I need to talk about something. Something hard to talk about.
I’m in an abusive relationship with a partner.
For 18 months now, this partner has been really controlling over where I go and who I see. To the point they have installed a tracker on my phone.
Every time I question them about it, they tell me it’s to “keep me safe”, but I’m not sure how knowing where and when I use the bathroom is “keeping me safe”?
Lately, I have to admit, it’s got a lot worse. Now they are telling me what I can and can’t wear outside the house – and threatening me with punishment if they hear I have not complied.
To make matters worse – they have started to look at my online shopping, asking me whether it’s “essential” I have what I’m looking at. I work, I work really hard, I pay all my bills and taxes, surely I have the right to spend my money on what I want?
Most recently – they’ve said if I travel more than 10km away from my house, they’ll call the police on me and make me have to ‘explain myself’.
It’s really hard to break free, you know. Because there are these moments in between, when things are good. You know, they encourage me to go out and wear whatever I want. They even tell me that spending my money is helping other people. On a few occasions they have even given me money toward a night out or a weekend away. And it gets me thinking ‘things aren’t so bad’. ?
But then reality hits, out of nowhere. I have to cancel plans I’ve had for months – sometimes I even loose money on it. I sit here, alone and think ‘what exactly do I have to look forward to, when my every aspect of my life is controlled to this extent’. I get depressed, really down, like I’m falling into a black hole.
I know you are going to say ‘you need to get out’, but how can I? I depend on them for so much. And what if they really do have me thrown in jail for not complying with what they’ve said? Who’s going to believe me over them?
The thing I don’t understand is, I’m an adult, and I can look after myself. Make decisions that keep me safe – assess risk. I’ve spend so long doing that. So how are they keeping me safe? Perhaps it’s just another lie to keep me reliant on them? To keep me in the relationship?
I look at other partners, and sure, none of them are perfect. People get hurt sometimes – but at least they are getting hurt on their own terms. And in-between times, the are not denigrated and controlled, they are free. They can sit in the sunshine and laugh and drink wine without a care in the world. I so badly want that, but I’m so afraid to break free from the partner I have. They threaten me all these consequences for trying to leave… and maybe some are true, but I’m starting to think leaving is worth the risk.
Now, replace the word ‘partner’ with Government. And that’s how I feel, like I’m in an abusive relationship.