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Forms Of Abuseimages from the stories

Rob

Well, I would think about her all of the time. You know, I’d be at work and I’d be thinking about her constantly. You know, I was infatuated with her, and I’d call her eight, nine times a day. And if she didn’t pick up the phone, I’d wonder where she was, and what she was doing, and who she was doing it with. And I’d just sit there at my desk and stew, and go out my mind. And it was at that point where I’d have to just make my excuses and leave. And when I got home, and she wasn’t there, I’d just go mad. You know, I’d start smashing the place up, and the next minute she’d walk through the door and she’d be like, ‘look, what the hell’s going on?’ You know, ‘I’ve only been down the shops’. And I just wouldn’t believe her. And when I’d finished breaking everything in the house, I turn and have a go at her. You know, I just, I don’t understand how I could have loved someone that much and treated them so badly.

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Now once she got some work at the hair salon, just answering the phones and stuff, and she said she wanted her own bank account, and I wasn’t happy about that. Because I figured I was the main breadwinner, so I should get the say on what happens to the money andthat was, it should be in the one main account. You know, I always made sure she had enough money for groceries and for the house stuff, but she wanted to have her own account, so she could do whatever with. You know, at least my way, I knew what she was doing and that she wasn’t getting up to anything, and spending too much. You know, it’s a pretty mean thing to do to a person, take away all the money that they’ve earned, and it’s pretty close to slavery, I guess. I certainly wouldn’t let anybody take away my money.

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I think the first thing that made me realize that things were going wrong, were the kids, and I got to understand that I think I lost all the love and respect from Josh and Claire. And I’d be yelling at their mother, and the kids would just have to get up and leave the room. And I’d have to go up and see them, and tell them, you know, ‘don’t worry, everything’s okay. Daddy didn’t mean it’… And they’d usually start crying. And I’d try to give them a cuddle… And I think that’s what I miss most, is the cuddles… But it had just got to the point where they were just too scared of me. And now that Tracy and I are separated and they’re a little bit older, they generally try and keep their distance from me.

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When I first spoke to someone about the relationship, they asked me if I knew how Tracy felt about things when we were arguing… And the truth is, I didn’t have a clue. You know, we’d drifted so far apart from any normal conversation. I had absolutely no idea how she felt about anything. I think it got to the point where she would be upset about something and I’d just think that she was getting pissed off at me, and that would make me feel sort of angry, and I’d start arguing with her again. But I think the counselling got me to understand that when she was upset, then I needed to ask her why, and I needed to speak to her, rather than going over the top at her.

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I didn’t think I needed to go to counselling, because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, you know. And I didn’t understand that what I was actually doing was abusive, and a kind of abuse, because, you know, I’d certainly never laid a finger on anybody.

******

Well at first, I didn’t think I needed any because I thought it was just for blokes who beat up their wives. I admit, when I first started going, it was probably more me wanting to keep her happy, so I could try and get her back. And it really used to shit me when I’d tell her that I really wanted to change, and she wouldn’t believe if I could or not. And I really had to get past the fact that she couldn’t see the changes in me. And I had to fight getting angry over her not believing me. But the counsellor got me to try and see things from her point of view and sort of made me understand that the way I used to behave, was kind of training her to be scared of me.

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Now the first six months after she left was really tough, and there were times there where I even had to stop going to work… But I wanted to keep going to the counselling because I wanted to be able to say to her, ‘look, if you just come back and live with me, then you’d be able to see the changes for yourself’. And then the counsellor got me to hear myself, and made me understand that even that was like a controlling type of behaviour. Because it was me asking her to do something for me, as opposed to me doing something unconditionally for her, you know. And that was a real revelation, and it really sort of slammed the brakes on, Because it was at that point I realised that this was going to be a lot slower and more time-consuming process. And that if I really wanted to change, then I was going to have to think about everything.

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It was hard to keep going to the counselling when we weren’t going together, and I wasn’t getting any sign from her that we’d ever get back together. You know, I’d always thought it was a bit bull-shitty, you know, spilling your guts to some stranger. And I thought that maybe he’d been the one to tell her to leave me. But you kind of learn what you think when you hear yourself saying it out loud to someone else. And I actually got to realise how good that I used to be at putting all the blame on her when, you know, it wasn’t her fault. You know, like saying to myself, ‘well if she never did’ whatever, and ‘if she just stayed at home, then I wouldn’t get mad, and then I wouldn’t do it’. I reckon one of the hardest things for me to accept and admit was that I couldn’t guarantee that going to the counselling was going to be the fix to everything. You know, it’s coming up to a year now, and yes, I have changed, but we still have in place this kind of “let’s wait and see how he’s going” type of agreement before we could even consider getting back together. You know, you don’t just get fixed, but this has changed so many things in my life. I mean, my work is just so much better, and I just feel…