Our Stories: Maryam's* story about her experiences of abuse

Publish Date: 29/06/2016

**This Page has a content warning for emotional abuse and financial coercion**

As part of our campaign, 'Lesbian and Bisexual Women & Abuse', Maryam* tells us about her experiences of abuse.

It is still hard for me to admit to letting myself become involved with an abusive person. . . That I was taken in so easily and even after six years it isn’t easy to talk about

My ex-partner was emotionally abusive to me

I am hoping writing this will support other women to recognise the signs of abuse and end this type of relationship as soon as possible. I found that the longer it goes on the more control she will exert over you. If you are a more passive person who dislikes confrontation and a people pleaser, like I am, it’s likely that she will continue to control you.

From my experience, she will use her charms and yes - she will have amazing charm and will be very generous, buying you things, and will plan to take you to lots of wonderful places. I was not able to believe my good fortune to have found such a kind and loving woman who seemed to be able to provide every wish or whim I made. Saying "that sounds a nice place to visit" may just be wishful thinking in conversation to me, but she would have booked and organised it within days.

It often felt too good to be true and I felt uncomfortable that she was spending all that money on me but still it was wonderful and exciting and I thought, hang on, I wouldn’t get a chance to go on all these lovely holidays otherwise, plus this is the honeymoon period.

I felt uncomfortable because she was spending all that money on things I could do without, and I told her that, but she would not hear it. I was making her happy and she loved me.

So I let her spend her money on me because I wanted her to be happy. She also liked to make all the decisions too but I was easy going if it made her happy

But then the little niggles started creeping in..

She was insecure: she didn’t like me seeing friends when she wasn’t there. She didn’t actually like my friends very much, but as ever I tried to oblige. However, in doing so, I was losing more of myself.

She didn’t like my family too much either - she noticed their faults - things i hadn’t thought of. I thought she was maybe a bit hurtful, but still she was so kind and generous and she loved me!!

So I didn’t see as much of my family but I was still able to enjoy going out in my car on my own. That was until she is was so worried about me going off on my own because I didn’t ring her for over 2 hours and she didn’t know where I was.

She said I must ring her whenever I go out and I mustn't go off on my own like that.

It was getting a bit hard at this point. I felt anxious all the time, worried she would be worried if I didn’t ring. So much so that I decided it was better to stay in. But then I was reminded that I would soon be living in a lovely house, not having to work as much and still being able to travel - so I was really lucky and plus, I was an easy going person so I felt that I could accept those little ways of hers.

I am choosing to leave quite a bit of my story out as I want to stay anonymous but there is a lot more to it and it did get so controlling in the end that I came to the realisation that she was about to take the very last bit of me away. I was going to be her robot wife and I felt that the very essence of me was starting to disappear, I was scared. Luckily, I went to talk to a councillor and came to accept the situation I had been in and "escaped". It was hard and I had to be very strong and determined, particularly not to let her reel me in again.

My advice to anyone who is being affected by abuse is to tell people what is happening and listen to their opinions and advice. If your partner is behaving in the same ways as mine was, you are in a controlling and manipulative relationship and it is emotional abuse. If someone is treating you like I have described, it isn’t love, nobody can have ownership over another person like that. Afterwards, I read lots of books about abusive people and was able to put it all into perspective. It’s probable that she doesn’t think she has done anything wrong. In my opinion, I will say is that if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author.