Getting out

Nobody has to stay and fall victim to the cycle of spousal abuse. This is the story of a girl who finally stood up.

Girl on road
Our relationship felt different and he would become really aggressive and violent towards me. The more drunk he got, the more violent he would get...

I don't know a lot about anything. I was never one of the smartest or most popular people in school. I never believed in following the crowd but instead I believe in making a difference. I was raised well, I was taught to treat others how I wish to be treated, always said please and thank you, and smiled at passers by. I went to a private all girls school, completed Year 12, and moved away from home to start uni, a Bachelor of Health science in 2005.

About five months later, my long term boyfriend and I split up. I was pretty down about the break up and ended up drinking down at the local pub pretty much every night. It was there that I met Tom, a regular at the bar. We got talking, but it took a while for him to persuade me to go out with him 'I'd treat you like a princess' he'd always say.

So when he asked me out, I said yes, and that night he came over and never went home. He was 26, with brown hair and blue eyes and I didn't even mind that he had a three year old daughter who moved into our place as well, within a month I felt like she was my own. I was so happy, he treated me like royalty. For the first time I felt like I didn't need my ex, I felt loved.

Together forever

Tom and my relationship progressed fairly quickly, before long it felt like we'd been together forever. But Tom started to spend more and more time down at the pub and when he came home, our relationship felt different and he would become really aggressive and violent towards me. The more drunk he got, the more violent he would get, he even started pushing me around in front of my own Mum. I started to get scared of him but didn't know how to get away. When he wasn't drunk he was so apologetic and would treat me so well.

After months of this pattern of drunk and violent, sober and sweet, I realised that I couldn't go on living like this. His words had taken away my confidence and I wasn't sure how I could move on. You might ask, why didn't I leave at the first sign of violence? Well Tom abused me not just physically but mentally. When he said I was nothing - I believed him. I felt it was too hard to leave him and believe it or not, I did love him. Because along with the bad, we also had our good times.

Leaving forever

When I finally found the courage to leave, I endured such emotional distress and it was hard to stick to my decision to not go back to him. The counsellor had to keep confirming with me that it wasn't my fault and that I made the right decision - I had been told so many times that I was worthless and everything was my fault that I had actually started to believe it.

My friends gave me places to stay for the next few weeks as I was too scared to spend the night alone, I talked about what had happened with my family and they all said they were so glad I'd left him - especially Mum.

These days I'm doing better. I've moved on, find I have more time for my friends and myself, and I no longer feel like I'm being monitored 24/7. I don't feel anxious or upset. Although I'm feeling more relaxed, there will always be that part of me that feels like it died the night I left Tom. The only way to move forward is to accept the past, I can forgive Tom for my own sanity, I still cry, but now I have shoulders to cry on.

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Last reviewed: 01 July, 2015
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