britain were murdered as a result of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is occurring in many households across the world and not only are women being to the exposed to it, men are also. But I have to continuously ask myself this question? What would make anyone feel they have the right to abuse another human being for their own satisfaction? The only answers I can come up with is that they may have been subjected to violence at an early stage in their life, they have a mental illness they cannot control, they believe that they have the right to behave in whatever way they choose while in their own home, they are making excuses for their violence and blame alcohol/stress for their actions, or they are a narcissist. A narcissist requires admiration where he/she is convinced that he or she is unique. They expect priority treatment to the point they use others to achieve what they want. They are arrogant and filled with rage when frustrated and are unwilling to acknowledge the feelings and needs of others.
Abuse can be detected by outsiders because a victim’s behaviour can display the signs, or it can be completely hidden, as it’s not always easy to spot. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging even when they are no visible scars. Emotional abuse plays with your mind, where as external bruises heal. When you are with someone who has shown you love in the past, played your soul mate and made you feel like nothing in the world could ever break your bond, you then start to believe that whatever they may do wrong will never happen again. You fixate on the fact that you can both work on things together because you love another.
If you feel that certain situations that have happened in your relationship or marriage are not right, just remember abuse may start off with shouting, but shouting turns into a slap, then a slap turns into a punch and then before you know it, you have been brutally beaten. So be very wiery and observe closely.
Never think that anything which has happened out of your control is your fault and even if you have done something wrong, it is never OK for anyone to hurt anyone else. Do not allow yourself to believe that you are not good enough and that you are constantly being “punished” because you have been told you are provoking your man/woman. A man is meant to protect and respect his woman, the same way a woman is meant to respect and honour her husband, so if neither are stepping up, then they need to step out. If you are not married, walk fast.
If you know you need help, talk to someone. NEVER keep abuse a secret. You cannot take on that burden on your own. Whether you have to move unexpectedly to make your life safe, or your children’s life safe, do what you have to do to get some peace. If you have to keep calling the police, do it, apply to the courts for an injunction (restraining order) and get some distance between you. Change your mobile number and do everything in your power to get your life back. Cut all attachments, because what the offender will usually try to do is confuse you. They will say he/she are getting help, tell you how much they love you and want you back. Then what you’ll do is keep going back and the same thing will keep happening time after time until he/she destroys you, or even kills you.
For people who have friends in this situation, help them, support them by trying to convince them to leave and if they don’t, pray for them and constantly let them know that their lives aren’t safe as long as they continue to be with that person who beats them at any chance. You cannot force anyone to leave, it has to be their decision.
If you have removed yourself from a destructive relationship, pat yourself on you back, because you are strong and what you’ll find is that you’ll get even stronger. You’ve made the first step to claiming your life back, but make sure you get as much support as you need. If marriage and kids are already involved, then make sure you see a counsellor. There will be underlying issues that will affect you along the road and if you don’t come to terms with what you’ve been through, you’ll be living the whole nightmare over and over again in your head.
I have now come to terms with what I faced in my past, as much as it could have been worse. It took a very long time to focus on myself again, but the love you should have for yourself should be all that you need to move forward. I was hit with depression, self-love issues and got caught up making the same mistakes because I had got so used to the treatment I had allowed myself to receive. I am just glad that I can finally forgive those who hurt me. When you forgive those who have wronged you, you find peace within yourself. When you find peace within yourself, you begin to heal and when you heal you begin to have a clearer vision on life. Being able to forgive someone who has hurt you emotionally, or physically will end the emotional pain that has affected your mind, body and soul. You become the better person. It is a mark of strength. Anyone can hold a grudge, or carry anger around with them, but what you will find is that you will always be bitter and your life will become devoted to hate. Don't lower yourself to their level. Pray for them. Be compassionate with yourself and forgive yourself also. Once you can forgive and you can talk about your experiences without it hurting anymore, then you know it's definitely in the past.
If you a woman in need of help please contact a domestic help centre near you, or check out these websites:
If you are a man in need of help, please check out this website: