Confronting demons and kicking them out.

Confronting demons and kicking them out.

Confronting demons is hard but I do believe, in a lot of cases, it’s something you have to do to be able to move forward. Through counselling, I’ve come to realise I left a lot of things lurking when I should have dealt with them so I could let them go.

Trigger warning: this post discusses domestic violence. Please do not read this if you think it will be harmful to you to do so. With cases of domestic violence said to increase when England lose the football, it’s unfortunate to know there are women who will have experienced similar things to what I am about to discuss while I was writing this post. There are, of course, also men who are victims of abuse and it doesn’t matter who you are: there is help available. If you need help with this issue, or are concerned about a loved one, please contact National Domestic Violence Helpline, Women’s Aid, Men’s Advice Help LineRefuge or Samaritans

The other night, I took another step towards recovery by confronting a part of my past which has haunted me since the day it happened.

A few years ago, an ex of mine attacked me.

I mean, beat me until I was black and blue. Until it hurt to breathe.

We had been drinking and were both worse for wear. Yet, he seemed different. His eyes seemed to be going in different directions, he was practically incoherent and I was scared. So, he was in bed, making no sense and because I was panicking, I poured water over him to try and shock him into being sober. This wasn’t my finest idea, I’ll admit, but I was worried.

You could say it worked, I suppose. He sprung up, pinned me against a set of drawers and screamed in my face: “HOW DARE YOU?” I told him he was hurting me, which only made him push against me harder. He held my arms so tight, there were bruises in the shape of handprints the next day.

I tried to explain my thought process, but it didn’t matter. He threw me onto the bed and began punching me in the back. I was sobbing, screaming and begging him to stop. He didn’t. I really believed he was going to beat me to death, and I’ve never been more terrified in my life. Fight or flight must have kicked in, because I managed to push him away, get up and lock myself in the bathroom.

He was banging against the door, threatening to kick it down and mumbling other nonsense. I said nothing. I stayed there until there was silence. Until I knew he had either fallen asleep or realised what he’d done. I slept on the sofa. I couldn’t stand the thought of being anywhere near him.

It was one of the worst days of my life.

The following day, the atmosphere was weird. My back was very sore, but I wanted to get back to normal. I wanted to act like it never happened. I made that choice. It was the wrong one, I see that now, but what’s done is done.

You would think he would be filled with guilt and trying to make it up to me and, for the most part, he was. Until – and I don’t recall what happened to cause this – he poured his glass of Vimto all over me and said “it’s not nice, is it? How does that feel?” It was degrading, unpleasant and unnecessary.

I went away to clean myself up and cried some more. I crawled into bed, where I stayed for the rest of the night, leaving him downstairs to do whatever he wanted.

Well, I would love to tell you it stopped there; that I left or that there were no more instances of this vile behaviour. But I’d be lying. It was never that bad again, but there were other things, usually as a result of his drinking. There was a time when he pushed me against a wall and screamed in my face because I’d woken him up at 7 am. He then proceeded to tell me to “fuck off to work” and pushed me out of the bedroom, scratching my arm in the process.

I wanted to tell my family, but I could never find the words. There’s never a good time to drop that into a conversation. So, I kept my bruises hidden and the secret locked inside. People think it’s often a case of missing the signs, but I made sure there wasn’t any. Keeping things to myself is something I do a little too well.

I never told anyone because I believed it was my fault. I don’t think for a second that I deserved to be attacked, but the root cause always seemed to link back to an action I’d taken. I’d poured water on him. I’d woken him up. I’d done something wrong.

And I’d stayed.

After they happened, we never spoke about these things again. We chose to go on as normal, and I was as much a part of that decision as he was, because I was embarrassed. We even got engaged, despite all of it. This is what bothers me the most, I think – the fact I even considered making a commitment like that to somebody who could do these things to me seems so silly now. I can’t dwell on that, though. Instead, I need to focus on the fact I didn’t go through with it. Still, I find myself feeling angry I didn’t walk away and that’s the same reason I was ashamed. I knew I shouldn’t have stayed, but I did it anyway.

I always thought, if I was ever in that situation, I’d be out the door immediately.

If you’ve never been in this situation, it’s easy to blame the victim. It’s easy to say they should have left. I can only tell you how things were from my perspective. While I was finding reasons for his behaviour, I was losing sight of the fact it simply wasn’t right. As I could always link it back to me initiating some sort of trouble, he escaped some of the blame.

