I am 27 years old. I am a soon to be uni student and hoping to get a degree in something I am very passionate about. I am a very loud, confident and outgoing person. I am a mother of two beautiful children, who I love spending time with – they’re my world.
Everything was great at the beginning. He seemed to idolise me, he was always complementing me, reassuring me, we did nice things together, he put his trust in me regarding personal elements of his life to which I did the same. I told him all my flaws, all my weakness and he later took advantage of it all. I didn’t see any red flags, well to me at the time – soon after I left the relationship I realised that there were plenty but I was side tracked by how loving he portrayed himself to be. I had a daughter who I conceived in a previous relationship. I feared how someone would react to me having a child but he seemed to take her on. He loved her as his own which made me love him even more. I felt dependant on him so soon after starting our relationship. I felt like I put all of my trust into him and I feared where I would be without him.
Early days in the relationship he would put down or not respect my boundaries which i now see as a form of abuse, at the time I simply put it down to what he explained it as ‘a difference in opinions or morals’ ‘we’re just different people’ he used to say.
I first noticed the signs of abuse in our relationship when he began to control me, he would very often talk badly about my daughter’s father – including in front of my daughter. It started as him saying horrible things about him and how he didn’t deserve the time I gave him but it soon turned into him controlling when and if I saw him. He would often not allow me to be present for drop offs/pick ups of my daughter and if I was I would be questioned no end or accused of the unthinkable. I had to communicate with my ex partner due to having a child together, he didn’t like this and again accused me of unresolved feelings – he would look through my phone at the texts I sent to him – and question my responses. It felt like I couldn’t do anything right and it was easier to go along with whatever he said. It didn’t take long for the abuse to become physical, he would tell me to lie about my injuries – blame them on my daughter and I did because I felt like I had to protect him. When he would physically assault me he would tell me he’d spoke to his friends about it in disguise but they’d said they would have or have done the same thing, which made me feel as though I somehow deserved it or it was normal. He made it known to everyone that I was ‘his’ he used to comment on any pictures I posted on social media claiming me for everyone to see. It made me feel so small. He would repeatedly tell me I wouldn’t find anyone like him, no one would want me and that I was lucky. I fell pregnant further into our relationship and naively thought it would change everything and he’d love me again like he did at the start but it just got worse. The physical assaults didn’t stop even though I was pregnant with his child. I experienced many complications throughout my pregnancy, to which I felt alone. The physical abuse got worse and worse as time went on, the injuries got worse and harder to hide. Our relationship ended due to police intervention, I had no closure from our relationship. It ended suddenly when he assaulted me numerous times over what seemed like hours and hours of torture. I had multiple injuries and after subjecting me to this, he then took our son, who was 3 weeks old and 5 weeks premature at the time. Taking my son was the worst thing he could have done to me, I still struggle with this everyday and keep my children closer than I have ever done before. It has made me obsessive, and my son now has separation anxiety and really struggles without me – doing day to day things that other children do.
The police submitted referrals to Atal Y Fro and being in contact with this charity has helped me so much, it’s made me see things from a different perspective and it has made me realise that I am not to blame for what happened to me. I had so much self doubt and self blame before working with Atal Y Fro, but they have taken away the pressure that comes with being a survivor of domestic violence.
I have attended groups with Atal Y Fro, with other women in similar situations to myself, I have received counselling from Atal Y Fro. Atal Y Fro made it possible for me to feel safe within my own home, they arranged for security measures to be put in place – cameras, house alarms, safety locks on windows. My eldest child has also received help and support from Atal Y fro, that can be anything from 1-1 support to child friendly group where other children have witnessed domestic violence. They offer a number of services which I have found so helpful over the last few years.
Atal Y Fro is a fantastic charity with brilliant members of staff and volunteers, they have so much knowledge and experience within domestic violence. When I started engaging with Atal Y Fro I no longer felt lonely, I no longer blamed myself, I longer hated myself for leaving. I realised I am brave, I am strong and I am a survivor.