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What it's actually like to live in an abusive relationship

But it was my choice…or was it? 

I don’t really wear perfume…… A choice I had made, to make life easier, to avoid the questioning. 

  • What are you spraying that for? 

  • Making an extra effort today – who’s that for? Its clearly not for me. 

  • Trying to impress someone at work today? 

  • Are you even going to work today? 

It was always said ‘as a joke’ so if I questioned or got upset or annoyed by it then I was accused of having something to hide, being too sensitive because he’d hit a nerve. This would in turn make me feel the need to vigorously defend his false accusations and more often than not would end in an argument, disagreement, doors slamming, loud shouting. Uncomfortable atmosphere for me and the children.

Just a few of the reasons why I stopped using perfume, not because I wanted to stop using perfume, not because I didn’t like the way they smelt, but because I wanted the questioning and the accusations to stop. 

It was easier to not spray it than to feel like it needed justification. 

But he had never told me or asked me to stop using perfume, he hadn't done anything wrong. It was my choice, my decision - but was it?


Changing how you behave because of how other people make you feel is coercive control. Its not ok. 


Things could have been different… 

My abuser called the police to report an historic incident that he had made real. This incident had never occurred. It was a fabricated story made up from snippets of events that were partially true. He had taken bits of memories and real events and added to and twisted them into a false series of wrong doing . He convinced me that he was right because he clearly remembered everything and my lack of knowledge was me hiding the truth caused by trauma and stress. 

Police came to the house to record the incident I didn't even know he had called them, I was completely caught off guard and not prepared. 

The police didn’t recognise the signs

  • He reported it 

  • I had no recollection

  • I didn’t share the same understanding/concerns that he had portrayed

  • Police made out it was a relationship issue – “we aren’t relationship counsellors” 

  • Police wrote a report that I signed to close the issue


They didn’t pick up on the signs, they didn't question why someone else had called to report a very personal incident, they didn't question why I was telling them I know nothing about it, I was made to feel like I was wasting their time, yet I had never called them to report anything. They didn't recognise the hidden abuse.

If only they had asked the right questions… 

After a phone call with a close friend, they felt the need to contact the police due to concern over some of the things that had been said. I knew nothing about this call and out of the blue the Police arrived at my home, it took me completely by surprise.

The police took myself and my partner into separate rooms 

Female officer asked me  “why did you say what you did to your friend on the phone” – she gave no indication of what incident they were trying to understand. I was not sure what she was referring to, I didn't know what to say. I was worried.

My abuser was in another room with a male police officer - he was good at telling stories and came across very articulate, I can only assume he made out I had mental health problems and it was me who needed support. I was unwell and crazy.

My answers and actions were short and guarded, I knew the truth would get him into trouble, I had always protected and hidden the reality through shame, I believed that he behaved the way he did because I was in the wrong, I'd made him angry. 

I didn't offer the police any information, but if they had asked the right questions the reality would have been clear to see.

Their visit opened my eyes and allowed me to recognise that the way I was living was not ok. I had great support and strength and managed to get away, not everyone has these same chances.

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