My 2010 (email moreapologies gmail for password if you’ve forgotten it)

I received my stats for 2010 from wordpress this morning and they shamefully highlight my neglect of this blog. I’ve made 21 posts this year, they say. Man!

Well, I have my excuses. First, I ran out of blogging inspiration quite some time ago and I have yet to find it again. Second, I have been very busy in work. (For those of you who have forgotten, I am now a lecturer in University of Huddersfield.) Third, 2010 was actually the worst year of my life. I know that many people use such hyperbolic statements about the year just past, but it really really really was.

About this time last year, I became involved with someone entirely unsuitable and inappropriate. I realised about a week into the relationship (after he told me he loved me – eeek!) just how inappropriate he was. Before long he was abusing me (emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically). I was terrified and I had no idea what to do. The kicker: he was a work colleague who I had to see two/ three times a week. It was  horrible. I became the person I least wanted to be: that scared and confused woman who quickly finds herself in an abusive relationship and is absolutely unable to do anything about it. I knew as soon as the abuse started that I had to leave him but it took me four months (and the back of his hand on my cheek one day in early May on campus) for me to find the strength to get out.

I decided not to go to the police. I can’t really satisfactorily explain that decision to anyone, let alone myself, but I know that it was the right decision. If I had gone to the police, he would likely have lost his job and, while he probably deserved that, I didn’t want to be the person to bring that on. I just wanted to be rid of him. I do know that it was the right decision.

The emotional and psychological abuse continued after May. I was too frightened even then to tell him that I wanted nothing more to do with him (he was adamant that we could be together and make things work) and I spent the summer trying to find the strength to tell him to get out of my life. When I finally did, he didn’t listen, and continued the abuse. Eventually, I told my work colleagues what had been going on (my line manager knew already but was supportive of me not taking it further if that was my honest decision) and that made ending it once and for all so much easier.

At the start of October, I began to ignore him completely. I gave my line manager a series of emails and text messages which I had received from him as evidence of the harassment I had experienced through the months. The department head got him in for a “chat” just before Christmas and warned him to leave me alone and to, under no circumstances, contact me again for anything other than work. Apparently, he completely fell on his sword and accepted responsibility for everything that he had done. Frankly, he had no choice because the evidence was very clear. I also received an apology letter from him which indicated that he would be nothing but professional towards me from  now on and that I had no fear of further abuse from him.

(Interestingly, though he has been on “my” campus – he teaches on another campus – about 30 times this term, I have yet to see him face to face. It’s the hand of the Gods or something.)

So, he’s gone, I survived, but there have been, predictably, after-effects.

I know that I was very lucky in some respects: he was not in life for long; he did not do any serious physical damage to me; I had the emotional resources to get out as soon as I felt able; I have had the full backing of my work colleagues and the unquestioning support of my and his bosses; his emotional and psychological abuse while still lingering will not last forever and I am working through it; and, again, I survived.

I am trying to stop blaming myself but that is easier said that done. Society likes to blame victims of domestic violence for “bringing it on themselves” and although I fight hard in both the blogopshere and real life to dispel such myths, it is very easy to fall into that trap. And it is particularly so when you have been involved with someone so manipulative and twisted. And he was very manipulative and twisted.

I will get through it, though it may take longer than I initially thought. I hate him with every bone of my body, and I wish that I had never met him. I don’t wish him harm, but I never, ever, want to be around him again.  I would prefer to never see him again but that’s not likely. I hope he learns from  his many, many mistakes and doesn’t do the same again to someone else. I latterly learned that he has abused before so it so it is really no surprise.

As a rather outspoken feminist, it’s not what you expect to happen to you, but I’ve learned that that’s a ridiculous thing to believe. And it’s much to close to victim-blaming. So I just don’t believe it. And it’s amazing how much you learn about yourself when you’re on your ass.

And that’s my story for 2010.

10 responses to “My 2010 (email moreapologies gmail for password if you’ve forgotten it)

  1. Oh dear, I am so so sorry for this. I had no idea. Your decision not to go to the police is only yours to make and NOBODY has a right to question it or debate its merits. It is always such an unattainable situation that we can only do what is right for us. And in that, there are no universal recipes to follow.

    I sincerely hope 2011 is better. I miss your blogging and your insights, but again, YOU need to do what’s best for YOU. If you need to vent, you have my email address and I am there. It is always such a pleasure to read you and to exchange thoughts and comments.

    Wishing you the best! Much love, Flavia.

    • Thank, you. And you’re absolutely right. I always had this conviction in my head that if anything of the like happened to me (not that it ever would, natch), I would go straight to the police. And I give a few lectures every year on the non-reporting of crimes against women and how detrimental that is to both the women themselves and the justice system. But when you’re in the middle of it, it is not so straightforward. I did what was best for me, in my own time, and that was all I could do.

      I miss blogging, Flavia, but something has to give when you’re feeling under pressure. Hopefully I’ll get back into it. And thank you so much for your comment and offer of an ear. I really enjoy our interactions too!.

  2. Hey Annie, thank you for inviting me! I’m glad everything is better at work. I was wondering where you had disappeared to! I hope 2011 is a lot better and that you had a good holiday.

    Maggie.

  3. Oh hun.

    What a shocking time you’ve had – my heart was racing as I read your post. I am relieved that you did feel able to deal with it in your time and in a way with which you are satisfied.

    I appreciate what you are saying about a feminist never expecting this to happen to her, but it can happen to anyone – and it happens to all kinds of women (and men). It doesn’t say anything about you, it doesn’t say anything about your strength of character. Your ability to come out the other side and write so eloquently does.

    I’ve always admired what you write – you’re a whole level above me when it comes to what you share. My mind just can’t seem to take in some of the things you point out even though they may be obvious – until you point them out.

    I tend to say that a new year means very little: we just write 2011 rather than 2010, but it’s all the same. In this case, I hope that a new year really does mean new things for you. Don’t look back x

    • Hey you.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

      And you’re right; it can happen to absolutely anyone and, while I knew that intellectually, I never thought it would happen to me. Silly mistake, but I’ve learned from it and that’s important too.

      I have high hopes for 2011 and I hope it’s wonderful for both of us.

      xx

  4. I still think back to that time in Oxford when you told me, I was horrified then and remain so now.

    I know that last year was so very hard for you, but you’ve come through it a stronger and better person. You are an inspiration for people who find themselves in abusive relationships who think that there is no way out at all.

    • Ach, darling. Thank you! I was very flipping horrified myself. I do think that I am a stronger person after it all, you’re right.

      I learned a lot of things that I didn’t ever want to learn but I can live with that as I’m still in one piece. That’s what I’m trying to focus on now.

      xx

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