When I wasn’t blaming myself, I was blaming alcohol. These things only happened when he had had a drink. When he hadn’t been drinking, he still wasn’t the ideal boyfriend, but we were happy. He was caring and we could talk about anything and we had fun together. So, then, I suppose the solution should have been simple: don’t let him drink.

It’s highly likely my ex was an alcoholic. He was a grown man and I couldn’t watch over him all the time. Sometimes, I would go to bed before him, and I wouldn’t know he had been drinking until he stumbled up to bed, stinking of cider. By that point, it was usually around 4 in the morning and I’d have to get up for work at 7. Trying to argue with a person in that state at that time of morning would have been futile.

In all of it, I wasn’t blaming the person I should have been: him. Yes, I had done some things to annoy him, but none of them can justify his response. Nothing can. And, yes, I know alcohol causes people to do all sorts of things, but they have to be capable of them to begin with – I believe that. They have to have that somewhere inside of them for alcohol to unearth it.

The thing about never talking about it is you begin to question if it was real. We were the only two people there. Me and him. It has been haunting me ever since but, because we never addressed it, I started to think I made it up. Maybe I’d dreamt it, or imagined it. So, the other night, I messaged him on Facebook and forced both of us to face the reality of it.

He has been getting help for his issues, and I take comfort in that. He’s on medication and speaking to a professional. I was scared he would do it to somebody else, although maybe he wouldn’t stop that time, and I’d have to live with my guilt for never telling anyone. So, to know he’s getting the help he clearly needed puts my mind at ease.

He also apologised, but it wasn’t what I wanted. Sorry will never undo what happened. I think all I wanted was to know it was real. As horrible as it was, as much as I wish it was a dream, I wanted to know it happened. I wanted to know my turmoil wasn’t about something in my imagination. I remember it so vividly, I knew it was unlikely, but I needed confirmation.

So, we talked about it for a while before I told him I never wanted to speak to him again. I blocked him on Facebook and let a lot of the pain go with it. Do I feel better? To a certain extent, yes. I think it will take a while to make big steps, but it’s a little one I’m proud of. I feel like it’s another move towards letting go of the things which hold me down. There has been this weight inside of me for so long; a secret so unbearable that to finally face up to it is freeing.

Why share this online?

There are so many reasons I chose to write about this. First and foremost, I’m doing this for the same reason a lot of people do: so that anyone in a similar situation knows there’s never any justification for someone laying their hands on you. It’s not your fault. It has taken me a long time to be fair to myself and to understand his actions were never justified. Whatever I may have done was never going to excuse him causing me harm, because there is no excuse for it. It shouldn’t happen.

And I get it. Everyone talks about it like it’s easy to walk away, but the reality can be very different. Even me, writing this, may not be enough to change your mind, but I want you to try and have a bit of hope that there’s someone out there who would never dream of hurting you, and I want you to try and chase that, rather than settle for anything else. Please don’t do what I did and try to brush it under the carpet, or keep it inside you until it burns a hole.

Plus, I want to educate people. Some are so ignorant about the realities of domestic violence; quick to blame the victim and say what they should do. As with a lot of things in life, it’s not that black and white. No matter how much you wish it was, no matter how much you think it should be. Human beings are complex. There’s a lot which goes on beneath the surface. Their reasoning might seem completely illogical, but they’re in a situation which doesn’t make sense. Someone who is supposed to love them and care for them is hurting them. It’s hard to know how to respond to that and how to deal with it.

Talking about it and now writing about it means it can live somewhere else instead of my head. It can reside on this page of the internet but it’s taken up precious space in my mind for too long. The core value of this blog has always been to help others, and I think talking about things like this is one way I can do that.

As well as that, I want people to realise sometimes, it’s hard to go back to that place in your mind, whatever it is, but sometimes, it’s necessary. Reliving that night was difficult, but it was no different to what I’ve been doing since it happened. The only difference was I was living it out loud, confronting the person who took those actions against me. That might not be the right approach for you. I wouldn’t encourage everyone to seek out the person who did them wrong, but talk about it to someone. It becomes real, and it hurts, but then it helps. I feel like all of this is allowing me to have closure I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Most of all, know it gets better, if you let it. My ex was a flawed individual in many ways. There came a point when I realised I deserved more. I’m now with the most incredible guy I’ve ever met and that’s because I walked away. Neal is kind, caring and I know he would never lay a finger on me. He’s never even raised his voice to me. Despite the fact my mental health has taken a plummet recently, as far as relationships go, I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t ask for more.

