He never let me go that easy, he would follow me, find ways of getting in touch with me or sending messages to me. He just wouldn’t take no for an answer. The only words I ever remember of him are ‘you will never get me out of your life, I will always be here, no one else will ever be with you because I won’t let them, I will kill for you if I have to’ it started to register in my head that he wasn’t bothered about our daughter at all, he was only interested in me. Never did he ask about her, never did I hear him asking people about her, the questions was always about me.
As you can imagine things didn’t end there and eventually I was awarded an injunction against him and social services decided he couldn’t see my daughter any more unless it was supervised. By June 2009 it was agreed that my ex-partners mum would be the safe person where contact could be arranged and took place. Stacy went to her paternal grandmothers house twice a week for a few hours. Although he was rarely there, this proved what I thought he didn’t want her he just wanted me. I actually started to believe he would never let me go, I would never be free from him and I would never have a normal life.
This continued upto Christmas 2009 when my ex-partner kicked off on Boxing Day because things had not gone his way. I reported my ex-partner for what had happened and he was arrested and took to court for his offences. Unfortunately this then caused arguments between me and his family and they stopped answering my call. They didn’t turn up for meetings with social care and they never got in touch to resume contact with my daughter. This then led social services to make the decision along with myself that if my ex-partner wanted to resume contact he would have to take me to court. Social services were involved from her being new born and they remained involved until she was about 1 and by this time Stacy was back in my full time care. Within this time I attended various support groups to give me a safe space about my experiences but also to support me with Stacy I had a worker from NIDAS who supported me through court.
So this was the reality, we weren’t going to be together forever. He didn’t love me and care for me like no one else did. He just wanted me to believe this, so I depended on him and so I would never leave him.
If I could go back and speak to my 12 year old self and give her one message it would be ‘believe in yourself’ to give her the strength to end the relationships, and to realise she was worth more.
It took me so long to feel strong again, to believe in myself or to even allow myself to live my life without living in fear. I lost all my friends because of this relationship and trying to find the courage to make friends with people to trust people, to allow people to know who I was scared me. I had a lot of barriers and found it so much easier to push people away at the start. Rebuilding myself in some ways was harder than living with him. Because when I was with him I didn’t have a choice, to be in control of my own life and make decisions again was scary.
One of the hardest relationships I had to rebuild was with my mum, we had always been best friends before him. We had been through so much before he even come along, I lost my dad at a young age and I was all my mum had to remember him. So when I pushed her away and left her for him she was broken. My mum always fought so hard for me, she always supported me even when I was wrong she would even find professionals for me to speak to so that I could get help but I would refused to engage. She did everything she could to put barriers in the way to stop me from seeing him but I always found a way around it. Either sneaking messages through friends, climbing out of bedroom windows in the night, skipping school anything she tried to do to stop it I found a way around it. My mum blames herself for everything for not trying harder, but there was nothing she could have ever done or said. No one else was in my head other than him. My mum was broken throughout this relationship, and when I left home it made her ill. She felt as though she was grieving for me, as though I had died. There would of been no one else I would have chosen to look after Stacy. Me and my mum now are stronger than ever she’s my biggest supporter, will always fight my corner, the bond her and Stacy share is so special to see but most of all she is my best friend.
After some time had past I knew my passion lay within supporting victims of domestic abuse and this was what I wanted to do for a career. NIDAS felt so personal in their approach to supporting clients (me) and the way my worker was with me was what I wanted for others. I applied to be a volunteer at NIDAS and within 6 months I was recruited as the reception and admin worker. Although this was a foot in the door this wasn’t what I wanted and I worked so hard to prove myself and further my knowledge and experience. I was then given the opportunity to split my full time hours into various jobs to support my development. I worked 14 hours as reception, 14 hours as a women’s worker and 7 hours as a children’s worker. On top of working full time I started attending evening college to complete GCSE’s and further qualifications to support my career. This led to me being employed full time as a women’s safety worker. Eventually I was promoted to the family team lead and my work involved working with mum’s who had children removed from their care because of their relationship. It’s now 2022 and I am still working at NIDAS, and after having numerous roles here I have progressed from volunteer, receptionist, practitioner, team leader to now Service Delivery Manager.
Stacy is the light at the end of my tunnel, she’s my best friend and she saved me when no one else could. Had I of not left that relationship does not bare to think about. Contact has never gone ahead with Stacy and her father, Stacy is aware of who he is and where she came from as I believe she has the right to know and understand her identity. Every now and again my ex-partner will send a note to a friend’s house threatening to take me to court, he will still try to highlight the fact that it’s me that got away, it’s me he wants back and he won’t stop these letters get delivered on or around my birthday, but in all honesty I cannot say he bothers me anymore.
To any girls or women out there who are reading this and can relate to anything in this story, please reach out to your mum, a teacher, a professional anyone. Please don’t try and manage all of this on your own. Please never forget who you are, how strong you are or that you deserve to be happy and safe.