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Dark memories coming back to me

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 29 April 2016
I have read the recent reader's problem about the Helen and Rob storyline in the Archers. I myself was a victim of domestic abuse ten years ago, yet why is it when following their continuing story, that I feel so tearful and almost a sense of panic overcomes me. As the story progresses it's bringing back those dark memories. I too was in prison, for finally standing up for myself and attacking my husband, and like Helen was separated from my child. I keep thinking that if only I had recognised the signs, and acted sooner by leaving him, I would have never experienced such an ordeal. I have no-one to speak to about my past, as I feel nobody would understand. Do you think counselling would possibly help me, even though my trauma was such a long time ago? I appreciate it would be much simpler to turn the radio off, but for whatever reason I feel addicted to the storyline and am wanting a happy ending.

Patricia Marie says...

Thank you for entrusting me with your heartrending story. I am so sorry for what you have had to endure. Being a victim of domestic violence is devastating in itself, yet to be sentenced to prison and to have been apart from your child under such shocking circumstances is utterly unthinkable. It is no wonder you are feeling as you do whilst listening to The Archer's current riveting storyline, but you are not alone, as this powerful drama continues to touch so many people in the real world. Yes, you could turn the radio off to stop it affecting you, but somehow, if the show's writers had not portrayed domestic violence as being so horrific, it would undermine many of the actual victims suffering abuse.

Please don't blame yourself for not leaving your husband sooner. There are a myriad reasons it can be untenable to leave an abusive partner – fear of retaliation, having young children and nowhere to go, worrying others will disbelieve you, and often victims convince themselves that their abuser's behaviour will improve. The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal. It is never too late to seek professional help. Many years after victims have escaped their abuser, it's not uncommon for them to develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as flashbacks, nightmares, tearfulness and panic attacks. As you are displaying these signs, I feel that therapy would be of great benefit, to explore any emotions that may have been repressed, and allow you to move forward and leave the past very much behind. Women's Aid can provide both individual and group counselling, where you would be able to meet other sufferers of domestic violence, and feel very much understood. You could also draw comfort from the group, as members who start off as strangers, can, after sharing each other's experiences, become a valuable and trusted source of support.

I would like to offer you my best wishes for a happy ever after, and one that we are all wanting for Helen too.

Women's Aid 24 hour helpline on 0800 2000 247

My husband was violent last night

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 26 February 2016
First, I'd like to say that my husband is not usually a violent man. Although he often shouts and uses bad language, which can be quite scary, he has never hurt me before. However, last night he pushed me hard against a wall.

He has been incredibly stressed recently, mainly because his mother died and he accepted a promotion with extra responsibility at work. He came home and was shouting and punching things in the house. I was trying to calm him down but he swung round, screamed at me and then shoved me away.

It has left me so shaken and on edge around him. He has apologised repeatedly but I'm so upset with him and can't seem to forgive his actions.

I know he doesn't need extra worry on top of his existing ones but how can I move on from this? Am I overreacting?
Thank you.

Patricia Marie says...

There is no excuse whatsoever for domestic violence. You are most certainly not overreacting, and I admire your courage in acknowledging this is a serious problem. Although it is the first time your husband has physically attacked you, due to the continued revilement you were suffering, it was almost inevitable violence was to follow.

Do not be a victim any more, or feel that you have to forgive him. He must accept the consequences of his actions, and it is now time for you to put a stop to this abuse before the situation worsens. You say he has been constantly apologising, but merely saying sorry is not enough. I would recommend you tell your husband you need some time apart while he addresses his behaviour. Tell him you can no longer risk being treated in this way. If he realises how much he is hurting you, and genuinely wants to change, this will be a good start, but if not, you should question the future of your relationship.

Your husband needs to embark on Anger Management classes as a matter of urgency to gain more self-control, and to prevent further repercussions. I feel he would also benefit from seeing his GP, who could refer him for Bereavement Counselling, as it would appear that he is in denial of his emotions, and has not yet come to terms with the loss of his mother. Having professional support will enable him to deal with the increased pressures at work as well.

You do need to look after yourself. I recommend you contact The National Domestic Violence helpline. They offer 24 hour help and advice, and counselling too, which could improve your self-worth and help you regain any lost confidence, as any form of abuse can leave one feeling insecure and fragile.

Remember, we all have a right to live without fear of violence and abuse.

The free National Domestic Violence number is: 0808 2000 247

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