My view of most things in life is that they shape you or they break you. While it was a miserable experience, I know I’ve come out of it as a stronger person. It’s not easy, it’s taken me years to even think about untangling the mess it created, but it started with the realisation that I deserved better.

You are worth so much more than somebody who doesn’t treat you right.  

Confronting demons and kicking them out

56 Comments

  1. 13th July 2018 / 12:33 pm

    Great post lovely and thank you so much for sharing. You will help a lot of people with this.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Thank you, beautiful. I hope so. 🙂

  2. 13th July 2018 / 3:32 pm

    This is a brilliantly written and helpful post Ruth. I’m sure this will help so many people going through a similar situation. I’m so glad you have got some closure from the past and found a wonderful boyfriend, you deserve all the happiness. Well done for being brave and sharing your story lovely 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 4:48 pm

      Thank you very much Bexa 🙂 xx

  3. 13th July 2018 / 4:43 pm

    Omg Ruth, I’m so sorry to hear about this horrible experience you had. Thanks for typing this out and encouraging others to step out of unhealthy relationships. It must have been hard.

    I’m glad that you met a fabulous guy and I think you really deserve it. Xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you very much, lovely. 🙂 xx

  4. Sheila Anderson
    13th July 2018 / 5:55 pm

    Well Ruth once again you have opened your self up! Laying out the turmoil of what constitutes an unhealthy relationship. Not only laying it out showing others the way to support to free themselves from the terrible relationship! I am so very proud of you. I am proud beyond belief! Hopefully your experience and blog will encourage others to break free! Well done and I love you to the moon and back twice and then some! God Bless Lots of Love and hugs from the Mothership! XO

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 7:05 pm

      Thank you, Mum. I hope it helps people, too. I love you so much 🙂 xx

  5. 13th July 2018 / 7:17 pm

    I admire your courage in posting this. I have experienced domestic violence and I know how scary it is, how difficult it is to speak up and accept it’s real and it happened to you. I spent many years ignoring the pain it caused me, trying to brush it away like it never existed. But of course if you go through any type of trauma and pain it will eventually come back to haunt you unless you address it and seek help in getting over it. Years later, I’m 1000% over what happened to me. The person who hurt me is no longer alive either. I’m with someone who would never lay a finger on me (and I wouldn’t to him either) and never been happier.

    So to anyone reading this post or my comment who is going through something like this – you deserve to be treated well. You deserve happiness. And as scary as it is to make those first steps in addressing your situation and getting rid of toxic people who hurt you, it’s worth it when you do.When you finally realise how much better it is to have someone around who doesn’t abuse you, who doesn’t make you feel small, scared, sad or lonely, who makes you feel like your existence is a wonderful thing. I promise it’s a much better way to live and you deserve it. Please, please, please take those steps to the happiness you deserve. Away from all the hurt that you don’t.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 10:49 pm

      I am truly so happy you are in a better relationship now and are over what happened to you! Well done for taking those steps and getting to where you are now. Thank you for leaving a beautiful comment, too – I don’t want to say too much to take away from it because it’s perfect, but thank you. 🙂

  6. 13th July 2018 / 8:03 pm

    As always thank you so much for your bravery in putting yourself and your demons out there.

    You write in such a way that I am 100% confident this will help someone out there.

    I’m so glad you are on your road to recovery!

    Chloe x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 10:50 pm

      Thank you very much, Chloe! x

  7. 13th July 2018 / 9:45 pm

    Oh hun this had me welling up so much. You’re so incredible and brave for sharing your story I can’t imagine how that must have felt living in that situation. Alot of us would probably say that we’d leave but I’m a firm believer that no-one can ever know until we’re there ourselves. Well done for confronting him too and being brave enough to reach out to get some closure you may have needed to move on. So very, very proud of you for this story ❤❤❤

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 10:50 pm

      Thank you very much, lovely. As always, your support means so much to me, and I’m very thankful to have you as my friend.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 10:51 pm

      That’s very sweet of you. Thank you!

  8. 13th July 2018 / 11:05 pm

    Lots of hugs, Ruth. You are so brave. An inspiration. Not everyone comes out of situations like this like you do. Admire your courage.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 11:08 pm

      Thank you very much.

