My story of abuse, and how people could have helped me leave him earlier.
1. This is not normal. I really thought this was what intense relationships were like and no one really told me otherwise.
2. You don't deserve this. In my younger days I was a bit of a flirt and really knew how to wind people up. So most of the time I thought it was my fault, and I deserved it.
3. It is not your fault. I blamed myself for it, especially when he went out and got hurt because I had left him. But no one told me otherwise.
4. You will be safe. I really thought he would kill me if I left and he told me several times he world. Years after we broke up, he put one of my boyfriends in hospital. I couldn't see how I could be safe and still stay where I was.
5. You will be OK without him. The real challenge with abusers is that they make you think without them you are nothing and that you won't get by.
So if you know someone going through this, encourage them to tell you, to share with you. Know that whatever they tell you will not be the whole story and let them know this. Tell them that when they are ready you will be there for them.
If you are going through it at the moment, please read these points again and then call or go round to someone you trust. Tell them you need help. Everyone needs help sometimes and it is OK to ask for it. I was too proud to reach out to anyone and as a result spent five years of my life trying to get one man out of it. Don't waste all those years like I did.
I am sure that for those that know me this will be a shock. After all I am strong, accomplished and an ex-police officer for goodness sake! Yes, I am all of that, and I am also normal. But I was once 17 and so in love.
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