This is a clients reflection on how the counselling process helped her. This client tells us how she experienced a relationship with a man she considered to be abusive, angry and controlling.
The following information may include opinions, recommendations and or other content from third parties that do not necessarily reflect Finding Yous views.
Finding You have strict confidentiality policies. Some of the details and or information below have been changed to protect “X”s identity. X approached us and asked us to share her story with you.
Names will remain confidential and I will refer to the lady in question as “X” and the man she refers to as “M” . X hopes that by sharing her story, others in her position, women and men, will know that they are not alone and perhaps will gain some strength and hope from it.
“It took many years before I was able to break away from what I considered was a very abusive relationship during which I felt bullied, harassed, controlled and continually undermined.
I feel that the controlling behavior, or perhaps that is when I started to take note of it, kicked in after the birth of our first child. M insisted that he knew best and continually criticized the way in which I looked after my child, breast feeding, for example, was all about getting my breasts at the right angles and mine were all wrong! I was useless, incapable of breast feeding my child, this made feeding the baby very stressful to the extent I simply gave up and bottle fed, something that I had not planned to do, which at the time made me feel that I had failed my child in some way which made me feel very, very sad. Towards the end of our relationship I gave up cooking, for years I was told that I put too much water in pans; M would hover over me whilst I was cooking and would keep tipping water out. I had to use lids on pans at all times, if I did not he would hover and put lids on, if he thought I was using the wrong utensils he would change them. I remember the last meal I cooked for him, exasperated, I eventually threw the meal in the sink. It got to the stage where amongst other things; I could not brush the kids hair because I was not doing it right, I could not boil a kettle of water, I was not doing it right, I could not load a dishwasher, I was not doing it right. He would unload and re load it, I was not allowed to wear perfume of any description, I was only allowed to use certain cleaning products, eat certain foods and the list goes on and on….. M kept the house cold, when I tried to turn the heating up, he would turn it down. M even put a pin in the temperature control to prevent me turning it up, miserable at feeling so cold I pulled the temperature control off the wall and pulled the pin out!
I tried several times to pull away from M and tried to speak to him about how unhappy I was, I feel that he did not hear me, and I feel it only made him worse. And each time, I tried to finish the relationship, I thought about the impact it would have on me and the kids, I knew there would be a back lash and I was scared. I was so unhappy and very ill towards the end of the relationship, I was on my knees, I was completely exhausted. Something had to give, if I did not act I knew I would crack and go under.
The last years of the relationship were horrendous. I believe unwittingly I had started to pull away from the relationship and unconsciously started to make moves to leave, as I did Ms behavior towards me, in my view became even more controlling and more bullish. I did it though, I managed to pull away, and the relief, I can’t describe how relieved I felt. From that point on I started to regain my strength and slowly began to feel so much happier and so much better. It was very, very, hard. When you have been told that you are useless and worthless and that everything is your fault, over and over again, year after year, it sticks and you believe it.
In this relationship I could not do right from wrong and even though this relationship has finished I still cannot do right from wrong, I was right to be scared about the back lash, it’s been horrendous. I feel that the bullying continues but M now hides behind a solicitor who does most of the leg work for him. However, thanks to counselling therapy, some very close loyal friends and family, I am a far stronger person than I was, I have regained my dignity, my confidence and myself respect”
Counselling provided a safe space in which I could talk freely and in confidence. The counsellor facilitated and invited me to explore the relationship I had with M and other issues that arose during the counselling process. I was surprised at the issues that arose and what I learnt about me. The counselling process somehow made me conscious of a lot of things about me that I was unaware of, I took a long hard look at me, the good and the bad, I explored my feelings, why I did what I did, and took a long hard look at the choices I had made. Why had I been so compliant? How had I become so trapped? As I began to understand me, I began to grow and change, my confidence started to come back, I started to feel a lot happier in myself and I stopped feeling worthless and useless even though I was still being told I was".
X tells us that she has sought protection from M from the courts and the police and has had to call the police out to her home on several occasions. X tells us how she has been seeking an harassment order and or restraining order against M. She tells us that although the police have been supportive they have told her that although there is a case building, there is not enough evidence against M to press charges. X tells us that she feels very let down by the “system” it has been her experience and is her view that there is no protection in the “system” for men and or women in her position. She wants to let others in her position know that they are not alone, she encourages them to hang on in there, she survived it and has come out the other end a much stronger person and her message is if she can, you can to.