  9. 13th July 2018 / 11:28 pm

    Ruth I’m so touched and moved by this post. I am so heartbroken that you had to go through all of this and I am so glad that you are now in a much better place and working on taking back your life, because you deserve that. I can imagine this was so difficult to write about, but you will help so many people with this story, so I thank you for it. Sending you the biggest hugs and thanks you for your brave words. – Tasha

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 11:52 pm

      Thank you so much, Tasha! I have had a few messages from people saying it has helped them so every single word is worthwhile. That would have been the case even if it helped one individual. It’s why I do what I do. ❤️

  10. 13th July 2018 / 11:33 pm

    Ruth, I am in awe of your strength and bravery to share your negative experience, it mustn’t be easy. I’m so sure this will help others going through a similar time. Truely inspiring xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 11:50 pm

      Thank you very much, Karen 🙂 x

  11. Nikki G- lifelovelychaos.com
    14th July 2018 / 1:56 am

    What a beautiful post. I too was in an abusive relationship for far too long. I hid it away from everyone and blamed myself as the cause. I had so many opportunities to leave but never did. Walking away was the hardest thing I have ever done and 12 years later I can finally look back and feel nothing.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 7:54 am

      Well done for walking away. You should be so proud of yourself and I’m glad you’re free from that now.

  12. 14th July 2018 / 6:03 am

    First I would like to say thank you for putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This really hits close to home as I grew up in a household full of domestic violence situations and it’s really a problem that I wish was spoken on more often. I have been planning to tell my story as well it’s just been really difficult for me thus far, but you have definitely inspired me to keep trying and I know that one day soon, I’ll be able to do exactly what you did. Thank you!

  13. 14th July 2018 / 6:03 am

    First I would like to say thank you for putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This really hits close to home as I grew up in a household full of domestic violence situations and it’s really a problem that I wish was spoken on more often. I have been planning to tell my story as well it’s just been really difficult for me thus far, but you have definitely inspired me to keep trying and I know that one day soon, I’ll be able to do exactly what you did. Thank you!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 7:56 am

      Thank you. I think it’s one of those things when you can sense when the timing is right for you, and trying to do it before then will only cause you distress. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had struggles with this subject but I hope you can find the strength to share your story one day, too.

  14. 14th July 2018 / 7:54 am

    Fairly new follower here! I just wanted to praise your courage in sharing such a moving story – I can’t imagine it was an easy one to re-live to write it, but I’m sure it will help many women/men that might be going through the same thing. I’m fortunate enough to have not gone through something so awful, but I applaud you for getting out of there and paving your way to happiness xxx
    Gaby

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 7:57 am

      Thank you very much. ❤️

  15. 14th July 2018 / 10:16 am

    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s very courageous of you; to put yourself out in the open with a topic that is not easy to share. I am SO proud to follow you and your blog. What an example you set for us all. 😘

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 11:16 am

      Thank you so much, Leah!

  16. 14th July 2018 / 1:56 pm

    This was so difficult to read. I was angry too, angry with what you went through. I can see how easy it would be to stay, especially if you think you deserve it. I’m so sad you had to go through that and I truly hope he never does it to anyone else. Thanks for speaking up about it and maybe this will help someone else.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 5:38 pm

      Thank you. I hope he doesn’t, too. And yes, I hope it does help other people. ❤️

  17. 14th July 2018 / 4:25 pm

    You’re so brave for posting this and it is honestly amazing. I hope it helps others speak out or seek help when they need it. I am so sorry you’ve been through this but I am also super happy that you’re with someone lovely now and have got out of that situation. You deserve the best lovely
    X

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Hannah 🙂 x

  18. 14th July 2018 / 9:08 pm

    This is stunningly well written and I’m sure will help so many people. I admire your honesty and raw vulnerability in this post, it can be hard to write in that way. You’re so brave and deserve all the good things that come your way xx
    Alys
    https://alysjournals.com/

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 9:56 pm

      Thank you so much x

  19. 14th July 2018 / 9:33 pm

    I am SO proud of you for doing this post. It’s great that you’ve grown past seeing that you were the ‘fault’ when you weren’t at all. And in the end, despite the last that had happened the outcome of him getting help, you getting out and both trying to correct what went wrong is massively admirable.
    You did an amazing thing highlighting this subject via a blog post through your own experience, and I hope that many others, men and women, read this and realise they’re not alone and they deserve to be safe and loved,
    Just like you.

