Hi Lancashire Lad,
Welcome to the forum and absolutely use this place to vent and get it off your chest. Like you say it can be difficult to talk about this with people, especially if you feel like they aren’t going to get it or your experience of sharing it is met with a judgemental response.
I’m sure many people who have been through similar experiences will nod in agreement about the impact domestic abuse has had on their lives, and the fact that it can still leave a residue many years later. You make a point that so many survivors of abuse who contact the domestic abuse helpline team say, which is, ‘it would have been easier if they had hit me.’ Meaning emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse within an intimate relationship, control, isolation, coercion, threats etc are so much harder to articulate to friends and family – and even to yourself. And some people who choose to use these tactics in their relationship know this; so they don’t hit you because then it would be clearer to you and the people around you exactly what was happening. I use the word ‘choose to use …’ because from what you describe it seems like your ex-partner wanted to control and hurt you and used many abusive and harmful tactics to do this but chose not to hit you – so it is clear he was making choices. At the helpline we believe people have a responsibility for their own behaviour, regardless of their mental health difficulties, early life traumas, day to day stresses and choose to use abuse and violence to ensure the relationship serves them.
It sounds like you did very well to get out of the relationship by moving to a friends and contacting the police. The Police are there to support domestic abuse survivors so you were entitled to get them involved. It takes a lot of bravery and courage to name what is going on and take the steps to end it. He sounded frightening and you did it still.
I’m sorry to hear that he kept using insidious ways to keep you aware of his presence. 50% of people who contact the helpline are talking to us about ongoing abuse from an ex-partner.
You mentioned he was extremely interested in sex and would take it even if you didn’t want it. Thank you for openness and honesty, talking about sex, this can be something that people can find so hard to bring in the open but it so often present in domestic abuse situations. In case you don’t know of this organisation https://www.survivorsuk.org/ways-we-can-help/online-helpline/ Survivors UK support men, trans men and non binary folk who have experienced sexual abuse or violence. This may or may not be something you need, but just incase it is.
The Helpline team love the title of this topic you started – ‘I’m still standing’ a powerful way to describe where you are and perhaps many other survivors may feel this describes where they are too 🙂
Thank you for your post,
The Helpline Team