I was 18 when I met him. He was tall, dark and beautiful.
I had no self esteem. Years of personal issues and bullying had left me with chronic anxiety and an eating disorder.
I couldn’t believe he even looked at me.
It all moved along very quickly. He seemed to live at my house after a few weeks. My mum loved him. He was a guy whose tongue was as smooth as his looks.
We were both musicians and had both won a scholarship to a college in the city. After 4 months we moved away and into our own place.
That’s when it began. At first it was small things. He wouldn’t let me go here, there or anywhere. He wouldn’t let me go out alone.
He took a job at the same place as me so that we could “spend more time together”. He was suffocating me.
At college we played in the same band, had all of the same friends, I was never alone. He had become two people. Nice and caring in public – yet a dark manipulator in private.
Then the accusations started. My best friend was a male guitarist. I was always getting things fired at me like “I know you want to fuck him”. I’d say I didn’t and he would pull my hair and say things like “If you touch him I will break his fingers, then I will kill you”.
This went on for a while and then it just escalated.
We moved to a different city to go to uni. Our guitarist friend also moved to the same city. I ended up just working to pay all of the rent and bills while he went out every night. He would drink, take drugs and sleep with other people.
I would be locked in or out of the flat. He would take my cards and my phone. He would give me back my phone when I went to work but he would stalk me to make sure I wasn’t calling anyone.
He had also become much more physical. He would hit me but be very clever as to always avoid my face or my arms so that I had no visible marks.
We once got into a fight because I wore something “too revealing” and he held my head over the electric cooker with the ring on.
I told him I wanted to leave and he threatened to kill himself. This happened over and over.
Once he hit me so hard I lost consciousness. I woke up to him sexually violating me. He was off his head on drugs and drink. When he passed out I made a run for it to my friend’s house. I got half way there (he lived about 4 streets away) and then suddenly out of nowhere I was being dragged up the road by my hair.
He threw me back in the flat and tried to strangle me. I fought back and ended up on top of him with my hands around his neck. I couldn’t do anything. I was frozen with fear. Luckily the neighbours rang the police. They came (not for the first time) and took him away.
Sadly as was so often the case they released him the next day. I had gone to work, tired and ill but at least it was a way to escape. I finally told my boss and she told me to call him to tell him I wasn’t coming back, and that I could stay with her.
I called and he said “if you don’t come back I’m going to kill myself”.
He then proceeded to take all of the medicine in the house and drink a load of alcohol. I got a call from a friend who had found him and taken him to hospital. I went to the hospital and a huge wave of anger came over me.
He said he was sorry and begged for my forgiveness. I told him I hated him and walked away. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me.
I then got a call from the hospital saying that they had sectioned him because he was a delusional schizophrenic. It all made sense. The two personalities I had lived with. The extreme paranoia. I suddenly realised it wasn’t my fault.
It took a few years but I managed to completely rebuild myself. When I was finally rid of him after 4 years I went out every night. I wore what I wanted. I did what I wanted all on my terms.
I pushed myself to the very extreme and rediscovered who I was and what I liked.
After two years I fell for my guitarist friend. He is the love of my life and a very different kind of person to my ex. We are now married and have a child and 9 years on I almost can’t believe the life I had.
Although I have recovered I am not without scars. I suffer from PTSD and panic attacks and I also have moments of crippling self doubt. But I know that I am now a stronger person than I have ever been before.
Always have faith in yourself. You’re stronger than you think. Things CAN get better.
As told to thedisclosed.com.