A Song took me by surprise today. My initial reaction was to turn it off immediately but I forced myself to listen, intent on not letting it get to me and to push past the feelings it raised. The effect it had on me was greater than I expected. I thought it would be forgotten in minutes but I found myself emotional and distracted and flooded with memories of my ex for the rest of the day. Not the horrific fights and abuse for once, but of all the nice things he’d done for me, however manipulative his motives may have been at the time. A song called Indian summer, by Stereophonics, was the trigger on this occasion. He had bought me tickets to go and see them for my 26th birthday and played their new album in the house over and over on the run up to the gig, telling me that this song reminded him of me and it was our song. Listening to it reminded me of the thoughtful things he used to do for me and made me realise that at one time I had been madly in love with this man. I had never met someone who put so much thought and effort into everyday little things, as well as bigger surprises and occasions. I had never had someone make me feel so special and loved and looked after. The first time I slept over at his house he brought me a Mc Donald’s breakfast in bed, ran me a bubble bath in the middle of the day and fed me champagne. We had spent the morning lying in the back-garden sipping away and telling life stories. When things were good, they were great. I have never laughed so much with someone, spent so much time with someone and still craved to be with them even more. When we were out together we spent all night beside one another, laughing and talking, oblivious to everyone else around us. Even when we lived together, we acted like teenagers on a night out, only having time for each other. I remember two girls once commenting that they had a bet on, to see if it was the first or second date we were on, when in reality I had known him over 2 years at this stage. We started as friends and became closer at a time that I believed both of us were going through a tough time. Little did I know that his tough time was mostly a lie, combined with a lot of self-inflicted life problems and him being there for me, was his way of taking advantage of my vulnerability and a way of getting closer.

Before things got bad and I saw the sheer cruelty that he was capable of, I don’t believe I have loved someone and enjoyed someone’s company as much as I had his. When you love someone this much and they are so convincing at showing you they care and will go to the end of the world and back for you, it is so much more painful when they hurt you. The person you have finally made yourself completely vulnerable to, is willing to use that against you to hurt you. It is soul destroying to come to the realisation that the man you love can hurt you in this way. What’s even more devastating is, not only is he the man you love, he is the father of the child you are carrying and instead of being there to hold your hand, he there’s to grab your arm and throw you against a wall when you try to get past him and get away from the abuse he’s hurling your way. When you go to your first midwife appointment and he should be sat by your side waiting anxiously and excitedly to find out more, you find yourself on your own, crying uncontrollably because you can’t think of who to put down as your emergency contact, because you’ve broken up with him after things got too out of hand at the weekend. The man that should be reassuring you and holding you, when your crying for the grandfather you just lost, is instead starting a fight and keeps you up all night roaring and shouting and trashing your apartment, it’s heartbreaking. At times I question why I stayed when I did and there were many reasons. The step kids and wanting to protect them, the fact I was carrying his child, fear, exhaustion, my job, but the biggest reason may have been I loved him! It took until today for me to finally, really, admit that to myself and accept that it’s ok that love played its part. He put as much effort into convincing me he loved me as he did into making me miserable. His actions were always well calculated and constructed to balance the good with the bad, and this made it all the more confusing. I’d be at the brink of having enough, the final straw and he’d pull me back in, just enough to make me think twice about leaving. It is torture to be second guessing yourself all the time, to be at war with your emotions and common sense. An abusive man is a scary thing, an intelligent, abusive man, is terrifying.

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