    X

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 9:57 pm

      Thank you so much, beautiful ❤️ x

  20. 15th July 2018 / 3:51 pm

    This was heartbreaking to read and so brave, Ruth! Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sure you’ve already helped so many people just by having the guts to do so. I love how you’ve shared your thought process and your journey in such a real and honest way to so people can really understand the victims side and how difficult it can be to leave when you love someone/feel so terrified of the consequences.
    Alice Xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      15th July 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Alice 🙂

  21. 16th July 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story, so true – there’s never any justification for someone laying their hands on you. And so many people suffer from the domestic violence across the globe. It´s vital to be able to read more stories like yours so that many women could find this courage to speak up, leave and take their life in their hands. Thanks for being so brave :-*

    Have a great week!
    Anna
    http://atlifestylecrossroads.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      16th July 2018 / 1:55 pm

      Thank you very much for reading and leaving such a kind comment – I really appreciate it. 🙂 I hope it does help others tell their story and find some peace.

  22. 17th July 2018 / 12:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Ruth <3 You've made me feel less alone today, and from one survivor to another, I celebrate for you in my heart.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      17th July 2018 / 1:42 pm

      I’m so glad I could help. 🙂

  23. 19th July 2018 / 2:33 pm

    Ruth I hope by you writing this, it has freed you of the burden of carrying it with you for far too long. It will certainly help your readers and hopefully nudge someone in the right direction if they are going through a similar situation.
    As you say, we never know what we will actually do in a given situation – we only can surmise, and often our assumptions are way off. It’s easy to look from the outside in and make a judgement or decision but when embroiled within it’s another matter altogether.
    Thank you for your courage and strength in sharing. Life will not always be roses but you have the power right there inside you to gently pick off the thorns and enjoy the beauty. Keep growing beautiful.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      19th July 2018 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you very much for such a beautiful and wonderful comment! Writing about it definitely helped me, and now I hope it can help others. 🙂

  24. 20th July 2018 / 10:34 am

    This is a brilliant post! I’m so sorry that you had to go through all that pain and fear. And yes you are right that nothing ever can be a reason for someone else to raise their hands on you. I hope more and more people would get inspiration from this. Thank you for sharing such a personal post.

    xoxo.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      20th July 2018 / 10:35 am

      Thank you for reading!

  25. 10th August 2018 / 1:23 pm

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’ve been lucky never to have been in that situation, but I’ve been in situations where the answer to many people would have been clear cut, but for me it wasn’t, there were too many other things to think about, to many fears and anxieties to overcome. We are complex. I’ve just started writing about my own experience with PND. It’s so, so difficult to open yourself up and show your vulnerability. I hope I come over half as well as you do here and can do it justice!! Emma x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      10th August 2018 / 1:57 pm

      I think there are so many times in life when we think we know what’s what, only to find ourselves feeling completely different when we end up there ourselves. I’m sure your post will be beautiful and well expressed, lovely.

  26. 10th August 2018 / 3:18 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I’m not sure I’d have the courage. Though I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, I spent far too long in a mentally abusive one thag, like you, I blamed myself for triggering his outrage and anger towards me. I also blamed the alcohol. It actually took meeting my now husband for me to see just how long I’d put up with someone who’s only goal was to tear me so far down that I’d feel like he was my only salvation. My husband was a friend who only listened. Never judged, or told me what to do about my problem. He only checked in on me and asked if I was ok. After I finally left that horrible situation, Michael asked me on a date. I was nervous, but it was the best decision of my life.
    I wish more people, myself included, had the courage to talk about such things. If only to show others their not alone.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      10th August 2018 / 5:23 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear you were in such a toxic relationship, though – it doesn’t matter what type of abuse it is, it’s still incredibly difficult and hard to overcome.

      I’m glad you are no longer in that place and have a great husband by your side!

  27. 10th August 2018 / 5:39 pm

    Oh Ruth, I sat in my car reading this and burst into tears, feeling physically sick that anyone would lay a hand on you for such a stupid reason. Alcoholics are very often manipulative, good at hiding and acting like all is normal if the other person doesn’t rock the boat. I’m sorry this happened to you, but I know that you, like me, are stronger for it and so many people would benefit from reading this post. Sending you so much love xoxo

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th August 2018 / 9:39 am

      Thank you, Nicole. ❤️

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