“But I’m Not Hitting You” – Why Domestic Abuse Is Not Just Physical

 

He said he never hit me so it wasn’t domestic abuse.

The truth is, coercive control and domestic abuse is not just physical.

Like many who look back in hindsight and hear great klaxons of warnings at certain memories, I carry a lot of guilt, shame and embarrassment that I did not realise what was going on.

I don’t consider myself naive and I might not be the sharpest tool in the box but I don’t think I’m stupid… despite Mike’s insistence otherwise!

And yet, I look back and wonder how I could have been so unbelievingly naive and stupid.

How did I not realise what was going on?

How did I not know these behaviours were forms of abuse?

I just didn’t.

I thought of the words domestic abuse and equated them with images of women with black eyes and bruises all over them.

And that wasn’t me.

“But I haven’t hit you.”

That’s how he justified anything else he did.

Shove me? 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Block my access into and out of rooms or the house and block me from getting away from him?

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Bounce me off his huge, fat, 22-stone, 6’2″ body?

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Repeatedly tell me what a shit mum I was.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Tell the kids how I was no good and didn’t love them.

Yes .

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Tell me how I wasn’t good enough. Not attractive enough. Not pretty enough. Not slim enough. Not anything enough….

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Tell me how I could never leave because who would want me anyway and how lucky I was to have him as he was the only one who could put up with me. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Had control of the mortgage, the house, the bills and had me transfer money into his account every month, even though I had no clue what it was or wasn’t being used for. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Refused to let me have a doorkey to my own home?

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Stood over me with his finger pointing in my face, brushing my skin close enought to intimidate but not quite hard enough to have to admit contact.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Threaten me with my children.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Reminded me I couldn’t leave with ‘all those kids’.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Told me I was crazy, mad, unbalanced and that nobody would ever believe me because nobody liked me and everyone liked him. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Had access to all emails, banking, accounts, phone etc while not only keeping his own private but also creating secret accounts. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Made sure I knew I’d be nothing without him.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Threaten I wouldn’t see my kids again. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Grab, push and use his body to shove me, then holding his hands up and mock me.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Would sext and exchange photos and videos with other women and be heavily into because I was too ugly and ‘if you slept with me more…’

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Would say something and deny saying it. Or use the words, ‘That might be what I said but it’s not what I meant.’

Then accuse me of being the crazy one.

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Would do something then deny having done it with the words, ‘Well, I don’t remember that so how do I know you’re not making it up?’

Then accuse me of being the crazy one. 

Yes

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Told me the dangers of having friends because nobody really cares about you the way your own family does. We are all we need. (Hence wanting to move to the hinterlands of Ireland where we knew nothing or nobody). 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

Had to sit and watch and monitor any time we were in the company of others. Silent, quiet, pensive… so he could use any ammunition he could glean against me in an argument at any time in the future. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

He stalked me. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

He monitored my personal mail. 

Yes.

“But I’m not hitting you.”

And more.

Much, much more.

Thirty years worth of more.

So no, he didn’t actually hit me. 

But God, how I wished he did, just once, so that I could prove what he said I’d never be able to.

But he didn’t hit me. 

And in his eyes, that was all that mattered.

As he saw it, that was not abuse.

And as I understood it, anything that he did do wasn’t abuse, just as he quite rightly said.

Because he didn’t hit me.

I know I’m not alone in not realising what was happening to me.

And if you recognise any of these things happening to you or someone close to you, you need to know this:

IT ABSOLUTELY IS STILL ABUSE. 

Even if he doesn’t hit you.

 

 

 

 

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