I wrote earlier in the week about my absolute need to be believed about the Domestic abuse I suffered, you can read that here.
Writing and talking about it got me thinking and realising that even all these years later living a life free of abuse I have inherited a behaviour from the abuse that’s not the healthiest.
I have taken on a willingness and readiness to be able to prove myself. I’m in in a constant state of ensuring I’m able to back up my words. I collect evidence without even realising. I rarely make a statement or claim something to be true unless I can prove it is.
I don’t even mean big or important things either. I do it with silly stuff. Small girl’s daddy and I co-parent her. We share her time which means she has an overnight bag (aka the bane of my life) Small girl’s daddy is a lovely daddy and the Shared Parenting really works for her. However I’m a bit dozy (understatement of the year) and I often forget to put things in said bag. I always note down what I’ve packed though. So if I’m questioned about why I’ve forgotten the school shoes for the millionth time I can ‘prove’ I have.
If I’m telling someone a daft fact or about something I’ve read I’ll provide links and Web pages just to back myself up.
I keep any correspondence ever from my abuser. Just in case. Just in case I ever need to prove that he continues to (unsuccessfully) exhert control, that he has sent abusive vile emails, that he has made up ridiculous, ludicrous lies. Years worth … because I daren’t delete a thing.
I never, ever want to be the woman who cannot prove herself again.
Being that woman almost broke me.
Once I’d left the abuse I was dragged through the Hell that is family court. It was the most traumatic thing I have ever been through. (a note to other victims though. .. It was hard, it was traumatic but please don’t let me put you off. The pathway to freedom and a happy family life is filled with obstacles, but they’re worth getting over – I promise you that, you’re strong enough for that fight)
The first social worker I spoke to had unfortunately spoken to him before me. He’d been the nice guy I spoke about here. She questioned the validity of my ‘story’ of abuse. I was floored. I’d believed this woman was going to help me keep my children safe. Her opening line I fact was “I’m going to give you the opportunity right now to admit you’ve made all this up”. That was and remains the lowest point in my journey to now. She apologised to me years later and tried to explain how hard a one person’s word against another type scenario was. I see how hard that could be honestly I do. I also know for sure that taking that kind of stance with a scared, vulnerable woman could have forced her right back to her abuser.
Thankfully at the time I was doing The Freedom Programme (yes she’s harking on about that again. I’ll never stop, it saved my sanity) the facilitators were so helpful in pointing me in the direction of help to tackle the sceptic social worker.
I had no evidence of abuse back then. No police reports, no hospital records. None of the evidence people kept asking me for. I can’t prove abuse happened. It was, and remains, my word against his.
So that’s where my need to be believed comes from. I never want to feel that way again. It’s probably an unhealthy thought process and one I’ll discuss with my therapist.
That I didn’t even realise I thought and behaved that way until I wrote that blog interests me though.
I always say writing this blog is therapeutic for me, for these kind of reasons. When I get my thoughts down on paper they can become a mirror so I can self analyse a bit.
That helps me.
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