Sleeping with the enemy......
- By girly-d
- On 10/03/2018
- 1 comments
Published in Daring Woman magazine March 2018
Have you ever tried not to breathe?.... Even if it's just for a few seconds? It's harder than it looks.
Because it's pretty important, breathing.....it tends to keep you alive and stuff.....which leads me to this question.
If you thought your life depended on it.....do you think you could not breathe then??......
I think he's asleep.
I think so. I'm really not sure. I'm not sure of anything right now except that I'm holding my breath and that soon....as soon as I can, I will be leaving him......
It was the dressing gown cord that did it....
The way he'd draped it casually over the sofa as he was giving me the spanish inquisition. He didn't say a word. By now he didn't need to. Most of our 'conversations' these days involved code.
I just saw that cord and I knew....with absolute clarity, that if I didn't leave him now, at some point that cord would be round my neck. I can't leave now. It's too risky. So I'm just going to lie here holding my breath and hope that he thinks I'm asleep.
If I'm asleep I'm not leaving him. That's what he'll think. Because leaving him is not an option. I know this. Because he told me. Lots of times.
He said if I leave him he'd find me. Batter me to within an inch of my life was the text. I believe him. If he wasn't so drunk he could kill me tonight. I think that's his plan. Something he's building up to.... Hence the dressing gown cord on the sofa. But then he opened another can. Which meant a reprieve.....
My bag is under the bed. Underneath where my head goes. I call it my go-go gadget bag. It has everything I need inside it. My money. My charger. My phone. I reach down to touch it. I need to know it's there.
I've turned my phone off. In case someone messages. The thought that it might make a sound and wake him up is enough to finish me off all by itself right now. It means that I can't call for help. But its the lesser of two evils at the minute. If he wakes up I have no idea what comes next. I've never been so scared in my life.
I hear him snore beside me. Twenty pints of lager kicking in......I sigh with relief.....Thank God.
Every single cell in my body is telling me to leave him. I know this. I know that this has to happen the exact minute that I see my chance. I'm grabbing my handbag and I'm gone.
For now I just lie here. Counting the hours.
He made me take my clothes off. He wanted me naked. I told him that I wasn't tired. That I just wanted to read. I was stalling for time. I hoped he'd fall asleep....He made me take them off anyway. There were 3 flights of stairs between me and the front door. It was strategic. Part of the mind games he liked to play. He reached over and undid my bra and I swore to myself he will never be able to do this again.
I should be able to pinpoint it. This. When this shit started happening. You would think I would know. But if you asked me to tell you a specific date and time, I wouldn't be able to answer the question... I'm not talking about how I met this guy. Of course I remember that. I mean "this". This thing that I'm writing about now. The abuse. The violence. The control.
I just know that it did. Somehow. And that my lying here not breathing now is a direct result of that....
I should be grateful that I had a bed really.....that's what he'd say. He made me sleep on the sofa once. The one that he'd bought from the guy moving out. The one that had the mites or bed-bugs or fleas living inside it.
I thought he was joking at first.
He laughed when I told him they were biting me.
I'm not even sure what it was that I'd done to make him so angry that night....and with hindsight, looking back, I'm pretty sure that the answer to that question would be 'nothing'.......he just wanted to see me do it.
So I think that was the night that it started.....him taking control.
Because the sofa thing wasn't a one-off. An isolated incident. It was just one of many.
In the months that followed his controlling behaviour got worse.
He monitored me constantly. Bombarded me with calls.....Where was I? Who was I with? Who was I talking to? What about? Why? Why did it take me so long to answer the phone? What was I wearing?
Because he had a thing about my clothes. My make up.....he said I was "grooming myself" for all of the other (imaginary) men I was sleeping with the minute his back was turned.....presumably why he tagged me as a bouncing mattress gif across social media.
He took my possesions and trashed them.....Threw them down the stairs. Put them out in the garden when it rained. I didn't have much to start with. By the time I left him I owned next to nothing.
He stole my phone.....and called or texted every male contact I had..... making vile threats and accusations, just because at some point in my life they had dared to speak to me.....
He punched me through the duvet......dragged me upstairs by my neck......
All of those times I should have left him and I didn't......because by now I was ill and reliant and had nowhere else to go....
And tonight, if he wakes up and he does what I think he is capable of doing.....I'll never be able to.......
This was me not that long ago.
I was one of the lucky ones. Because I finally saw what was happening to me and I had to make it stop. Before he killed me. So I left him. And didn't go back.
The "thing" that I talk about here has a name. It's called "Co-oercive Control". It's domestic abuse. It's a criminal offence and can carry up to five years imprisonment if a person is tried and convicted.
It's serious stuff. Until I met this guy I had no idea what it was. Then, largely thanks to him, I went on a crash-course.
Co-oercive control is abuse. Mental, physical, verbal. Thats the bottom line. It's designed to frighten you, to make you compliant. To mess with your head.
It works. It messed with mine.
So don't be me ok? Don't put up with this. If you read this and it resonates don't be me.....in fact no fuck it.... yes - do be me. Because yes I stayed.....yes I put up with it. Because I was ill and downtrodden and I had nowhere else to go. But then I left him. And I didn't look back......so if I can do it, leave a guy who's that vile and twisted and nasty, whilst trying to think straight through a head filled with alphabet spaghetti at the time......then you can do it too.
You can leave. You should leave.
So tell someone. Get some help. Make a plan.....and then go and be me.....