The first time my ex ever hit me was because I bought him the wrong drink from the shop. And so he hit me. Then we went to his house, and he lifted me up onto the kitchen work top and gently nursed my bruised eye. This wasn't to say he was sorry though, it was to say that he had forgiven me, for getting it wrong.

He didn't hit me many times over the next four years but when he did it was for similar meaningless reasons. It meant that I could never put his threats down to empty promises and that I could never apply my own sense of logic to when he would lose it! So instead, I had to learn his; Generally, if he thought I was doing what he asked, i.e. that he was in control, then I was ok. If he thought I was thinking for myself, I wasn't.  To be honest he messed with my head much more than he did my face.

I didn't plan to get into this kind of relationship. It just kinda sneaked up on me. Not that I was blind to it. When he left a room I'd stick two fingers up behind him. In my head I always told him exactly what I thought of him. Looking back the phases of my thoughts all get jumbled up and distorted among the series of events that should have meant something different.  At some point I guess I realized I could no longer go back to being the nice girl I was before we met. I stopped trying to send telepathic 'save me' messages to anyone that looked my way. Perhaps because I didn't know who 'me' was anymore.  Instead I tried to live that life the best I could. I tried to carry on without anyone suspecting that part of my life was just on pause. People soon stopped noticing that they only ever saw me with him by my side. Luckily, his public act rarely faltered. And I had no intention of exposing his lies. I had more dignity than that. I knew others would perceive my way of coping, and getting through each day, as a weakness for being unable to leave.

The decision to finally leave wasn't the result of any new found strength, or any sudden realisation that I deserved more. I  left because, that day, it was the right thing to do. I walked out before I had time to stop and think about it. But I never looked back. Why would I? I'd known for four years that it wasn't right. I just couldn't find the right reason to leave.

I waited for him to realise what he had done. I wondered how he would be able to live with himself. But it never came. He acting like the victim. People, friends, felt sorry for him. Someone else soon fell for his lies and within weeks he was repeating the same pattern of behavior with her.  I was just relieved it wasn't me anymore. Eventually, she left too and again he played the victim. People felt sorry for him. Someone else soon fell for his lies. This is his life. This is how he plays it. I couldn't tell her back then, same as the girl before me couldn't tell me.

 
This post is dedicated to the nameless woman who currently shares a facebook picture with my ex - 'Just look after yourself, yeah?'

My diary of those first few months can be found here.

Other websites on this subject are:

The Hide Out
This is abuse
Tender
Know more